Tag Archive: electronica music


From The Pajama Bar’s vintage vino cellar of classic hit music, I offer this review of a not-so-oldie-but-goodie of the dance floor that I wrote-up in the late 2000s for about.com and my friend, DJ Ron. Major Props to James and DeAnna Cool.

As soon as my editor put this CD in my hot little hands, somehow I knew I had a smash. I couldn’t wait to get to the studio and press “play”. On a recent road trip, I listened as the miles flew by. Sure enough, from the first beat of track one, “Roxy Re-Modeled” [basiclux 9205-2] did not disappoint me. This is a wonderful collection of re-done Roxy tunes that you will love to play over and over.

The personalities that have created this revival are as interesting as the music is. Simply put, I must gush because I love the weave-through journey of this album! “Roxy Re-Modeled” is not just a face-lift, it is careful to maintain the class of the original as a renovation of a classic museum would.

The Roxy concept is the musical brainchild of visionary Bryan Ferry who busted it upon our ears for it to be known as much for the lavish theatrical stage presentation as for the music, and became the stuff of legends thirty years ago. I taste a touch of salsa behind the wisdom on the opening lyric “nothing lasts forever” on track one, “Same Old Scene,” and Cool’s vocals are Lisa Lisa-like. This first came out back in ’80, on the album “Flesh and Blood.”

 

The re-deux of Ferry’s classic “Love Is The Drug,” this time by J.A.C.E. featuring Chris Hays, has the feel of the Bee Gees’ “You Should Be Dancin’.” I also must bigg-upp (la) Grace Jones’s classic 1980 treatment of it. This version maintains the frenzy; the energy that keeps on building and the pounding, driving beat.

I mixed the Manhattans’ old classic “Shining Star” seamlessly into “Angel Eyes” (track 3), which registers as a better-than-the-early nineties-group-Soul II Soul-groove by Perfect Project. It is jazzily hypnotic; a great listen on a hazy Sunday afternoon. Sunday People’s “Avalon” (track four) features the euro-whispery vocals of Hassan Nasser (not the boxer is it?) It is mysterious and the musical interludes aid the international flair of the disc as a whole.

 

Now with “Don’t Stop the Dance” (cut five), BiTeR mc and Elena DeLucca’s tempo keeps it rocking steadily. Now I know what happened to good electronic pop-style music. It is on this album! I would add “More Than This” (track five) from Madison Park in heavy rotation on my fantasy dance music radio station (whose ratings, of course, would, be number one)! ’nuff respect to Lenny B on the remix which has the big Webster Hall ballsy bass house feel. Don’t waste time, cut to the musical chase when you re-compose a piece and give it the opportunity to cross to the CHR/Rhythmic Top 40 formats for those programmers left who are bold enough to go out on a gut-level limb. This one is my personal favorite.

“Kiss and Tell” (track eight) by J.A.C.E featuring Chris Hays on vocals is bold and brawny dance (of the cloth of Theo Vaness’ 1979 “No Romance/Keep on Dancin'”). I just can’t get enough of this kind of sound, and I love when stuff makes me get down on my knees and dig into the crates! “An Angel’s Eyes” (lots of angels guard this effort) by Stormchild is an insty with a familiar funky hard beat and a nice airy, progressive change mid-song. A little “traveling music, please”- that’s what it iz.

 

The next two tracks, “Beauty Queen” from Goldlust featuring Sarah J., and the downtempo “Slave To Love” by Abstract Foundation offer a timely change-of-pace like jerk chicken and a Caribbean rum beverage.

For a nice Adult Contemporary format feel, choose “You Do Something To Me”, another Madison Park tune, this time with The GrooveOholics (track twelve). DeAnna shines once again in her starring role with dreamy vocals that began before she even uttered a word. As her Mom tells it, one day when bathing and singing to the few months old DeAnna, she was surprised when her daughter looked up and matched her pitch, holding the same note! Mother DeAnna was so shocked, she almost fumbled the little darling.

Track thirteen, “Ten Cents A Dance,” by Wilson is Yar Wilson’s upbeat and positive curtain call with the same feel of “Kiss and Tell.” Personally, there is so much compelling stuff yet to tell about this, dear reader. In any event, this compilation makes you feel a strobe light rainbow of danceable sound.

Five stars – hands-down!

