Lost but not least: Bent – Magic Love (Ashley Beedle’s Black Magic Vocal Mix) (Sport)
‘Magic Love’ is most likely what I always felt about Britain and its music scene. From The Rolling Stones when I was a teen to David Bowie. Then Real Thing, Light Of The World and Five Star. With Loose Ends, Incognito and Soul II Soul adding their names to the list. Themselves soon after followed by Omar, Lisa Stansfield, the Brand New Heavies and the Young Disciples. And I could pretty much add Reel People, then RSL and Smoove and Turrell. And I still would be incomplete as what about Courtney Pine for instance or Los Charly’s Orchestra?!?
‘Magic Love’ is most likely what I always felt when clubbing in London and listening to the British radios when I happened to be livin’ in the UK. And I’m not even talkin’ about record shopping in Soho. This being how I came to cross the path of Ashley Beedle who brought me to top quality tunes by the time he was working as a salesman at London’s famous Black Market. A man who’s touched about everything with a rare elegance. From rave sounds to Disco, House and EDM with X-Press 2, even though his penchant is for Black Music.
Among his most vibrant reworks, this remix of ‘Magic Love’ he did back in 2002 for Nottingham-based Trip Hop/Leftield pair Nail Tolliday and Simon Mills along with singer Katty Heath, better known as Bent. Pretty much keepin’ the basic ingredients which gave its original version a mesmerizing Electronica / Soft Rock symphonic feel. If not the one of Adrian Gurvitz‘s ‘The Way I Feel’ which Bent cleverly sampled here as a matter of fact. Although bringin’ the whole to a brand new dimension while givin’ it an irresistible House twist. On the footsteps of the memorable ‘Always’ which he’d done for them a few months before…
Bent saw the light in Nottingham during the last days of the Second Millennium. This from the reunion between Neil ‘Nail’ Tolliday and Simon Mills. With friend and vocalist Katty Heath standing as an occasional third member. Thus featuring on a few of their albums and havin’ toured very frequently with the live group.
As a matter of fact, it’s kinda hard labelling Bent. And this more than Portishead for instance. Firstly because the lines happen to be so thin at times from a genre to another. Like for instance between Electronica and Trip Hop, when not Cinematic or Leftfield. But also because Bent‘s music pretty much evolved from a release to another.
Bent first delivered a single – ‘I Love My Man’ – back in 1999 on Sunday Best Recordings. A Latin Jazz smoothie somehow reminding of Matt Bianco although with more of a Balearic approach. This before releasing their debut-album – ‘Programmed To Love’ – the year after on their own Sport label. An effort that spanned the classic ‘Swollen’ and the memorable ‘Always’. Itself remembered for its sample of Norrie Paramor and His Orchestra‘s 1962 ‘Always In My Heart’ and its remix courtesy of Ashley Beedle.
Its follow-up -‘Downloaded For Love’ – came up in 2001. Itself followed by ‘The Everlasting Blink’ two years later. An effort which featured ‘Magic Love’. The latter most likely remembered for another firing remixing work by the likes of Ashley Beedle.
‘Ariels’, Bent‘s third album, saw the light in October 2004. Somehow marking a change with the inclusion of a bigger proportion of acoustic instruments. And, in the meantime, the band’s penchant for the use of samples left aside.
‘Intercept!’, their last studio album to date, hit the streets in 2006. ‘A ‘Best Of Bent’ album, including 7 new compositions, followed three years after. With ‘From the Vaults: 1998 – 2006’ completing the list in 2013, itself featuring 34 previously unreleased songs.