Freeform Five are a UK 4-piece act comprised of 3 vocalists Tamara, Cabba and Nick with the beats and songwriting duties taken care of by Anu Pillai. Basing their sound around a healthy dose of electro, there couldn't have been a better choice for a name other than Freeform as they embrace a wide range of styles including house, hip hop, rock, punk and techno. Misch Masch is their first mixed compilation and showcases the Freeform sound when they DJ live. As a bonus they've included a remix CD where they remix some of dance and pops biggest names.
Plantlife, who impressed us all with their straight out of left field release "The Return Of Jack Splash" get the mix into gear with The Last Song dropping a stomping 4/4 electro beat, psychedelic synth work with politically charged vocals. Freeform then pull off a remix of their own Electromagnetic dropping rock guitars, electro b-boy breaks and wobbly basslines with vocals performed by UK garage MC Lyric L.
Providing the base sample for Daft Punk's "Robot Rock", Breakwater's Release The Beast is a fine example of disco rock meets electro, and this was done back in 1980! Some music was definitely ahead of its time and this one is a perfect example. Skatta and Kanesha Karats send one out to all the ladies with All The Ladies Looking Naughty and this gets blended in with tough electro breaks from Kango's Stein Massiv's Eddik.
Freeform then unearth another old skool classic in the form of Funkadelic's In The Cabin Of My Uncle Jam giving up a classic disco vibe which then gets the acapella of Mr. Vegas' Pull Up mixed on top. Those who are familiar with Pitbull's "Culo" single (which Mr. Vegas appeared on) will easily recognise the vocal hook.
Representing one of electro's biggest labels, Crosstown Rebels, is The Crocodile by Wax. Featuring a massive arpeggio-like synth line which changes melody as the tune progresses and electro synth bass - this one has a lot of bite - with Bounty Killer's vocal from Eeeeaaooww getting placed on top. Freefrom then mix in a couple of remixes done of Freeform 5 tunes such as the Jackson Remix of Break Me which takes electro back to the days when it was mostly synth based and loaded with arpeggios. The Paul Woodford remix of What Do I Want From You? goes on another stomping 4/4 ride with dirty bass, arpeggio stabs and a disctinct punk chic feel.
The mix then moves onto a couple of dancefloor oriented rock tunes in the form of Pink Grease's The Pink G.R.Ease "is gonna make you sweat!" and Soulwax's (taking time off from their 2 Many DJ's alterego) NY Excuse - tunes that are recieving plays on both mainstream radio and the dancefloor mainly for their resiliance to not be locked down into a certain genre and provide something fun for the dancefloor.
Although it can get really annoying, it's hard not to see the effect that Roman Flugel's Geht's Noch has on the dancefloor with house, electro and breaks DJ's all playing the tune in its various incarnations. Aphex Twin's Windowlicker - the tune with the crazy video of booty ho's wearing ugly faced masks with the main character dancing like Michael Jackson - gets mashed up with this and in a way makes Geht's Noch sound so much better!
The remix CD features 9 Freeform 5 takes of classic tunes and begins with an old remix they did of Isolee's Beau Mot Plage back in 2000 on Derrick Carter's Classic House label. This one is certainly different from the Freeform 5 we know today as it features a jazzier and funkier house vibe, loaded with latin percussion, jazzy flutes and a massive bongo and steeldrum beatdown in the middle.
Lazy by X-Press 2 is quite possibly one of the biggest tunes to come out in 2002 especially with Talking Heads' David Byrne on vocals. Freeform's take on Lazy is anything but lazy and quite possibly one of the best versions I have heard incorporating
an uplifting beat with that all-important aspect of percussion, feel-good horn arrangements and a wicked bass line. Elton John is one artist who I would have never expected to fall under the surgical knife of Freeform, but it seems like nothing is safe from FF5! Are You Ready For Love gets turned into a poppy house tune loaded with lots of electro hooks and a catchy bassline. Pretty poppy, but since when is anything from Elton not targeted to the pop market?
FF5 then pull off a remix of Mylo's Musclecar with the FF5 vocalists adding their own vocals to the remix namechecking various American musclecar names and brands. Felix Da Housecat's Rocket Ride gets slowed down and FF5 incorporate classic electro elements into their remix, not to mention a wicked disco breakdown in the middle utilising disco guitar licks and disco beats.
What is awesome about the mix is that the tunes are blended together quite deeply and each tune fits in quite well with the following tune. The acappella's that are thrown in add to the variety whilst not making the mix sound too busy, as some mixes are known for. The remix CD on the other hand gives listeners a sample of what FF5 are all about when they translate other artist's tunes in their own eyes. Full length too so that DJ's can finally grab that illusive copy they've been searching for.
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