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I have known about Mark Tara since 2006, when I was first assigned his single, “Different Love” to review by my then Editor at www.about.com/dancemusic, Nashville’s “DJ Ron” (Slomowicz).

Since then I learned much more about Toronto’s Mark Tara and his varied talents which include being very astute as a creative website developer.

 

“Creative” is the adjective I can use multiple times to describe Mark’s latest musical release, “Number One”, which is now available for your ears.  The proof is in the first sentence of his press release, which describes the single as “the perfect blend of talent and technology”.  This alludes to the virtual collaboration with co-producers, The Netherlands’ Matt Pop, who commented, “It’s always a pleasure working on a strong tune with great vocals – that was very much the case with Number One.” and the Klubjumpers of the USA, whose Dan Matthews added, “It was great working with Mark Tara on Number One. Very appealing lyrics to the song with Mark’s great voice just adds life to [The KlubJumpers] remix. ‘Sure to be a Hit on many DJ’s Radio Mix shows Play List.”

 

Number One” is sparkling and brilliantly fierce as dance tracks go these days! I am so happy that Mark thinks enough of me to have sent me the advance video and colorful follow-up finished track.  I like the way the video opens with a curtain going up on a stage and then the multi-boxes of Tara performing marquee-style – it ends with the curtain going down on the show. Great stuff!  

 

“We live in days of making dreams come true,” says Mark Tara. With the advent of WE TRANSFER, a website allowing users to email files as large as 2 gigs, (Wow!) digital distribution sites and DSLR camera technology, which means that the future is indeed here, allowing musicians like Mark to present his unique talents to a global market – or even the musical gift anthem to the US President and Supreme Court in the aftermath of their recent apparent affirmation of “gay marriage’- strange bedfellows, indeed!  Mark is a kinder, gentler and prettier ‘RuePaul’, if you will allow the analogy. Sometimes it seems that Mark’s moves in the video are a parody of female singers, but as with many things these days her in ‘the future which is now’, it IS what it IS.

 

I could loop this song and listen to it or play it in my club over-and-over again, ad infinitum! As Toronto-Trinidadian Mark revealed in one of my prior music critic interactions with him, “”You Rock!” I give this song four lucky stars out of five, remembering that this is just one song of an anticipated forthcoming album (I hope).  And I will say this, without the video, like back in my younger days of just having a 45rpm vinyl or a 12” vinyl or single CD first, this might just be “another dance cut” vying for attention.

I just “liked” it on my You Tube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/mooseydeucytarget=”_blank”> and you should too!  Большое спасибо, Марк!

 

Check out Mark Tara’s Official Website: http://marktara.com for more VIP treatment.

 

 

 

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During the decade of the 2000s, I penned many music reviews for my friend DJ Ron of Nashville and the site About.com. Warming you up for another original here on my blog this 2013 Fourth of July weekend, here is one of them from 2008 with proper respect and appreciation to the aforementioned people in this paragraph.

Once upon a time there was a musical that I never heard about called Damn Yankees which inspired Mark Tara to compose “Lola” as an homage. “The record Lola was actually going to be more of a spiritual record”, Mark explained to me, “Hence the bonus tracks “The Beginning”… (Which I think should have lead the album because its fantasy-driven lyrics really get your attention) “Then the style of the record totally changed and I fashioned it after Donna Summer’s classic album Once Upon a Time which tells a story.”

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Hmmm, I remember Damn Yankees, but it is just the start of spring training as I write this, and I never claimed to be all-encompassing, musically, anyway.

Along with the album is a two-song sampler disc which includes “Live Your Life”, the best of the duo, which is a message song for whomever and whatever battle or demon you are fighting along with another “Lola” reprise. But why do a separate CD when there is no discernible remix or difference from the album version? There are so many versions of “Lola” that it almost makes the theme hackneyed.

Mark told me, “I saw the movie Kinky Boots where the main character does the song “Whatever Lola Wants” which is from the musical Damn Yankees. As I was watching that scene a thought popped into my head that I could totally do that song in a dance vain and well.”

Figuring Out Who Lola Is

So let us see what we can glean about “Lola” (who I thought might be his latest love interest – NOT). It has taken me longer to get into, and I’m not sure I’m feeling this song from Tara as much as “Different Language,” his last track that I reviewed. However the single definitely has its musical moments. Track four, “Sexduction” where he uses the vocoder effect to perfection, is one of the album’s best. It has a great pace and should fit satellite radio’s dance format. The next jam, “Where You Live” is another boss musical toss! There is a very good remake of the Imagination dance club classic “Just An Illusion” on here – complete with the piano solo!

