Freeez – “I.O.U.” (I Dub You)…

Hashmoder's "STABBING BASSLINE" Stamp Of AprovalArtist: Freeez
Title: I.O.U. (I Dub You)
Year: 1983
Genre: Classic Electro Synth Dance
Comment: Produced and remixed by Arthur Baker (see picture below)
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Freeez – “I.O.U.” (I Dub You) (mp3)

 

Street Sounds Electro

I have decided to record digitally my entire StreetSounds Electro compilation series.

I will record every single StreetSounds vinyl of mine into Protools, with as much digital restorations as possible and widened stereo-field.  I do believe that I make the best vinyl-rips than most music collectors and bloggers out there. My 30+ years experience in pro-audio says so!

As I’ve stated in my previous StreetSounds article over a year ago, Electro since the early 80′s was electric funk and hip-hop music, mainly for break-dancing, bee-bopping, and body-popping. In my opinion, the word electro today has been hijacked in the form of 4/4 dance music and not anywhere near its true roots.

THEREFORE, STAY TUNED FOR DAILY POSTING OF EACH ELECTRO MIX.

Streetsounds History…

Morgan Khan

Streetsounds was part of the UK Streetwave stable of labels created by Morgan Khan. A Hong Kong-born Indian who grew up in London, Khan had worked in the UK record industry since the mid 1970′s, working for such names as PRT Distribution (a division of Pye Records) and R&B Records, for whom at the time Imagination were the up and coming stars of the day.

Khan founded the independent Streetwave record label during 1981 to specialise in releasing Electro and Hi-NRG releases. Within a year of creation, Streetwave began the StreetSounds series of albums; compilations created from some of the hottest 12″ imports of the day. These releases made available a selection of the most contemporary dance floor hits within the financial reach of those wanting to hear the freshest sounds. In the early 80′s a 12″ single was priced around £2 and you would pay over £4 for an import 12″. The Streetsounds series offered usually 8 to 12 full-length 12″ mixes for under a fiver. Understandably, the Streetsounds series was met with considerable enthusiasm and, some might say, mighty relief.

This series would run for over 6 years and contain over 50 albums. By far the most coveted of the Streetsounds releases were the Electro series. These albums introduced the UK to the developing hip-hop scene from America – a stroke of genius that brought electro and early hip hop from the underground to the UK high street and, one could argue, helped in the creation of the UK’s hip hop scene.

The Electro series ran for a total of 27 albums (and one box set) from 1982 to 1988. The albums were initially labeled StreetSounds Electro with the title morphing into StreetSounds Hip Hop after release 12 in 1986.

All of the albums were competently mixed by a series of the best remixers of the day – predominately from the UK.  A large proportion of the mixes on the early releases were completed by a London-based hip-hop sound system from the early 80s. Headed by “Herbie The Mastermind” (aka Herbie Laidley) the team also featured Kiss FM radio DJ’s Dave VJ and Max LX who were also members of UK electro outfit Hard Rock Soul Movement, responsible for the massive “Double Def Fresh” release.

My digital recording process & audio quality of vinyl records are top-notch …



click each image above to enlarge

Old video: recording session ripping vinyls Electro-6, 7, and 9…

Mito Automat Vangelis - Droid Pulstar

Mid Summer 2009, a very close and longtime friend of mine RC Lair came to my side of town and hung out with me. Before going inside the Ocean Club for drinks, we stayed inside my car to listen to the entire Hale Bopp mix CD which he’d done in the mid 90′s. All the tracks on that CD were retro classics of electric disco/dance/italo ranging from the late 70′s through the mid 80′s. By the time we reached track-05, I was going through the car’s roof from excitement. The track was just THAT awesome … pure electronic analog circuitry … melodic and true to its form and genre its era. And I JUST HAD TO HAVE IT … and own it! So I asked RC who/what that track was, but he couldn’t remember from the top of his head, and he wasn’t going to look through his entire record collection at any time soon, because they were all stored in boxes. Now I was on a serious mission to hunt for a full-length copy of track-05. After six weeks of unsuccessful digging and searching, I still had no name of the artist nor title of the track.

A few days later, my producer friend Peter Hecher exposed me to Casco who was an Italian legend DJ and Italo music producer. I checked out his MySpace page, his main site and all other webpages related to him; listened to all his amazing original/classic Italo tracks; and downloaded few of his old live mix-sets. When listening to one of his Italo mix-sets … low and behold … track-05! Thus immediately I sent Casco an email requesting him to identify track-05 for me. Few hours later he sent me a reply, “Mito – Droid.

After searching the net for days, I was able to find only bad quality MP3 copies. But just recently, over the net, there was a nice fellow from Europe who had an actual 12-inch record of Mito/Droid and, at my request, was kind enough to record and send me a good quality .wav digital file of it.

However, during the entire period of searching for Mito/Droid, I had discovered that it is in fact a remix of an original 1978 “Droid” track by Automat. According to SongBooks blog:

Automat was a project of a disc, from the Italians Musumarra, Gizzi and Maggi. The first two were members of the pop band La Bottega dell’Arte that was successful in Italy between 1976 and 1984. The “Automat” LP was released in 1978 as a kind of demo Synthesizer MCS70 (Memory Controller Synthesizer 70) built by Maggi. The funny highlight of the LP is the band Droid, who say they were the opening theme of a TV news at TV Globo (Brazil) in the early 80′s. In fact parts of this theme were used twice in television news, in one of them no Globo Esporte noon. This all in it for 81/82. But it was common to the Globo television, since I remember that was used in the novel called “Brilhante”, type in 80/81. There are many more electronic themes that the Globo TV used in the field of the Fantástico.

I was able to find and download the entire Automat album on torrents. There were only four tracks in total, and all of them were in mono. At first I’d thought it was an accident by the person who recorded the album to digital, but in fact the original source of recording was done in mono. So I took the liberty to re-master Automat’s Droid, making it pseudo-stereo, adding true stereo ambient reverbs with independent left/right parameter settings, and enhancing the track’s overall low, mid and high range across its spectrum frequency (by using Waves Linear Phase Multiband plugin, among other RTAS plugins, in Protools). I’ve included both the original/mono and my enhanced re-mastered versions for comparison.

All in all, I find that Droid sounds very similar to VangelisPulstar (1976). To my ears, it seems that Droid borrowed heavily from the melody of Pulstar with noticeable variations, although both manage to stand out away from each other at the same time.

As a bonus, I managed to find a great Italo remix of Pulstar by Hipnosis (thank you Beat Electric).

Mito – “Droid” (12″ Remix)…

Artist: Mito
Title: Droid (12″ Remix)
Year: 1982
Label: Zanza Records

Mito – “Droid” (12″ Remix) (mp3)

 

Automat – “Droid” (Hashmoder Remaster)…

Artist: Automat
Title: Droid (Hashmoder Remaster)
Year: 1978 (2009)
Label: EMI Odeon

Automat – “Droid” (Hashmoder Remaster) (mp3)

 

Automat – “Droid” (Original, mono version)…

Artist: Automat
Title: Droid (Original, mono version)
Year: 1978
Label: EMI Odeon

Automat – “Droid” (Original) (mp3)

 

Vangelis – “Pulstar” (Vangelis original)

Artist: Vangelis
Title: Pulstar
Year: 1976
Label: RCA

Vangelis – “Pulstar” (mp3)

 

Hipnosis – “Pulstar” (remix of Vangelis)

Artist: Hipnosis
Title: Pulstar
Year: 1982 ?
Label: ?

Hipnosis – “Pulstar” (mp3)

 

Vangelis

Vangelis in his studio, early 80's.

Mantronix - "Simple Simon"

Spring 1988, Denham Village, Buckinghamshire, UK ….. on the way to Syco Systems (high-end pro audio shop — by appointment only — caters only to high-end clientele and famous artists such as Peter Gabriel) to pick up the gear for my first studio (see pictures below)  ….. I heard this track by Mantornix on the radio.

Notice: If you need to know more about Mantronix and the man himself, Kurt Mantronik, refer to my previous blog Hanson & Davis. Please read that first and then come back here and continue reading this blog/article.

I used to dream about having a Linn-9000 one day, so I could load my own drum samples and program beats with its sequencer; I used to sit for hours and drool over the brochures of the Roland D-50 synth and think about how breathy and paddy (also see video below) my tracks would sound along with the Linn-9000 drums pulsing underneath. The D-50 was revolutionary at its time (1987), because it was the first synth to have built-in effects, such as the the reverb, attack-transient samples and linear synthesis, among many other things. When I went to Syco Systems with my dad to buy the new gear, Kendall Wrightson (see quick shout-out below) informed me that the Linn-9000 was no longer in production, because its parent company went bankrupt; however, its designer Roger Linn had come up with a much better machine through Akai. He pointed his finger towards the Akai MPC60 at the other end of the room. It was GORGEOUS. It looked like a mean machine with a tilting LCD screen! Oh, those 16 square rubber finger pads. I didn’t hesitate to add it on the transaction. Kendall said something along the lines that he had one in stock, boxed and with Tony Banks’ name on it (yes, Tony Banks — the keyboardist of Genesis), but Tony didn’t want it at the time. When I looked at the box, sure enough his name was in fact printed on the shipping label.

After picking up my new studio gear from Syco, I stopped by Our Price record store, bought the 12-inch of Simple Simon and then drove home from London to my parent’s country-home in Denham Village. I love this track through and through. It’s very melodic and street-emotional, especially the bassline. Love the guitars (which are not real but tone-sampled and played from a keyboard sampler). The sound and style is very different from Mantronix’ previous releases which were more freestyle-based. Simple Simon sounded more mature but still had that “Mantronix” feel … perhaps it was the snappy, hard drum samples and programming coming from an E-mu SP-1200. Whatever it was, it certainly had the Mantronix‘ stamp with MC Tee‘s rap vocals. These two guys really stood out with this one.

I used to play both A and B sides of the 12-inch. Check out the amazing editing and fast-gating on You Dubba Regard mix, which were very hard to produce. Around that same time of year, the Latin Rascals were doing clever edits like this, with stutters, splice-edits and gated chops. Check out their sound/edits on Information Society’s – What’s On Your Mind which I’ve blogged about previously.

Quick shout-out to Kendall Wrightson:

Kendall Wrightson
who was my personal salesman at Syco Systems. He was very well-known in the pro-audio industry, for representing and selling high-end gear like the Fairlight (watch Kendall’s demonstration), SyclaviersSSL mixer consoles, etc.. There were times when Kendall used to let me and my best friend Noel Derblich to go inside one of Syco‘s studio rooms and transfer samples from the E-mu Emulator-III (also watch video here) to my Akai MPC60 drum-sampler/sequencer (64 midi channel, 99 tracks). Kendall was also featured in several documentaries about music technology.

Mantronix – “Simple Simon” (You Gotta Rock Hard)…

Artist: Mantronix
Title: Simple Simon (You Gotta Rock Hard)
Year: 1988
Label: 10 Records (UK)
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Simple Simon – “Simple Simon” (You Gotta Rock Hard) (mp3)

 

Mantronix- “Simple Simon” (You Dubba Regard)…

Artist: Mantornix
Title: Simple Simon (You Dubba Regard)
Year: 1988
Label: 10 Records (UK)
Media Source: Recorded straight from 12-inch record to enhanced digital.

Mantronix – “Simple Simon” (You Dubba Regard) (mp3)

 

My first studio with nice gear which I've bought from Syco Systems, London. Kendall Wrightson was my personal salesman. See his videos below.

Kendall Wrightson at Syco Systems, demonstrating the Linn-9000…

Kendall Wrightson at Syco System, demonstrating the Fairlight…

Roland D-50 synthesizer demonstration of its sounds/presets…

E-mu Emulator-II demonstration of its sounds/presets…

Mantronix - “Simple Simon”…

Streetsounds logo

Electro back then was electric funk and hiphop music, mainly for break-dancing, bee-bopping, and body-popping. In my opinion, the word ‘Electro’ today has been hijacked in the form of 4/4 dance music and not anywhere near its true roots.

I am providing you with four Electro albums for download. I recorded them directly from vinyl into Protools (Electro-6, 7 & 9 in particular), digitally restored as much as possible, and widened the stereo field, among other quick fixes. Go ahead an compare my mastered versions to the same ones you find elsewhere — mine sound the best.

Streetsounds Recordingstreetsounds 03D
Streetsounds Protools Mastering

Streetsounds History…

Streetsounds was part of the UK Streetwave stable of labels created by Morgan Khan. A Hong Kong-born Indian who grew up in London, Khan had worked in the UK record industry since the mid 1970′s, working for such names as PRT Distribution (a division of Pye Records) and R&B Records, for whom at the time Imagination were the up and coming stars of the day.

Khan founded the independent Streetwave record label during 1981 to specialise in releasing Electro and Hi-NRG releases. Within a year of creation, Streetwave began the Streetsounds series of albums; compilations created from some of the hottest 12″ imports of the day. These releases made available a selection of the most contemporary dance floor hits within the financial reach of those wanting to hear the freshest sounds. In the early 80′s a 12″ single was priced around £2 and you would pay over £4 for an import 12″. The Streetsounds series offered usually 8 to 12 full-length 12″ mixes for under a fiver. Understandably, the Streetsounds series was met with considerable enthusiasm and, some might say, mighty relief.

This series would run for over 6 years and contain over 50 albums. By far the most coveted of the Streetsounds releases were the Electro series. These albums introduced the UK to the developing hip-hop scene from America – a stroke of genius that brought electro and early hip hop from the underground to the UK high street and, one could argue, helped in the creation of the UK’s hip hop scene.

