Nicole Willis - Feeling Free (Natural Self Remix)
Nicole Willis - Feeling Free Remixes Part 1
(12") Above the Clouds ATC007, 2006-09-25
A1. Feeling Free (Hoop's Juju) | MP3
B1. Feeling Free (Natural Self Remix) | MP3
B2. Feeling Free (original album version) | MP3
Press Release :
Some of you may already have picked up on the fabulous Nicole Willis and some of you may not.
For those of you that have skip this paragraph. For those of you that haven't, here's the skinny. Nicole is the wife of Jimi Tenor and has been singing since she was knee high to a grasshopper. Her most recent project has been with Finland's Soul Investigators and their album Keep Reaching Up was released earlier this year on Timmion. The greatest album Motown never made, it perfectly sums up the best things about sixties soul (great song-writing, great production, bitter-sweet lyricism) whilst still sounding contemporary, relevant and not in the least bit retrogressive. It's release was preceded by the amazing single If This Ain't Love which was one of Gilles P's Worldwide records of the year last year and went on to get radio love from Mark Lamarr and Craig Charles amongst others! It also went Top 10 in Finland!
So Above the Clouds next release(s) hinge on Keep Reaching Up's opening track Feeling Free, which has already received a lot of radio play including repeat plays from Pete Tong, Gilles Peterson, Mark Lamarr, Robert Elms and Dale Winton!! Co-written with The Pekka Kuusisto String Orchestra, the string arrangements are simultaneously reminiscent of the great Charles Stepney (Chess and Rotary Connection) and the equally inspiring Vincent Montana (Salsoul Orchestra). With a heavy funk backing and a truly uplifting vocal, this is truly one of those rare moments of synchronicity and chemistry between musicians who - holed up in a Finnish bomb shelter - recorded this entire piece on just 3 tracks!!
For ATC007 and ATC008, we invited some of our favourite producers to rework this already flawless track, (which at under 4 minutes on a one piece LP was crying out for some dance-floor reworks) and ended up with so many good mixes we couldn't fit them on one record. Released across 2 separately packaged 12"s, Feeling Free could be the closest thing to a summer anthem that soul music has had in quite a while.
On the first 12", the album version is cut nice and wide for extra-loud club play and comes backed up with 2 great remixes. Hoop, (who's recent Soulclap updates of 90's Hip-Hop classics have garnered praise and plays from all angles), has worked his sampladelic magic using jazz pianos and horns to bring fresh harmonies to an already musically rich work. Coming across like a drum heavy Quantic, this mix is one for the beat heads, as is its flip-side partner, which is delivered by Natural Self, (Breakin' Bread / Tru Thoughts). As usual Nathaniel's drums are raw, his bass looms large and the authentic funk feel is kept alive and heavily kicking.
On the second, Aaron Jerome, who has previously remixed for Bugz in the Attic and Erykah Badu has taken inspiration from the strings and turned in a mix reminiscent of 4 Hero at their dance-floor best. For the dub, Aaron teamed up with If Music head honcho Jean Claude Thompson (Amalgamation of Soundz) and delivered a brooding, blistering 4/4 monster that will find favour amongst fans of everyone from the Idjut Boys and Tangoterje to Joe Claussel and Danny Krivit.
Check out the Releases page to listen or even buy (from September 11th) and feel free to hit us up using our contact page and let us know what you think. For now though, there you have it. ATC007 and ATC008 are here - and both at once. A slight change in direction some might say, but the ingredients are all the same and that's what counts.
Watch this space for another sidestep in the form of ATC009 which should grace your ears before autumn is out…
"Natural Self delivers a breathtaking remix of this Nicole Willis sing along anthem which is funkier than yesterdays socks! The man behind many a contemporary funk bomb has revitalised this much played golden moment from Nicoles recent LP by adding pin point breaks and free flowing percussion. The mid track breakdown is the cherry on top of a very rich dessert of funky soul goodness!
The Hoop mix adds weight to the breaks and a distant piano loop into the mix of strings and vocal for a straighter dance floor effort. " Fat City