First Listen: Tortured Soul – U Live 2 Far Away (Ron Trent Remix) (TSTC Music)
As far as one might remember, Tortured Soul never did music for the sake of makin’ noise. They carefully elaborate their compositions which they fill with positive messages. ‘U Live 2 Far Away’ could look like a complaint at first sight. But it’s not. It’s more of an assessment which lead singer John Christian Urich turns into a proposition to move together. Then ultimately start a family…
On the heels of a first pack of remixes, Chicago wizard Ron Trent opens the festivities on the Vol. 2. Somehow bringin’ the song to another level. And, in the meantime, the band to some unexpected mood.
Delicacy is most likely the first word coming to mind when listening to his rework of ‘U Live 2 Far Away’. Givin’ it a deep and atmospheric allure over a typical syncopated rhythm pattern. Meanwhile playing along with various elements such as a Spanish guitar parts. But also fragments of electro vocoderized vocals.
An outstanding meeting to say the least…
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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.