The Electro series ran for a total of 27 albums (and one box set) from 1982 to 1988. The albums were initially labeled “Streetsounds Electro” with the title morphing into “Streetsounds Hip Hop” after release 12 in 1986.

All of the albums were competently mixed by a series of the best remixers of the day – predominately from the UK. A large proportion of the mixes on the early releases were completed by a London-based hip-hop sound system from the early 80s. Headed by “Herbie The Mastermind” (aka Herbie Laidley) the team also featured Kiss FM radio DJ’s Dave VJ and Max LX who were also members of UK electro outfit Hard Rock Soul Movement, responsible for the massive “Double Def Fresh” release.

Electro-9…

Mixed by: Herbie (The Mastermind) Laidley
Year: 1985
Restored & remastered by: Hashmoder

Streetsounds Electro-9 (mp3)

 

Electro-7…

Mixed by: Herbie (The Mastermind) Laidley
Year: 1985
Restored & remastered by: Hashmoder

Streetsounds Electro-7 (mp3)

 

Electro-6…

Mixed by: DJ Maurice Assisted by DJ N
Year: 1985
Restored & remastered by: Hashmoder

Streetsounds Electro-6 (mp3)

 

Electro-2…

Mixed by: Herbie (The Mastermind) Laidley
Year: 1983

Streetsounds Electro-2 (mp3)

 

Track-List of Electro-6, Electro-7 and Electro-9

streetsoundselectros

Video of ReMastering Session of Electro-6|7|9…

suzanne ciani

Suzanne Ciani…

I am a synthesizer man. I love machines that go PING! And I adore babes on synths …. twisting knobs, patching chords and pressing keys with their shiny red nails …. especially Suzanne Ciani. She’s a rare electronic musician guru and genius.

She uses every synth made by humanoids, especially the Synclavier which was the world’s most powerful and most expensive synth/sampler/workstation from the late 70′s through the mid 90′s, made by New England Digital.

Synclavier System…

Synclavier’s base price started around US$200,000. The system was expandable to infinity and costs would reach tens of millions of dollars. In 1985, Synclavier could sample at rate of 150-KHz, 16-bit, stereo. It’s mainframe was super-computer UNIX system. Other features included: light-pen for touch screen, lots of red-lit buttons, blinking lights, large LED screen, hard disk recorders, waveform software, multiple i/o’s, synth oscillators (FM), optical re-write laser disk storage, slip differential, oozie, ammunition, stealth power, radar, sonar, one round knob, and more.

As a matter of fact, NASA used Synclavier systems, because it was THE most advanced and powerful super-computer in the world at that time (1980′s) ….. to launch space-shuttles, not music careers!

Read specs of Synclavier here.

Artists/producers who used Synclavier:

  • Trevor Horn
  • Sting
  • Phil Collins
  • Lauri Anderson
  • Frank Zappa
  • Peter Gabriel
  • Herbie Hancock
  • John Tesh
  • Depeche Mode
  • Thompson Twins
  • Tears For Fears
  • Michael Jackson (Bad album was 90% Synclavier sounds)
  • Grace Jones (the entire Slave To The Rhythm LP)
  • Frankie Goes To Hollywood
  • and countless of other big names

Oscar-winner sound-designer Gary Rydstorm (Skywalker Sound, Lucas Entertainment, Pixar) used (and still uses) the Synclavier in making epic sound effects for movies such as Saving Private Ryan, Minority Report and all the unforgettable T-Rex sounds in Jurassic park.

Synclaiver is the most extraordinary machine that produced the most incredible sounds the world has ever heard.

Synclavier.II

Synclavier II System

Synclavier Waveterm monitor and computer interface.

Synclavier Waveterm monitor and computer interface.

synclavier9600

Synclavier 9600 system, circa 1991/1992, with two huge mainframes which host UNIX computer parts, CPU's, RAM, several hard-drives, multiple i/o's, DSP cards and more.

Showdown of several Synclavier systems, possibly conjoined together as one big super-computer, with monitors and several Synclavier keyboard controllers.

Showdown of several Synclavier systems, possibly conjoined together as one big super-computer, with monitors and several Synclavier keyboard controllers.

Freeez…

Title: I.O.U. (I Dub You)
Year: 1983
Genre: Classic Electro Synth Dance
Comment: Produced and remixed by Arthur Baker (see picture below)

Freeez – “I.O.U.” (I Dub You) (mp3)

 

Yarbrough & Peoples…

Title: I Wouldn’t Lie To You (Extended Version)
Year: 1986
Genre: Electronic Dance R&B, Synth Bassline Groove-Driving

Yarbrough & Peoples – “I Wouldn’t Lie To You” (Extended Version) (mp3)

 

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