Thursday, 7 November 2013

E-Z Rollers - Retro (Guardians Of Dalliance Remix)

E-Z Rollers - Retro (Guardians Of Dalliance Remix) (Audio Couture, 1997)

Essence Of Aura signed to Moving Shadow in 1994 and developed a more musical style with tracks such as 'Northern Lights' and 'So This Is Love'. However they split in 1996 following disagreements among the trio, with the final straw being James Mitton-Wade and Ian Scott remixing 'So This Is Love' for the Trans-Central Connection compilation without informing Tim Grantham. Ian and Tim subsequently quit the music industry but James, who had already established a solo career under the Carlito name, continued and formed Guardians Of Dalliance with Mike Banks and later vocalist Sophie Perks.

Although the E-Z Rollers original on parent label Moving Shadow is the better known version of 'Retro', the Guardians Of Dalliance Remix is the one I heard first thanks to the Moving Shadow Past>Future cassette that came free with DJ Magazine No. 184 in March 1997. It was a tape that I played repeatedly at the time and this tune in particular really resonated with me, mostly due to the evocative vocal sample of Derrick May. It's edited together from this segment of Dancing In The Streets, a 1995 BBC documentary about the history of popular music:

"It's sad... In the 20th century, in the 1990s we have to still go the same bullshit route that other artists have to go to get acceptance. If it wasn't for the independents, if it wasn't for the small little cities, and the few little ghetto guys trying to make music it would have never happened. Some of these guys will never make a dime. Some of these guys will be poor and die alone. But in the process, they've been the true renegades. And the true rebels always walk alone anyway."

May is talking specifically about Detroit techno, but it's a sentiment that is true for all forms of underground music, including drum and bass (it also reminds me of this quote by DJ Shadow from the Scratch documentary about turntablism). Guardians Of Dalliance don't deviate massively from the original but really make you wait for the vocal and that gorgeous rhodes lick, which don't appear until mid-track. The remix gradually builds with swirling synths based on the original's live flute along with bass, saxophone and lush synthetic strings. When the rhodes and Cold Sweat break finally arrive following the May sample it's with an incredible emotional punch and makes for a remix that betters the original in my opinion.

While I've loved this tune for sixteen years, it was only a couple of weeks ago that I finally picked up a copy of it on 12" for the bargain price of £2 at the Record and Video Exchange on Berwick Street in London. The digital of the track is available at Beatport and you hear it below on Side A of that Past>Future tape (the darker Side B is here):

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