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”…

Soul II Soul Keep On Moving

Soul II Soul — my all-time favorite (and dearest to my heart) British electric soul music group in my life. I was in senior year high-school (ACS Hillingdon, UK) when Soul-II-Soul’s Keep On Movin’ 12-inch and maxi-CD singles were released in the first quarter of 1989 — the year when I bought everything released by them: 7-inch and 12-inch records; maxi-single cassettes and CD’s; and LP vinyl, cassette and CD of Soul-II-Soul first album release Club Classics Vol-1. In 1999, I’ve purchased Soul-II-Soul re-release of the first album which was re-mastered as Club Classics Vol-1, 10th Anniversary Edition and included extra/bonus tracks. The very beautiful Caron Wheeler was featured to do the main vocals on this track. Her soulful voice was so electrifyingly smooth which won her a Grammy.

Keep On Movin’ was my high-school track  ….. it meant a lot to me …… still means a lot to me twenty years later ….. moves me in almost every way ….. and forever remains to be my favorite track in my life.

To all my high-school friends (Gudnyn A, Noel D, Lisa C, Tom K, Tamer, Alex, Fadi, Giselle T, and everybody else), students I’ve known, students I didn’t know, teachers (shout-out to you Rich Hein), staff, headmaster (Mr. Duncan) … including all names I didn’t mention …… I dedicate this post + Soul II Soul tracks to you all :)

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Club Mix)…

Artist: Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler)
Title: Keep On Movin’ (Club Mix)
Year: 1989
Label: Virgin
Media Source: Extracted directly from audio maxi-CD single.

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Club Mix) (mp3)

 

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Full LP Version)…

Artist: Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler)
Title: Keep On Movin’ (Full LP Version)
Year: 1989
Label: Virgin
Media Source: Extracted directly from audio LP CD.

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Full LP Version) (mp3)

 

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Big Beat Acappella)…

Artist: Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler)
Title: Keep On Movin’ (Big Beat Acappella)
Year: 1989
Label: Virgin
Media Source: Extracted directly from audio maxi-CD single.

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Big Beat Acappella) (mp3)

 

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Teddy Riley’s Rubba Dub Mix)…

Artist: Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler)
Title: Keep On Movin’ (Teddy Riley’s Rubba Dub Mix)
Year: 1989
Label: Virgin
Media Source: Extracted directly from audio maxi-CD single.

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Teddy Riley’s Rubba Dub Mix) (mp3)

 

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Teddy Riley’s Bonus Beats)…

Artist: Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler)
Title: Keep On Movin’ (Teddy Riley’s Bonus Beats)
Year: 1989
Label: Virgin
Media Source: Extracted directly from audio maxi-CD single.

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Teddy Riley’s Bonus Beats) (mp3)

 

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (The First Movement Mix)…

Artist: Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler)
Title: Keep On Movin’ (The First Movement Mix)
Year: 1989
Label: Virgin
Media Source: Extracted directly from audio maxi-CD single.

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (The First Movement Mix) (mp3)

 

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (M Beat Bonus Mix)…

Artist: Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler)
Title: Keep On Movin’ (M Beat Bonus Mix)
Year: 1989
Label: Virgin
Media Source: Extracted directly from audio maxi-CD single.

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (M Beat Bonus Mix) (mp3)

 

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Nellee Hooper 7 inch Mix)…

Artist: Soul II Soul (featuring Caron Wheeler)
Title: Keep On Movin’ (Nellee Hooper 7 inch Mix)
Year: 1989
Label: Virgin
Media Source: Extracted directly from audio maxi-CD single.

Soul II Soul – “Keep On Movin” (Nelle Hooper 7 inch Mix) (mp3)

 

Soul II Soul Links…

Jazzie B (the main man) on the cover of Soul II Soul’s first album “Club Classics Vol. 1″

Music video of Keep On Movin’

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