Thursday, August 4, 2016

2 MARX-Dance Fantasia (1995)


ORIGINAL POSTING DATE: August 4, 2016

On the heels of yesterday's presentation of the 7TH HEAVEN/Katherine Ellis remake of Gwen Guthrie's "Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But The Rent", I come back with another house music team who took an old hit from the past and made it new again. The Polish production duo of Marek Hojda and Marek Sierocki—better known by 2 MARX (a simple yet fitting name, considering they are 'two Marks')—is a virtual mystery in the house music genre, but I at least solved a portion of the case when I took an hour plus of my late Thursday night to investigate the tunes on their "Dance Fantasia" album. A 'dance fantasy' this one is indeed, and there's a whole lot more going on than just the rent on what evolved into quite the entertaining instrumental house party! Upon spotting this entry in the Discogs.com database, there were at least a handful of titles that I instantly recognized, generating all sorts of curiosity about how they should sound in their upgraded dance format. The first was Jan Hammer's "Crockett's Theme", the memorable daytime-dreamy theme song to the "Miami Vice" TV series (oh how the nostalgia' seeps into my head now!), which sounds so cool with the original chords layered against the revitalizing groovy house rhythm. The second was the Harold Faltermeyer classic from the "Beverly Hills Cop" soundtrack, "Axel F.", which re-opened the floodgates for all of those fond memories of the 80's to come rushing back into my head. The other titles I recognized turned out to be productions that I hadn't heard in a fairly long time, starting with TRANS-X's "Living On Video" and including Cerrone's "Supernature" plus Patrick Cowley's "Megatron Man" (I only wished this 2 MARX remake had more of a robotic, sci-fi theme going on with the production). My ears, however, experienced greater familiarity tuning in to "Menergy", the early HI-NRG post-disco Patrick Cowley hit refreshing my memory with the words of 'the boys in the backroom laughing it up' being sung in the catchy chorus. Vocals, in fact, are kept to a minimum on this album, allowing you to fully enjoy the various electronic arrangements and the often trancey beats. When vocals are heard here, they usually come in the form of quirky spoken snippets. Besides "From Here To Eternity" already giving me a super charge with its high-speed tempo, the background voices softly echoing 'baby' in the verses and the repetitive delivery of ' that's where she takes me ' became embedded into my senses, the swirly electronic instrumental break and the suspenseful deep house groove captivating me later on. "I Wanna Funk With You Tonight" is a fun-filled 5+ minutes, largely due to the oddball double-layered vocals singing the title lyrics mixed in with the occasional sexy moans of the lady throughout, while "Infinity" is a bit higher on the oddball scale with the almost monstrous sound of the spoken vocals (particularly that maniacal laughter; what is he even laughing about?!) against the deep trance rhythm and the dazzling array of musical textures, namely the woodwind melody and the snazzy keyboard playing. The pure instrumental lovers who adore the house interpretations of "Axel F." and "Crockett's Theme" will feel at home twice more with the opener, "Song For Denise" (there's a certain spark and twinkle about the 80's-sounding synthesizing on this one that I like) and "Chase", the latter one even sounding like some good ole 'chase' music from an 80's action movie score. Then ending this 'dance fantasy' in the most appropriate manner is the selection entitled "You In The Night". By now, the dance party has ended and you've slid into cool-down mode. For me, it was extra special, with the touch of the saxophone jazzing up the exotic ambiance of the music so sweetly.....almost as if the title "You In The Night" was speaking to me personally and telling me that, in some way, it would top off my night in a special way:

1. Song For Denise
2. Crockett's Theme
3. From Here To Eternity
4. Axel F.
5. I Wanna Funk With You Tonight
6. Infinity
7. Living On Video
8. Chase
9. Menergy
10. Supernature
11. Megatron Man
12. You In The Night

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