Producer of the moment Melé drops the 3rd in his mix series on his own Quadrants label. It’s a scintillating effort, drawing primarily on acid house, techno and UK funky, and for the re-edits alone it’s worth its weight in gold. It features a re-work of Michael Jackson’s Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, a tune which is well worth a quick time-out here …
Not quite as dizzily well-known as Beat It, Thriller or Billy Jean, Wanna Be Startin’ is, in fact, Michael Jackson at his very greatest, one of the best pop songs of all time. It is a tune with everything – wonderful dancefloor sensibility embracing Jackson’s disco background, the tribal Afro-beat refrain 30 years ahead of its time, the nonsense lyrics and trademark yells more warped and invigorating than ever. Nothing MJ did after this was ever as good and its a sad fact that the quality of his output seemed to have a direct correlation with the paling of his skin. The blackness was quite literally stripped out of his music so by the time of Earth Song and the like, we had overblown theatre in the vein of rock poseurs like Queen in place of taut, muscular pop music that comprised much of the Off the Wall and Thriller albums.
Mele takes the best elements, the tribal chants and the delicious horns and turns it into a minimal funky workout with some delightfully overblown snare rolls sending things into a frenzy. That’s not all Mele has in store , and music fans of a certain age will be delighted by his other choice. A re-working of the Happy Monday’s Hallelujah is a stomping 120bpm house affair, while his edit of Inner City’s Good Life is just irresistible; casting aside its laid-back soul sensuality and turning it into a delirious lunatic of a track, bouncing off the walls of any dancefloor that tries to contain it.
The originals too are fascinating. It’s good to see the sounds of UK funky making a comeback, all clattering drums, stripped-back synths and sub-bass rudeness dropping in and out of the mix. Work me Mercy though is an unrestrained techno work-out that wouldn’t have sounded out of place at a late 90’s warehouse rave. This is clearly a producer at the height of his inventive powers. FACT are showcasing this release, which comes as individual tracks or a continuous mix.