Classics: Tortured Soul – Fall In Love (live) (Central Park Recordings)
Tortured Soul saw the light at a period – the beginning of the 2000’s – which marked the return to live musicianship in the production. As a matter of fact, they would establish themselves as the premier live Dance act of their generation. Delivering ‘I Might Do Something Wrong’ which started everything for them. But also ‘How’s Your Life’ with remixing work courtesy of Alix Alvarez. Not to mention the memorable ‘Fall In Love’, co-produced with (and featuring) DJ Spinna.
Standing as one of their biggest classics ever, ‘Fall In Love’ remains simply timeless. Meanwhile, the threesome deliver another lesson of superior musicianship in their live interpretation of it. Only armed with drums, a bass and a keyboard. Therefore, the proper of true talents, don’t you think?
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– Tortured Soul‘s origins date back to 2001. Back then, John-Cristian Urich was steering Cooly’s Hot Box, an Acid Jazz outfit which also featured Soul vocalist Angela Johnson. After putting Cooly’s Hot Box on hiatus, Urich composed ‘Might Do Something Wrong. NYC Deep House label Central Park Recordings picked it up, and Tortured Soul was born.
Thanks to the cool laidback mix courtesy of Osunlade, the song quickly became an underground staple at the iconic Club Shelter. It therefore helped jumpstart the development of a full-length disc generating more soulful House. With the 12-inch single in heavy rotation in the New York club circuit, Urich went into overtime to restructure the band’s line-up. The session players on ‘Might Do Something Wrong’ were bassist Jason “JKriv” Kriveloff and keyboardist Ethan White. With both of them being Urich‘s bandmates in the rhythm section of NYC Acid Jazz band Topaz. Together, the new trio forged a new cool sound by blending the freewheeling New York house and classic Disco beats with elements of Hip-Hop, Salsa and Roy Ayers-styled Jazz-fusion.
A major part of the band’s DNA, the Acid Jazz is reminiscent of Jamiroquai‘s Funk. But in the meantime, it’s deeply saturated in the contemporary freshness of House Music purveyors. As many people such as Kenny Dope, Joey Negro or DJ Spinna, to name but a few. Gilles Peterson eventually dubbing TS as “the future of House Music…”
From the very start, Urich secured himself as a power player. Composing the lion’s share of material. Delivering thick four-on-the-floor beats. And using a smart vocal showcase fusing a Maxwell-styled falsetto with Justin Timberlake-tinted lower register. But his bandmates were just as essential. With White‘s killer vibes on the Wurlitzer on onse side. And Kriveloff‘s booty-shaking bass on the other to complete the whole.
‘Might Do Something Wrong’ opened the path to an impressive list of follow-ups including Alix Alvarez‘s mix of ‘How’s Your Life’ and the romantic Dance-Pop of ‘Fall In Love’ featuring DJ Spinna.
Each of the singles impressed the bevy of the world’s dance halls, allowing the band to tour heavily with appearances at clubs and festivals across the US. With 2006’s ‘Introducing Tortured Soul’, the band was able to piece together their first album. They used using all their earlier singles while also incorporating a few new studio additions. The follow-up album, 2009’s ‘Did You Miss Me’, pushed the vibe forward. Cuts such as ‘Home To You’, ‘In My Fantasy’ and ‘Your Dream Is My Dream’ were all given the 12″ and 7″ singles’ treatment.
Kriveloff departed the group to focus on his new record label back in 2010. He got replaced by Jordan Scanella. Then on Mar. 03, 2015, the news of Ethan White‘s passing at the age of 39 left us speechless. Isamu Mcgregor taking on where the latter left. TS soon after releasing their last album to date – ‘Hot For Your Love Tonite’ – led by the memorable ‘I’ll Be There For You’.
From then, they eventually teamed up with Black Coffee (‘I Know What’s On Your Mind’). And also with Mi Casa on ‘Come A Little Closer’ (from their 2015 ‘Home Sweet Home’ album). Blessing us more recently with ‘Makin’ Me Better’ as retouched by Leanna Yip. Then ‘U Live 2 Far Away’ with remixing work courtesy of Ron Trent.
Before DJ’s evolved into global superstars, musicians carried the baton. Although Tortured Soul‘s intend has never been to rewrite the logic of today’s EDM, they are living proof that the very same music can be freed from the DJ booth.
– A quick look at Spinna‘s biography on Wikipedia unfortunately shows a blatant lack of knowledge by the likes of its writer. The latter rating him as a Hip-Hop producer from Brooklyn. Obviously neglecting by that our brother’s impressive contribution to other genres such as R&B and/or House Music…
Just like Kenny Dope, Spinna has an impressive Hip-Hop background. But he’s first and foremost a New Yorker. Meaning by that that he kept an ear open to everything. And I would tend to think everything as long as it was groovy. This explaining why and how he came to embrace different genres, as a producer but also a remixer. With his impressive legacy pretty much speakin’ for itself as a matter of fact.
The Hip-Hop crowd will most likely remember him for his contribution as a member of The Jigmastas. If not for his remix of ‘Stakes Is High’ for De La Soulby the seond half of the 90’s. Meanwhile those who happen to have both their feet into House Music should have Shaun Escoffery‘s 2001 ‘Days Like This’ first comin’ to their mind while thinkin’ of him.
To be honest, I’ve always found kinda difficult to put a name on Spinna‘s works, unless speakin’ of a classy and updated version of R&B or Soul Music with a groove if not Dance Music edge. Unsurprisingly, he gave an infectious Hip-Hop feel to Cooly’s Hot Box‘s ‘Make Me Happy’ that same year. Then he came to share the bill with Tortured Soul on the classic ‘Fall In Love’ back in 2002.
2003 seeing him givin’ a smooth swingin’ feel to Donnie‘s ‘memorable ‘Cloud 9’, but also reworking ‘You’ for Soulstation on West End Records. With Goapele‘s ‘Closer’, Tamia‘s ‘Still’ and Elements Of Life‘s ‘Better Day’ standing as his 2004’s highlights in addition to Alison Crockett‘s ‘Crossroads’.
Another year on and Spinna would cross the path of Roy Ayers while retouching ‘Holiday’. This before doin’ the same two years later on ‘Electric Vibes’. A masterpiece courtesy of Down To The Bone featuring Roy Ayers. Meanwhile, he would get back with Tortured Soul while remixing ‘Always In Heaven When I’m With You’ back in 2006. Then ‘Why’ in 2007 and ‘Dirty’ in 2013.
Launching his Wonderwax label back in 2003, he shared the bill with Rich Medina on the spoken words led ‘Reality’. Eventually producing the stellar ‘Unconditional Love” for Selan the year after. Then welcoming Gordon Chambers with ‘Never Fall In Love’ in 2007. And he also happened to craft the soothing ‘You Should Be Loving Me’ with Ovasoul7 in 2008. This before producing ‘In My Fantasy’ for Tortured Soul a few months later.
More recently, he infectiously boosted Neal Conway and Dana Weaver‘s ‘Fading Away’. But also ‘You Got This’ for Real Deep with the sultry Jaidene Veda and MdCL. Then we welcomed his rework of Hallex M featuring Darien‘s ‘Feeling’ as our Single Of The Week at the time. This in addition to LeMel Humes‘ ‘Ain’t Nobody Like You’ which received the same treatment from us a few weeks later. Not to mention The Foreign Exchange‘s ‘Body’ which got into our Top 10 back then.
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