REEL PEOPLE: Seven Ways To Wonder – The Remixes (Label: Papa Records)

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REEL PEOPLE: Seven Ways To Wonder - The Remixes

One of this year’s best home grown soul albums is Reel People’s ‘Seven Ways To Wonder’ set (see a full review on our earlier review pages). It was the duo’s second full LP and the pair – Oli Lazarus and Mike Patto – gave it a wonderful soul sheen that their previous album, ‘Second Guess’ lacked. That one was aimed primarily at the dance fraternity and to keep those foot tappers happy the Reelists did actually include a couple of dance mixes of two tracks on ‘Seven Ways’. Now, in an attempt at hedge betting, the whole album (well almost the whole album) is given the remix treatment. Naturally the two original remixes are included; they are Rasmus Faber’s take on ‘Alibi’ and Pete Kuzma’s spin on ‘Upside’. The former still sounds a bit disorganized – especially in the over-long introduction, while the latter’s groove has not been undiminished by the passing of a few months. Now, here’s where it all gets a little bit complicated, ‘Alibi’ gets a further tweak – from Dennis Ferrer – while ‘Upside’ comes in two more new versions of which the Karizma Old’s Kool tweak is the sharpest. Of the rest, ‘Amazing’ receives two visits and both John Cutler and the Tarantulaz are sensible enough to let the wonderful Tony Momrelle/Imani vocal do the work, while the Latino-style 4 Hero mix of ‘Outa Love’ should keep salsa dancers happy – though to add to the confusion I do need to tell you that there’s a single out there featuring 11 remixes of that song! Then there are two interpretations of ‘Love Is Where You Are’. Oli Lazarus – in his Realm Remix alter ego – gives it an electro feel and Orto injects a broken beat flavour; wisely both give the Charles Stepney-style ethereal harmonies prominence. All good stuff… but the best mix (in my opinion anyway) is the Kyoto Jazz Massive’s spin on ‘It Will Be’. It’s very, very tight and the clear point of reference is Stevie W. The track missing from the original LP is ‘Ordinary Man’. Based around Hall and Oates’ ‘Maneater’, it was always … well, ordinary. Clearly the remixers felt there was little they could do with it – unlike the tunes they eventually selected which are given a different vitality.
(BB) 4/5