Tennerz – Tortured Soul – Makin’ Me Better (Lea’s World Mix) (TSTC Music)
To many aspects, I suppose we can tell Tortured Soul pretty well carry their name. And first and foremost because of their relentless inclination to redefine their art. To some, they might be seen as deviants if not barbarians. And I’m most likely thinking of the self-proclaimed purists… The ones who, per definition, see each move as an attempt (a torture) to the art / discipline.
It is to say how, following such a state of mind, evolution as such would be out of the vocabulary. Therefore meaning we would still be listening to the same thing on and on…
‘Makin’ Me Better’ pretty much fits to Tortured Soul too. A threesome (although they came thru different line-ups) who never ceased redefining themselves. Meanwhile, bringing their repertoire to the next level along with time. Acid Jazz back at their debut in the early 2000’s. Soulful House, Soul Dance… Whatever you call their music, they’ve always displayed a rare sense of elegance, from a track to another. Be it its original version or a remix.
‘Makin’ Me Better’, the follow-up to their 2015 released ‘Hot For Your Love’ album, makes no exception. It carries the distinctive TS signature sound. From their typical baritone to falsetto vocal variations. To their obvious inclination for Dance vibes melted with jazzy arrangements. Canadian producer Lea bringing it an infectious groovy feel over a rounded bass-driven rhyhtm pattern enlightened with lush keys. Therefore enhancing its deepness in the meantime.
Makin’ Me (feel) Better… Sure thing! But how about you? Let us know about your feelings…
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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’.
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.