Soundwaves

Dance Mixes added to iTunes, soundtrack of Queer Eye, Basement Jaxx

by Doug Rule
Published on December 4, 2003, 12:00am | Comments

MP3 KILLED THE 12-INCH STAR… The Internet is a glimmer in the eye of the music industry. Well, it is now, after the industry has finally given up treating it like a cataract, continuously trying to remove it. It took them years to see the value in offering legitimate download sites. And while the online sites that have sprung up this year still don't offer much dance music in their catalogs, that's changing. iTunes, as expected, is already ahead of the pack. The site features “exclusive” dance remixes of tunes from Annie Lennox, Seal, Jewel and Sarah McLachlan, to name the most prominent. And independent dance music labels are slowly adding their repertoires to iTunes. Coming soon: releases from Astralwerks (Beth Orton, Kraftwerk) and Ultra (Hex Hector, Dirty Vegas). Meanwhile, other labels are charting sites of their own to counter illegal sites that have established themselves as a treasure trove of obscure dance tracks and commercially unavailable remixes. Later this month British label Warp Records (Aphex Twin) will join Radikal Records (ATB, Galleon) and legendary disco label West End Records (Blaze, Tanya Gardner) in establishing an MP3 download section of its site. All three offer for download a handful of each label's singles, remixes, and in West End's case, full albums. DC's own Yoshitoshi, founded by house DJ act Deep Dish, offers its entire catalog of singles and remixes as MP3s. Like iTunes and others before them, most dance sites are charging 99 cents per track.

A pioneer in both the dance and hip-hop genres, Tommy Boy Records is also gradually adding its stellar dance-pop catalog -- including Kristine W, Masters at Work and Junior Vasquez -- to iTunes. And its founder and namesake Tom Silverman will also help launch DJ Xpress in January. Specifically geared to DJs, though the rest of us should benefit too, this site will feature new and “classic” dance tracks -- as old as three decades -- from a variety of dance labels, not just Tommy Boy. Each will retail for 99 cents a song, or $2.79 a “MixPac” -- three remixes or versions of one song, often in the form of an a cappella, instrumental and club edit, just as a 12-inch vinyl release would offer. Within the next month, at least two other sites will debut: Trax2Burn.com, featuring artists from various British dance labels, including Fatboy Slim, Darren Emerson and Tim Deluxe, and Traxsource.com, with soulful house artists including Ananda Project, Dmitri from Paris and Miguel Migs…

MAKEOVER MUSIC… Don't look now, but the Fab Five seek to throw out your music collection. Well, okay, you're gay, so not yours exactly. “As we have been able to introduce better taste and sensibilities in living to prime time television, we will be able to introduce great music to a new audience," Queer Eye for the Straight Guy producer Rob Eric says in the show's typical style of total modesty and understatement. Capitol Records will release in February What's That Sound, the first in a planned series of soundtracks to the hyper-gay, hyper-successful Bravo/NBC TV makeover show. Elton John has contributed a new song, tentatively titled “Run for Love,” not to be confused with John's “Are You Ready for Love,” a 26-year-old disco ditty just re-released. A video for the Queer Eye theme song, “All Things (Just Keep Getting Better),” written by the DJ duo Widelife and featuring Simone Denny (LOVE Inc.) was shot last month at the Brooklyn Bridge. An edit of the weak tune, released this week, may be playing on a radio near you. And aren't you already sick of hearing it? Maybe Kylie Minogue's mesmerizing new song “Slow,” remixed for the soundtrack by the Chemical Brothers, will rush to the rescue of our eardrums instead, or maybe it'll be the soundtrack's planned mash-up of Fischerspooner and Billy Squier that'll save our airplay woes. With any luck you'll soon hear Basement Jaxx's “Good Luck,” too…


BASEMENT SUPERSONICS… If the Queer Eye album does nothing more than make “Good Luck” the hit song it screams out to be, that'll be enough. The rockin' neo-disco of “Good Luck” seems an odd choice for inclusion on the show's soundtrack, given that featured singer Lisa Kekaula yells out to her ex, “Good luck, good luck/Good luck in your new bed/Enjoy your nightmares honey/When you're resting your head.” Doesn't sound like the kind of tune to play after a Queer Eye episode. On second thought, maybe it's the perfect tune. In any case, it's the best song from an all-but perfect album, Kish Kash (Astralwerks),that also features funky, punky electro songs from Siouxsie Sioux (without her Banshees of old, but with her charisma intact) and Meshell Ndegeocello. N'Sync-er J C Chasez shines out of Justin's shadow on the blazing “Plug It In.” It's the most defiantly mainstream of the three albums to come thus far from the British duo of Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe, with its weight toward hip hop. The duo's “Jump ‘n' Shout” from its first album, and “Where's Your Head At” from the second, form the template here, as does The Neptunes' sound. The Jaxx creates orderly, minimal songs that you both dance and rock out to. They only sound fully loaded with cosmic chaos. Kish Kash is the Jaxx's most cohesive and melody-focused album yet, loaded with hits and delirious delights, like the first release, “Lucky Star,” with its Eastern flourishes of an electric horn and its fetching slurred singsong rapping from Dizzee Rascal, the celebrated British rapper whose debut album will be released in the U.S. in January…


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