Never Get To Zion Without Jah Love

Bringing together several recent themes today I’m offering you some prime Underworld remixes from the mid 90s, a time when we could actually feel fairly optimistic about the world.

Underworld have been all over my stereo recently with the Drift Series 1 Sampler (posted at the weekend). In addition the 90s incarnation of Underworld (Hyde, Smith and Emerson) were at The Vinyl Villain fairy recently with their epic ten minute remix of Human Behaviour- a beat heavy, tribal techno delight, Bjork skipping into the night, called by the drums.

Dreadzone have made a career out of righteous dance- floor based sounds, dub, reggae, techno and progressive house mixed into a heady stew with some politics in there to shake it all up. In Zion Youth singer Earl 16 give the wrongdoers a simple message- heads up Tories…

‘You’ll never get to Zion without Jah love
Never reach that land you’re dreaming of
You must be good you must be careful
Live upright like you know you should…

…No evildoers will be there
No backstabbers will be there’

This remix is a ten minute long excursion- a looped keyboard part, Earl’s voice, some echoey, whooshing noises bouncing around and those trademark Underworld rhythms building up a head of steam. There’s a break down at eight minutes in and then it’s all back on the dub techno train to the fade.

Zion Youth (Underworld Mix)

I have pondered before about an Underworld remix album, a compilation of the cream of their 90s remixes, and am really surprised no one ever put one out, especially in the heyday of CDs when a double disc remix edition would have surely been a winner.

This one from 1993 would have made the cut, a thirteen minute rejigging of William Orbit’s Water From A Vine Leaf, a stomping chugger of the highest order. In among all the sonics there’s a magnificent piano riff that is worth the price of entry alone, a parping synth part, a nagging upper register synth riff that goes straight to the back of the brain, a snatch of Beth Orton’s vocal and a squiggly acid bassline that would cut straight through the dry ice- layers of sounds aimed at feet and the head.

Water From A Vine Leaf (Underwater Mix Part 1) 

Here’s the 1993 remix of Bjork, the 110 BPM version from the A-side of the 12″. On the flip was a faster one, the 125 BPM Dub, but to my mind this is the pick of the pair. The build up alone is longer (and better) than many songs. This sort of thing could pack a dance-floor tight in the early/mid 90s.

Human Behaviour (The Underworld Mix 110BPM)

This could run and run and I have posted some of these before- there are some heavy duty One Dove remixes, a pair of very techno Chemical Brothers bangers, a tasty remix of The Drum Club’s Sound System, a fifteen minute St Etienne remix, Orbital’s Lush and some outliers like Front 242 and Shakespeare’s Sister (neither of which it seems I own either digitally of physically).

Monday’s Long Song

Over on social media this weekend a friend posted a Beth Orton song from 1996. Touch Me With Your Love was on Beth’s debut album Trailer Park and was also released as a single in January 1997. The production and mixing was by Andrew Weatherall and Keith Tenniswood, then Two Lone Swordsmen.

This sent me back to Trailer Park where Weatherall and Tenniswood contributed to three other songs including the otherworldly and breathtaking ten minute album closer Galaxy Of Emptiness, a song that unfolds gently, is in no great hurry to get anywhere quickly and all the better for it. Beth sings ‘Won’t you please knock me off my feet for a while?’ and this song does just that.

Galaxy Of Emptiness

Vine Leaf

This post follows on (coincidentally) from Drew’s on Friday where he posted a different mix of the same song. William Orbit’s Water From A Vine Leaf is a long progressive house tune from 1993 with a Beth Orton vocal. Over twenty years on it sounds good to these ears, still has a freshness about it. This remix is even better than the original mix though I think. In 1993 Underworld were on top of their game, Emerson, Hyde and Smith capable of turning out ten minute remixes that reshaped the source matter and drove it onwards. This one adds a certain moodiness to Orbit’s original version, perfect for the dancefloor and the headphones. Underworld really should compile their best remixes- they had so many from this time.

Water From A Vine Leaf (Underwater Mix Part 1)

1973

Beth Orton is back and has put away the acoustic guitar and replaced it with synths and programmed drums. One half of Fuck Buttons, Andrew Hung, is on production if you need another reference to convince you to give it a listen. 1973 is a sumptuous piece of electronica, with an 80s groove and Beth’s sweet vocals. Her first album Trailer Park had production by Weatherall and William Orbit and this song revisits those and updates them in fine style. Album Kidsticks is out at the end of the month. The video is seductive too, all warm and hazy Californian sun drenched colours…

And this one from 2002 fits right in with it too, Anywhere, remixed beautifully and minimally by Two Lone Swordsmen.

Anywhere (Two Lone Swordsmen Remix)

Beth Orton ‘Bobby Gentry’

Beth Orton, the comedown queen. I’ve got bits and bobs by her-Trailor Park because of the Weatherall productions and She Cries Your Name, some songs she did with Johnny Marr, the Two Lone Swordsmen remixes, and The Other Side Of Daybreak, an album of off-cuts, remixes and extras from Daybreak. This was on it and it’s stunning. Starts out with lovely acoustic guitar, great husky vocals, and at the first chorus these beautiful swooping strings come in, and stay throughout the next 4 minutes. It also contains a brilliant line in the second verse- ‘Collecting dead rainbows from puddles and mires, and taking them home to warm by the fire’, which is a bit hippyish but hits me every time. No idea why it’s called Bobby Gentry but it adds to the overall brilliance of this track.

05 Bobby Gentry.wma