When I asked Mark who this “Lola” person on the cover is, he replied, “The pic is me taken by a photographer friend of mine. I wanted to tell a story of seduction and the emotions that go along with it, this seduction has to do with me – LOLA – being in lust with a straight man and how I cast my spell on him. Gender bending – I’m totally into that – blurring the lines between male and female and what we find to be sexually appealing.” A friend of Tara’s, Stor Dubine, did a cute caricature of him for the back cover CD art.

Maybe Lola is an AlterEgo?

Now we are getting a feel for who Mark Tara really is; I then thought that “Lola” might be his alter ego, but I was wrong again when he told me, “Its not an alterego, the picture is just me. The record tells a story and I think the most telling song is “Something” which encapsulates the record as a whole”

“Sometimes” is a whispery, introspective, mid-tempo piece with am edgey touch. The song is part of an almost middle-of-the-road trifecta here in the middle of the album that ends with a made for adult Contemporary radio track “Someone To Love” which sounds like an N-Sync record circa 1999.

Tara wants to be known as “The Queer Of Pop” just like Madonna is the “Queen of Pop” and Michael Jackson is the “King of Pop.” He clarifies, but by no means do I compare Mark to these two mega-artists – they are both legends in my eyes. (This review really has taken some interesting twist and turns, lol)

 

In the finial analysis, Tara is a masterful musical storyteller with a message. This album, like the previous one Different Love flows in movements like a symphony does. There is one more nuance to our musician as he relays, “Here in Canada gay marriages are now legal and have been for the past few years – YEAH! – Just think of growing up knowing that you are gay and that you can indeed get married to someone of the same sex – I think that totally rocks!”

Aren’t those the words with which we ended the review of “Different Love” last time? Therefore the terminus is nigh, and its time to abate words and urge you to listen for yourself happily ever after with a genial three stars bestowed.

Released November 2008 on MarkTaraMusic.

You may comment on this review!

Lady GaGa reminds me of when I was a DJ on WRKS, 98.7 KISS FM, New York City and Madonna first appeared on our musical sonar in the early 1980s.  The fashions, the hair, the quirkiness and the self-deprecating  independence and the future (or present) movie deals.

I think she really CAN sing too! And without the electronic enhancements so many of today’s Pop acts employ. So if you loved the album and are an electronica fan, you will surely dig these remixed versions.

On “Marry The Night” –  remixed by The Weekend & Illangelo – her voice hits  Donna Summer-ish notes at about 2:33 into it after a lull, and that in and of itself is  a huge compliment to any singer of popular party music.  Every time I listen to it I wonder if it isn’t really Donna guest-dubbing amidst the drum and bass beats!   Lady G doesn’t need hype from me, she is already an intergalactic superstar who is probably heard on that new ‘Earth-like planet’ that Astronomers recently discovered!  So I will comment from the perspective of a veteran disc jockey who loves to see people move their feet to-the-beat.  

With chucks from the time you press “play”,  “the Remix” captures you like walking by a lively pub happy hour after a hard day at the office.   I really dig cut eight, “Scheibe” (Guéna LG Club), because it can jump-start the party, has a  soulful mix-into bridge-break complete with background “ah-huh“s to play with and a solid beat-to-cold ending.  “Americano” simply is intercultural flava, the way international techno playboys like it!

Track twelve, another reworking of  the lame single “Judas” that I received last summer, is a favorite standout  attention-getter via the Hurts remix!  Upon continuous listen, it will always mark your mind, yet is not exactly dance fare.  “Born This Way”, the title track which plays-out on cuts one and thirteen, has LGBT anthem written all over your face. “Don’t be a drag just be a Queen/don’t be a drag just be a Queen” is a hilariously well-timed subtitle lyric!

When I receive “remixes” in the mail, I always file them in a separate CD bag with an ear towards the “drop-in” during a night’s work.  This CD is already in that category.  There is much music to work with among these fourteen GaGa tracks for the casual and professional selector.

I’d like to hear your comments about Lady Gaga and her meteoric rise on the charts!  Is she a worthy songstress?  How does she compare to the late Amy Winehouse, who is often spoken about within the same sentence?

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