Monday, July 16, 2007

Casino Classics

I love Saint Etienne. The trio grabbed my attention with their 1990 debut Foxbase Alpha with it's catchy pop stylings, heavy on the '60s girl pop flavor. I've remained a fan, right up to 2006's Tales From The Turnpike House (originally released in Europa in 2005). Distinctly British, they started out as an electro pop act that mutated into something more organic. Over the years they've teetered between the two, all the while retaining their signature sound. One constant through the years has been the ace selection of remixers the band has employed over the years. Aphex, Chemical Brothers, Paul van Dyk, Faze Action, Aim, To Rococco Rot, Etienne Daho and on and on and on. Casino Classics is a two disc set that came out the UK in 1996. It is a collection of some of more memorable remixes from the band's first 6 years. It never got a US release, so I plunked down the big $$$ on the import. It is s a pretty accurate snapshot of where my electronic music tastes were at that year, with mixes by Death In Vegas, Secret Knowledge, Lionrock, Underworld, the Chemical Bros, David Holmes and Broadcast. Among the older mixes is one of my favorite Saint Etienne moments, Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Andrew Weatherall Remix). Mr.Weatherall applies his best spaced out dub trickery to this killer cover of an old Neil Young song, giving you four minutes of beats and melodica before the meat and potatoes of the song kicks in. Huge. I am also very fond of Filthy (Monkey Mafia Remix). I'm not too proud to admit that I was into a bit of big beat back in the day, and Monkey Mafia were one of the acts I dug - they always had a bit of ragga flavor mixed into their funkiness. This is stripped down, focusing on Q-Tee's vocals, the crunk bass and beats and the wicked wah-wah guitar riff. Love it. A great compilation - if you ever see it anywhere snap it up!

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