Urban Soul: Alright

This fabulous CD “single” juxtaposes Urban Soul's “Alright” with four elastic makeovers split between Jay Shepheard and Karizma. Interestingly, the updated versions come first with the original tagging along at disc's end. Shepheard contributes two strong mixes, the first a bumping club groove and the second a dub treatment. In the former, electro synths sparkle as Roland Clark's jubilant vocal drops sneakily onto a deep pulse that oozes house flavour; the swooning dub version ventures into Minus territory with a minimal swizzle-stick pulse that plunges steadily deeper with every bar. Parked at the CD's center is Karizma's “Kaytronic Movementz Part 1,” a massive house burner which underlays the soulful vocal with a stripped-down dance-funk groove that gradually builds as one percussion layer after another is added. The repeated “Alright” scream becomes a veritable call to arms, cymbals and snares keep up a constant chatter while repeating piano and bass melodies lock the tune into position, and the vocal—especially when looped into oblivion—is a joy to behold. “Kaytronic Movementz Part 2” is vastly different in character, a thudding bass-pumper hell-bent on blowing your speakers to shreds; good too are the dizzying vocal effects that come from Karizma's wild slicing and dicing. At disc's end, the initial moments of Clark 's 1991 original prove disorienting as we wait for the tune to find its footing but once the groove kicks in with a funk-house slam we're on our way. The song's celebratory vibe and vocal counterpoint are so irresistible, the tune ends up sounding like it had to have been created yesterday, not seventeen years ago.

April 2008