Sun. Dec. 05, 2021

Abstract Truth – We Had A Thing (Remix)

Classics: Abstract Truth – We Had A Thing (Matty’s Body And Soul Remix) (Streetwave Music)

We had a thing. For sure we had, and most likely still have in regards to this gem nearly 20 years after its release. And how could it ever be different in front of such a beautiful production. Mind you, Monique Bingham was on her way to build up the reputation that is hers nowadays. Singing in this unique style which has become her landmark along with time. Delivering the follow-up to Abstract Truth‘s 1996 released ‘Get Another Plan’ on François K‘s Streetwave label.

Back a the time, there was a breath of live musicianship in the NYC House scene. With Jay Denes‘s Naked Music soon after givin’ it a brilliant demonstration. But also François K, Joe Claussell and Danny Krivit heavily supporting live acts at their Body & Soul weekly party.

In charge of the remix duties, Matthias Heilbronn delivered one of his best reworks ever. Remaining true to the original jazzy spirit of ‘We Had A Thing’. And leavin’ the necessary space to both Robert Dana Vlcek on sax, Robert Hassan Best on trumpet and Vicent Chancey on French horn to spice the things up.

I (just) hope we had more from Abstract Truth. As we really had a thing with this band which also featured Jephté Guillaume, Ravi Best, Peter Mark and Guy Daniels.

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Abstract Truth saw the light back in the mid 90’s in NYC. At a time when a whole bunch of local Acid Jazz musicians came to flirt with House Music. The band comprised Dana Vlcek, Ravi Best, and Vincent Chauncey. But also Jephté Guillaume, Guy Daniels, and Pete Mark around singer Monique Bingham.

Signed on François K‘s Streetwave label, they released two remarkable singles. The first – ‘Get Another Plan’ (the title track from their album of the likes) – back in 1996 with mixing and additional production work by the likes of François K and Eric Kupper. The second – ‘We Had A Thing’ – 2 years after – with remixes courtesy of Matthias Heilbronn and Jay Denes.

Monique Bingham has delivered some of the most poignant soulful Jazz-infused House Music gems of the past 20 years…
Her career began with Acid Jazz band Abstract Truth in 1995 at François K‘s Axis studios. The first single, ‘Get Another Plan’, received international critical acclaim. Gilles Peterson eventually pickin’ it up for his UK imprint, Talkin’ Loud, the year after.
Its follow up, ‘We Had A Thing’, which she penned and performed, is another indisputable Soulful Jazz House classic. A gem that owes a lot to Matthias Heilbronn’s infectious remixing work.

Once injected into the veins of the underground, Ms. Bingham’s penchant for painstakingly crafted lyrics put her in a class by herself. In addition to her work with Abstract Truth she went on to solo performances with Blue Six. But also Sir Piers (cf. ‘American In Chelsea’), Studio Apartment and Liquid People.
She has also worked with some of the House scene’s most respected DJ’s/producers… Quentin Harris (cf. ‘Poor People’), Kerri Chandler, and Ralf GUM. Her writing skills brought her to the attention of Jellybean Benitez. The latter signing her to his NYC publishing house in 2008.
In 2009 and 2010 she released songs with Karizma and Osunlade. Then with Phil Asher and Bah Samba.

In 2011, Monique completed her first self-produced single, ‘You.Me.World’. A song which she released on her own record label, Bigga Sounds. That same year also saw her coming for the first time to South Africa. There she performed at the 12th annual Capetown International Jazz Festival. Sharing a bill with luminaries such as Wayne Shorter and Earth, Wind & Fire! Subsequent tours throughout S.A., Botswana and Lesotho have confirmed her as one the country’s most respected underground artists.

Her 2012 collaboration with Ralf GUM, ‘Take Me To My Love’, turned into a runaway hit worldwide. It garnered 500,000 plus YouTube hits as of this writing. She also happened to be the first ever non-South African artist to perform live for a television audience of over 10 million viewers. This was at the 12th annual Metro FM Awards in 2013 where her song, ‘Pride’. A performance which helped DJ Pepsi snag the award for House Album of the year.

In 2014, Monique came to collaborate with one of the world’s greatest living Jazz legends, “Bra” Hugh Masakela. She therefore penned ‘With Her Hand’ along with Ralf GUM for his sophomore album, ‘In My City’. A song about about the late human rights icon Nelson Mandela passing in the presence of Winnie Mandela. The latest single release with Ralf GUM, ‘The Pap’, received international critical acclaim too. And it reinforced her love of and contribution to South Africa’s explosive House Music scene.

Monique celerated her 2 decades in the recording industry back in 2015 with the release of ‘Best Of Last’. An antholgy featuring a host of classic and rare tracks as well as new music. From ‘Deep In The Bottom (Of Africa)’ with Black Coffee. To ‘Gets You Off’ with remix courtesy of Rocco. And also Chymamusique‘s reinterpretation of ‘Bloody Lucky’ to name a few.

She also brought her contribution to Louie Vega‘s album, ‘Starring XXVIII’ with the memorable ‘Elevator’. Not to mention Mobi Dixon‘s ‘Live The Music’ album with ‘Mixed Up Chick’.

Monique Bingham remains one of the most interesting and enduring artists the New York City underground has ever produced. “It’s weird. After 20 years of making music and being on the road, I almost feel like I’m just getting started. I have so much more to say and in some ways I’m more excited now than I was back in ’95. The future is wide open.” she says…

– Germany native Matthias Heilbronn pretty much followed the example of long time friend François K. This while relocating to New York at an early age….
Heilbronn, a man whose name is synonymous with some of the best pieces of music one may think of in the history of House Music, along with James Preston. Be it a production like ‘Love and Understanding’ as Too Deep. But also ‘Keep On Moving’ as The II Deep Allstars or ‘That Girl’ under his own name. Not to mention remixes. From Abstract Truth‘s ‘We Had A Thing’ to Big Muff‘s ‘My Funny Valentine’ along with François K. This in addition to Chichi Peralta‘s ‘Un Dia Mas’ and Chaka Khan & Mary J Blidge‘s ‘Disrespectful’ to name but a very few.

Heilbronn and Preston eventually reappeared as The II Deep Allstars back in 2001. Successively with ‘Keep Moving’ and a cover version of Eden Ahbez‘s classic ‘Nature Boy’…

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