Sunday, January 8, 2017

CD Review: Defected presents House Masters - Heller & Farley

Pete Heller and Terry Farley are UK House Pioneers, with a lengthy string of productions and remixes from their own underground productions on Junior Boys Own/JBO to club moving remixes for more mainstream Pop & R&B artists like Louise, Lisa Stansfield and Janet Jackson. As part of the House Masters series, Defected Records has released a 3 CD compilation featuring 30 tracks full of Heller & Farley goodness.

Personally chosen by Terry and Pete themselves, CD 1 and CD 2 feature specially selected remixes and dubs of major-label and underground artists done over their career. CD 3 features productions that were created by Farley & Heller themselves, under their Fire Island / Roach Motel / Heller & Farley monikers.

Highlights of CD 1 include the Fire Island remix of Ultra Nate's "How Long", the groove of which was the basis for the even more successful "Ultra Flava"; their radical re-working of Happy Monday's "Stinkin' Thinkin'" which turned the mild alt-rock groove into a Madchester House stomper; plus their classic remix of New Order's "Regret", with its funky grand piano solo.

CD 2 features a new 2016 reworking of "Ultra Flava", in lieu of the original version; the rare promo-only Zooromancer remix of "Salome" by U2; as well as my personal favourite, the Fire Island remix of Mone's "Movin'".

Even with the extended playing times on each CD, this edition of House Masters is just a beginner's taste of the brilliance of the Farley & Heller sound, and will hopefully lead the listener to delve further into their catalog of remixes and productions. There are so many classic remixes not included here that would probably require at least 2 or 3 more volumes of House Masters!

The CDs are packaged in a triple gatefold cardboard digipack case with only the track listings and credits inside. It would have been wonderful to have proper liner notes from Terry and Pete about each track and their comments on the production and what made them so special to be included in this compilation.

Also available as a digital release, the physical CD and digital versions do differ in a major way - all the big name artists on CD 1 and CD 2 - including Ultra Nate, Danny Tenaglia, Happy Mondays, Terry Callier, New Order, Simply Red and Michael Watford, have been removed from the digital version, replaced with alternate Heller & Farley tracks and remixes of F&H tracks by other producers including Joey Negro and Murk.

Note that the First Pressing of this CD release has a number of errors - CD 2 of the physical version is mispressed - GusGus "VIP" is not the Fire Island Dub, but actually the Masters At Work Vocal Mix! Terry Farley confirmed to me on Twitter that this is a known error on the first edition of the CD version. Also, as Jason Whittaker mentioned in his review on Medium, a number of the tracks are edited and/or transferred from inferior vinyl sources instead of the original master tapes or pre-existing digital masters. Hopefully these issues will be rectified on a subsequent 2nd pressing of the CD. The Digital Edition does have the correct version of VIP.

Unfortunate flaws aside, this is another welcome addition to the House Masters series and I highly recommend it for those who want a great career overview of the Heller & Farley sound. Essential Listening!

Defected presents House Masters - Heller & Farley

CD 1
01. Ultra Nate 'How Long' (Fire Island Remix)        
02. Danny Tenaglia 'Music Is The Answer (Dancin’ & Prancin’)'
      (Fire Island’s ‘La Musica Es La Respuesta’)
03. Happy Mondays 'Stinkin' Thinkin' (Junior Style Mix)
04. Jasper Street Co. 'A Feelin' (Heller & Farley Project Remix)                                      
05. Tension 'A Place Called Heaven' (Fire Island Mix)
06. Junior Vasquez 'Get Your Hands Off My Man' (Fire Island Dub 4 Junior)                                
07. Terry Callier 'I Don't Want To See Myself (Without You)' (Heller & Farley Saturday In Chicago Mix)      
08. Funky Green Dogs 'The Way' (The Way Into The Roach Motel)                                              
09. New Order 'Regret' (Fire Island Mix)              
10. Robert Owens 'Was I Here Before' (Fire Island Vocal)                 
CD 2
01. The Heller & Farley Project   'Ultra Flava' (2016 Version)
02. U2 'Salome' (Zooromancer Remix)
03. Simply Red 'Money’s Too Tight (To Mention)' (Fire Island Vox Remix)
04. DSK 'What Would We Do' (Eight Minutes Of Madness Mix)
05. Michael Watford 'Love To The World' (Fire Island Remix)
06. Gus Gus 'VIP' (Fire Island Dub)
07. Product Of Da Neighbourhood 'Living In Brooklyn' (Roach Motel Dub)
08. MonĂ© 'Movin’ (Fire Island Mix)
09. The Believers 'Who Dares To Believe In Me?' (Roach Motel Dub)
10. Robert Owens 'Ordinary People' (Roaching The Bass Bin)
CD 3
01. Roach Motel 'Movin On' (Correct House Mix)
02. Fire Island feat. Mark Anthoni 'If You Should Need A Friend' (Fire Island Club Mix)
03. Fire Island feat. Love Nelson 'There But For The Grace of God'
      (Original Live ‘N’ Funky Mix)
04. Fire Island feat. Ricardo Da Force 'Fire Island'
05. Heller & Farley 'The Rising Sun' (Summer Luv Rite)
06. Fire Island 'In Your Bones'
07. The Heller & Farley Project feat. Cevin Fisher 'We Built This House'
      (Fire Island Mix)
08. Roach Motel 'Wild Luv' (Original Mix)
09. Roach Motel 'The Night' (Deep Nite Mix)
10. Fire Island 'White Powder Dreams' (Fire Island Vocal Mix)

Digital Version:
Same tracklisting as above except for the following:
CD 1 - Tracks 1, 2, 3, 7 & 8 and CD 2 - Tracks 3 & 5 are removed and replaced at the end with the following tracks instead:

01. Black Science Orchestra - Sunshine (Farley and Heller's Faith on a Sunday Vocal)
02. Roach Motel - Trouble
03. Roach Motel - Musica Loco
04. Fire Island - If You Should Need A Friend (feat. Mark Anthoni) (Sound Factory Dub)
05. Fire Island - There But For The Grace Of God (feat. Love Nelson) (Joey Negro Mix)
06. Heller & Farley Project - We Built This House (feat. Cevin Fisher) (Roach Motel Dub)
07. Fire Island - White Powder Dreams (Murk Vocal Mix)

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