From Carlo Demichelis, alias DHS, who like fellow Italian countryman N-Joy is also a member of The Soundwavers, comes this decidedly euro coverage of a relatively obscure C64 title called The Human Race. The company, Mastertonic, put out quite a few budget C64 titles way back when, including the tantalizingly-titled "Bionic Granny" and wonderfully instructive "How to be a Bastard"; Carlo writes:
"After being taking dust in my HD for at least six months, I released that remix of subtune 4 of Rob Hubbard's The Human Race. The track is reminiscent of Jarre, Vangelis, Deep Forest and.... Enigma :) The vocals samples are little pieces taken here and there from various sources, mainly sample cds. The Enigma drumloop has been taken from the record ("Sadeness Part 1"). The Djembe drums are from some sample cd. The other sounds are mainly from my Access Virus KC. Everything has been worked on Nuendo 2 on an Athlon 2500xp pc. Utilized plugins for the track and mastering are from my TCElectronic Powercore. Mixing has been done on a Yamaha 01x digital mixer."
Virus, Powercore, Nuendo... it's good to be DHS, at least in the gear department, and he puts it all to good use here. We had some initial concerns about the usage of the easily identifiable Enigma drumloop, but while we would've preferred it been original and more varied, there's enough action elsewhere to compensate. Plus it's a common enough beat and wasn't strikingly original even when Enigma themselves used it - just a good groove, very laid back and appropriate for this style, which is definitely in the same vein as the artists Carlo enumerates. The usage of vocal samples reminds me timbrally of Halcyon and On and On by Orbital, but there's definitely a Deep Forest quality to them as well. Shimmering EP-like synth textures intro, with a brassy analog sweep pad entering along with the diced-and-spliced vocal fx and djembe - it's weird to use words like "nostalgia" when talking about the 1990's, but this will definitely have you recalling the glory days of Enigma's monk-injected electronica and Deep Forest's pygmy and world music-flavored beats. Synths are strong, especially the lead, and the sound is very full and enveloping, just as it was with those artists; everything that was to like + dig about the type of music that inspired this mix is also present here. You even get a cheesy-but-cool "Ahhhh" vocal effect (think just-took-a-swig-of-refreshing-beverage-on-hot-day) around 3'10" to complete the atmosphere. Source melody really works fantastically with this specific genre adaptation, and the piece concludes with the same Blade Runnery analog pad that it intros with, albeit more exposed, for a nice round robin effect. Brandon Bush sayeth:
"This has a great clean sound throughout. The vocal samples are wonderfully used and the instrumentation is very engaging. It's euro stylin' all the way and some of the arrangement feels like something a favorite conductor/composer of mine Paul Schwartz would create. The composition is standard yet interesting, the arrangement is creative and the sounds are enveloping. Great work Carlo."
Fortunately the Sadeness influence wasn't a prohibitive factor and there was more than enough work elsewhere to compensate for the derivative percussion track, as Carlo's mix is soothing, an excellent study in genre work, accessible, and should be enjoyed by many - don't let the potentially obscure source material stop you, it was still composed by Rob Hubbard, a musical giant from the C64 era, and is a fantastic re-envisioning on DHS' part.
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