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M People

» Renaissance

Reviewed by Pete M / Submitted 22-05-20 17:03

Label: Edsel
Format: CD
Genre: House / Dance

Box set time! This one is rather special. Its a nine-disc, two-DVD, box-set of M People's four albums plus bonus discs plus remix disc by David Morales & Frankie Knuckles. Yep. Every album they released is here with brand new bonus discs added with additional edits, bonus tracks and remixes. First, lets address who's provided remixes. There's lots here.

Remixes from: M+S, Roger Sanchez, MK, Way Out West, MM, D*Influence, M People, Judge Jules, Paul Oakenfold, DJ's Rule, Armand van Helden, E-Smoove, Rae & Christian, Dancin' Danny D, Hed Boys, Junior Vasquez, LuvDup and John Digweed. I've probably missed one or two but honestly, the remix list is truly extensive and the fact that the ninth disc is a David Morales/Frankie Knuckles remix disc with mixes new to me makes this disc the real gem of the package.

CDs 1 & 2 are the debut album, Northern Soul, plus b-sides and bonus mixes including the full length QAT mix of How Can I Love You More? on CD2 and the Full Master of Someday by Sasha. MK's T mix of Excited is on CD2 as are mixes by DJ's Rule, Judge Jules and edits of Someday and Excited. Great stuff and a nice trip down memory lane.

CDs 3 and 4 are Elegant Slumming. This album won the 1994 Mercury Music Prize and also earned the band the Best Dance Act gong at that year's Brit Awards. What's interesting here is that on the original version of the album, the original mix of Renaissance is on it but what's interesting is one of the bonuses on the first disc is the M People Master Mix of the track. I like comparing the two tracks. Probably the best mixes are on the second disc with K-Klass, MK and Roger Sanchez taking up the challenge. This disc also includes dub mixes too and has the K-Klass mixes and dubs and the S-Man's mixes and dubs. Very cool indeed! The K-Klass mixes were, I believe, unreleased at the time but I might be wrong!

CDs 5 and 6 are dedicated to Bizarre Fruit, the band's third album. Some belters here with "Search For The Hero" possibly the more known track. The choir is not present on the album version but is present on the alternate radio mix on the second disc. My favourites on Bizarre Fruit are the Padlock original and Junior Vasquez mixes; the Sound Factory mix of this particular track is on the album's sequel, Bizarre Fruit II, as is the Soundtrack mix of Open Your Heart. On the remastered album, we have Armand van Helden's hard take on the track plus Hed Boys funking up Itchycoo Park, another stand-out. Still one of the coolest cover versions in my book!

CDs 7 and 8 are Fresco, the band's last [to date] album. This is another one of the band's blend of soul and dance albums with r&b coming to the fore. Just For You and Fantasy Island are two stand-outs for me with remixes coming from Way Out West and D*Influence. The Rae & Christian remix of Testify is cool too as well as Joey Negro's disco groove of Angel St. Cool.

CD 9 is the bonus remixes by the Def Mix crew. I haven't heard the majority of these mixes before; in fact, the mix I'm most familiar with is the Morales mix of Itchyoo Park. Frankie Knuckles did three mixes of Just For You; one of which ended up on the CD single but the other two find their way on to the bonus disc with the Sanctified Anthem being my fave. The Hipshakers' Delight mix is more of a dub mix and I like that one too. David Morales did four remixes for the band with Fantasy Island, Dreaming, One Night In Heaven and Itchyoo Park each receiving the full Def Mix treatment by Mr Morales. The King Dub of Dreaming is properly epic. Superb stuff.

Big grin

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