Skip to content

Dream 2 Science

October 8, 2013

Me and Mrs D are having a bit of a break from the drizzly Pennines this week – we’ve swapped the stresses of work and attempting to move house for a long, lazy weekend in Marrakech.  This ain’t a travel blog, but I knew we’d come to the right place as soon as we arrived at the very lovely Riad Cocoon: we dumped our stuff, had a quick shower and sat down for a delicious Morrocan dinner accompanied by Rhythm and Sound‘s epic See Mi Yah album.

And relax…

I’d thought I might take a bit of time out from writing too, but it turns out a hammam and massage is a perfect opportunity to let the mind wander in forgotten directions.  I found myself drifting back to last year when I’d spotted the Rush Hour reissues of New York house classics and first heard the amazing Dream 2 Science mini album.  Right now I’m now sat next to the pool at Les Deux Tours with My Love Turns to Liquid dripping into my ears, hoping my soggy swimming shorts don’t wreck my laptop before we head for the airport and back to rainy Manchester…

Ben “Cozmo D” Cenac is probably best known for his pioneering 80s hip hop group Newcleus and their track Jam On Revenge (the Wiki Wiki song).  As this fascinating article on the history of the history of the Roland TB-303 says, they would be one of the first groups to put the legendary baseline synth to serious work on tracks like 1984’s Automan, years before it became the sound of Acid House.  The synth line that sounds like Rhythm Is A Dancer is what a 303 sounds like if you leave all the knobs alone – play it at about half speed and you get the Snap sample:

Not content with just being a funk, electro and hip hop legend (and handily for this blog), from the mid-80s Ben also got into house music.  Picking up this Fact Magazine interview from last year:

“Well, I had started out as a disco DJ and still spun it often (and still do today), so I was playing it as house developed out of it. It was really underground in NYC.  I didn’t really partake in that scene, I was deep into the hip-hop and freestyle scenes at the time, but I heard it and liked what I heard. I was a member of the world-renowned IDRC/RPBC record pool from ’85 on and got to hear it develop. By 1986 we started making house tracks, but had a hard time convincing record companies to go with it. I was told that house was ‘just a fad’ more than once.

You also wrote Sha-Lor’s ‘Im In Love’, which is a 1988 garage classic. How did this record come about? Was it popular at the time?

“Sha-Lor was a two-girl group that we had been producing as early as ’86 as an R&B act, but we could never get them on. I had actually written ‘I’m In Love’ for a different artist, but the girls begged me for it so I let them have it. This was the last track that I partnered with Chilly B for. This time I tried Jump Street Records where my friend and future music partner Gregg Fore was doing production. They loved it!  It didn’t do much at all here in the States but caught big fire in the UK, even landing me my first license with a major.”

When Jump Street records went bust in 1989, Gregg set up Fore records under which the majority of Ben’s house music output would be released (either directly through Fore or its 4 sub-labels 12th Avenue RecordsDeep EndDuck Tail Records and Power Move Records).

Gregg wasn’t just on the business side of things either – after hearing My Love Turns To Liquid (written by Ben, with his wife Yvette on vocals), he suggested they work together on a few more tracks for what would become the legendary Dream 2 Science EP. As well as helping with writing the tracks, Gregg would also provide the vocal for ‘Mystery Of Love’ and the piano solo on ‘Dream 2 Science’

Its great that records like this are getting re-issued for a wider audience – I’d probably not have heard about it otherwise. In fact if it wasn’t for labels like Rush Hour and International Deejay Gigolo re-releasing these New York classics I probably wouldn’t have started writing this blog.  It’s not just me that’s appreciated it either – as non-other than King Britt has posted in reply at the end of the Fact Magazine interview I quoted earlier:

Dream2Science was a very inspirational record to myself and Josh Wink, when starting to create our house sound in the early 90s.  Bravo for re-releasing and bringing back real emotional sounds.

From → Artists, Labels

2 Comments
  1. ‘My Love Turns To Liquid’ reminds me of Madonna’s Justify My Love for some reason…

    • Yeah, I get that. 1990 was the same year Vogue came out too – Terre Thaemlitz (DJ Sprinkles) is very much not a fan of the way she ripped off the New York club scene back then. The Wikipedia page on Justify my Love says it’s inspired by trip hop, but it’s probably closer to what was called ambient house in New York back then – some of the records I’ve written about would drift into that category

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: