Current Top 10

I can’t be bothered sticking to a monthly top ten chart with any sort of consistency so let’s just call this the “Current Top 10” and be done with it.

1. Lerosa – “Rusitcales” (Further)
Taken from his debut cassette-only album  Dual Nature this track is a refreshing listen with an ambient-electronic footing. Here is my full review of this album on LWE.

2. Scott Ferguson – “In The Dales”
Anytime you can find good music for free it deserves to be talked about. This is a deep house track (heavy on the percussion) from Ferguson’s digital free download that was on offer from ISM as a Xmas present. Get it while supplies last.

3. Numbercult – “Tokyo Farhenheit” (Numbercult)
Another freebie for those on the digital tip from this Scottish label, but don’t forget to support their vinyl when Numbercult 2.4 gets a release. Intricate moody techno done sublimely well. Show these guys some love.

4. Andy Vaz – “The Y Theme” (Yore)
“What are we doing this for?” a voice asks on this track as it starts in deep house territory and evolves with jutting stabs, stuttering bongos and acidic gurgling. It answers it’s own question with: “the music.”

5. Reggie Dokes – “Yellow Toe” (Royal Oak)
Many of us know Reggie Dokes but how many of us actually understand him? The man runs in the same circles as the more popular deep house cats, but his material is always cut of its own cloth and stands out for taking chances with jazz modality and atypical melody progression.

6. Mark E – “Gunstone” (Endless Flight)
Elegant IDM posing as slow burner house. Gorgeously simple melody and groove with a bass line that talks backwards.

7. The Reminder – “Coffee First” (Etiku)
A title I completely agree with. Techno music done with heavily effected delay/reverb techniques making this a subtle monster waiting to be unleashed. A great return for this St. Petersburg, Russia-based label and French artist who goes under the name Mush, both of which had a quiet 2009 (Discogs says this came out in 2008 but I have a feeling the submission was done in anticipation of the release).

8. Big Strick – Black Talk (FXHE)
So I bought this along with a few other records direct from the label and what do you know, no charge for shipping on orders over $20 (US destined) and AOS sends a free ice-cube tray. Helluva nice guy. Oh and this track is amazing. Should have made my top 30 for 2009, but I slept on it.

9. Sensual Beings – Detached Feelings (Future Times)
Just started digging into this US label and got rewarded with this vibes, synth and piano led house track done in the spirit of early Chicago producers but with its own rich musical character.

10. Ike – Free To Fly (Philpot)
While the rest of this 12″ freely features classic samples to boost their dance floor impact its done in a fairly respectful way. This one focus more on developing an emotive strings and synth-led melody before unleashing a vocal sample and upright jazz bass line run to keep it close to the EP’s overarching theme.

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The Oliverwho Factory interview


The Detroit-based group The Oliverwho Factory (they go simply by the names Darryl and Shone) is a bit of a mystery. With a scant 10 releases under their belt since they premiered on their own Madd Chaise Inc imprint in 2003, they have created a name for themselves that is rarely heard but when it is, it’s uttered in a reverent tone. Their sound is one that doesn’t fit easily into a box; its raw and electrifying blend of soulful house and jackin’ techno has likely made them hard to market out of the gate. Which was a problem for Darryl’s previous incarnation on a major label under the name Oliver Who?, a deal that only yielded one album that focused on a range of R&B styles. That experience may be why The Oliverwho Factory are reluctant to enter into the spotlight. Whatever the reason, it’s only a matter of time before the world realizes what they’ve been missing. After sticking to small quantities of vinyl through the years they’ve made the jump to digital distribution with What People Play and saw their gorgeous slice of strut-your-stuff house “Together” featured in the mix on Tama Sumo’s recent Panorama Bar 02 mix CD, two events that will surely get them more of the exposure they deserve. In a rare interview with Energy Flash they shed some light on their beginnings, their inspirations and possible customer appreciation day next year.

Q: How did the Oliverwho Factory and Madd Chaise become a reality? Are the two synonymous, in other words was Madd Chaise created as an outlet for just your own productions?
A: We love Techno and House music! The thing that we noticed was that there wasn’t a whole lot of music that had those combined elements. Vocals were not really the thing to do with certain styles or arrangements. We wanted to change that! Oliver started creating sounds and placing them up on the now defunct Barrie at Rubadub took notice of the music and contacted us. Things started to grow from there. Madd Chaise was established in order to make us a legitimate company :-).

Q: Where did the names for the group and label originate?
A: Oliverwho Factory originated from the artist previously known as Oliverwho? (LOL) He was an experimental artist that had signed with Zoo/BMG. Unfortunately at that time Oliverwho? was too complex cause he could play all types of music from rock to, jazz to pop, therefore the label really didn’t know how to categorize/market him. …not R&B enough and not Rock enough. Interestingly enough that type of labeling or lack of label still follows us today which has defined who we are. The “Factory” came into play when “Shonie C” arrived. Just like a factory has many different components to make a “product,” she brings in the other elements of sounds to complete the whole package.

Madd Chaise not to be confused with the other MADD. It is just another part of the obscurity. If things were too easily identified some of the excitement is lost. The Extra D is for emphasis; some people use the word ‘mad’ to describe the term “crazy.” Chaise pronounced, “chase,” is just that. “It’s a mad chase in this crazy world…” People are always chasing something riches, notoriety, their dreams…etc.

Q: Are your two the sole members of the Oliverwho Factory? And if so what are both of your roles in the production of the music?
A: Yes. Oliverwho plays all instruments, writes and produces. Shonie (performs) vocals, writes and produces.

Q: How long have you both been involved in music and in what capacity before starting the Oliverwho Factory?
A: Forever! Oliver involved since around six is when he started playing drums. 1986-Spectrum Records released Oliverwho?’s “Fairytales.” 1992-Shaka Who Who Zoo/BMI, 1995- toured with Aaliyah on her European tour, Blackground Records -keyboards. Currently dance music…

Around eight Shonie began playing the piano. Wrote first song “Macaroni & Cheese,” still shopping that one. LOL. Continued to be active in all types of music from Opera competitions in high school, placed 2nd in Michigan choral vocal association first record, exciting times! Went on to sing here and there. Met up with Oliverwho and still making music.

Q: Your tracks range from deep and soulful to tough and experimental while always keeping a jazz or funk element of musicality present in the productions. What types of artists or experiences have helped shape your sound?
A: Pat Metheny, David Bowie, Loose Ends, Lenny Kravitz, Joyce Sims, the Police, B52’s, Parliment and many, many more. Experiences: Dancing in a club back in the day that was actually warehouse known as “The Warehouse.” And how we love the era of the 80’s!

Q: Your tracks also have a raw and under produced feel, is that a factor of the equipment or recording technique/approach you take?
A: We really like the feel. Our first song had a dirty, grindy, feeling that gave our music an old school sound. It became our signature we decided to stick with that identifying yet odd mood, making tweaks here and there.

Q: Coming from Detroit what artists from the city have been the biggest influence on you and why?
A: Stevie Wonder what more can one say! Pure genius. George Clinton he was one of the most theatrical and obscure as obscure can be. Pure elements of funk and soul! Carl Craig very inquisitive and an interesting person, we really appreciate the fact that he is that way in regards to his music as well. He takes risks and continuously steps outside the box! Kevin Saunderson-not afraid to have a good time nor use vocals. His interaction with his supporters fantastic. Stacey Pullen-his playing is bananas he played our J’David remix over in Europe, we’ve been supporting him ever since. Of course Rick Wilhite- he played our very first release “U Don’t Know, when everyone else said it sounded “muddy” (was meant to sound that way) thanks Rick! The pioneers of this whole dance phenomenon they know they are, without them putting Detroit on the map, it would have been difficult for newer producers to make some noise.

Q: How do you see yourself fitting into the Detroit techno and house scene? Are you tight with the more established and well-known artists or are off doing your own thing?
A: We support both scenes, for our music is greatly influenced by both. When you say tight, like homies (Lol)? We are cordial with everyone, no tension at least that we know of. We do share some interests with C2 and Monty Luke. They are a couple of nice guys.

Q: Would you say your music (songs like “We Are”, “Solitaire” or “Set Me Free”) is message driven? And if so what are some of those messages (vocals or not)?

A: Yep-Let’s take “We Are,” Did you know that there is only a 4% difference in the DNA that we as humans have? But yet so many people want to separate and divide when we are all so alike…

Q: You keep a low profile while producing some of the most exciting and creatively inspired dance music. The fact you have only been pressing a few hundred copies of releases and were previously vinyl only helped keep you obscured, was that part of an original plan to keep the label underground?
A: THANKS, Yes. Don’t really like a lot of attention, just appreciation :o) however we may have a customer appreciation day or two in 2010…Underground is just where we feel most comfortable.

Q: How did the decision come about to start releasing digitally via What People Play? Will you continue to release vinyl for future projects?
A: An opportunity was presented to us to release some music digitally and we like the idea of doing this so we went full speed ahead! Of course we will, there is nothing that compares to having vinyl pressed up the look, the smell, and feel. We grew in that era and we can’t abandon it completely!

Q: With a track (“Together”) being featured on Tama Sumo’s recent Panorama Bar mix CD you will surely see more attention. Are you planning on using that as a springboard to gain more momentum?
A: Tama Sumo such a class act! Top notch DJ and all round nice person. The project has a collection of wonderful tracks and artists that is sure to make some noise!! So if we are noticed then that is an added benefit, but we are honored just to be a part of this compilation.

Q: What will your Alternative Soul division sound like and when can we expect to see the first release?
A: Old contemporary Classic with a New Wave.

Q: What will 2010 see from both the Oliverwho Factory and Madd Chaise release-wise?
A: More heart and soul!

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The cult of numbercult


The mysterious numbercult label appeared earlier this year with a defining motto echoed in ever decreasing quantities of the techno spectrum: Digital downloads have no material value. Buy vinyl. Yet their approach is much more than a simple reactionary stance to digital music’s popularity growth, it’s a celebration of vinyl’s cultural value, its distinct and lasting tactile existence. The unknown members behind the label also form a collective of artists using numbercult as “…a platform for music production, DJing, generative animation and design; all wrapped around a love of vinyl. We like the idea of using a fluid structure with a collective, bringing together like-minded people in the spirit of collaboration under a single banner,” says representative CB. Little is known about who make up this collective as they prefer to let their combined efforts do the talking and shape an overarching identity. Strongly reminiscent of the Basic Channel or UR beginnings but even more so since these releases are simply defined as released by numbercult.

The Glasgow based label’s releases are limited to runs of 350 copies with the objective to get vinyl in the hands of those truly believe in the format. But as devoutly committed as they are to vinyl they have not neglected those that may not be able to get their hands on them, digitizing them and releasing for free under a creative commons license on bandcamp. So what do they sound like? Brilliantly executed techno with a nod to Detroit and true bang up minimalism. numbercult 1’s “Landlines” is one of my favorites, with a slow progression of rolling percussion, fizzy effects and delayed chord stabs that create a growing tidal pulse that fits nicely against tense melodic structuring. “Code Unknown” from numbercult 2.1 wields Rhythim is Rhythim type strings against frenzied bass line arpeggios and syncopated drum programming. “Skeptic” off of numbercult 2 starts off with dubstep-leaning percussion before jumping off into wobbly bleep and bass contortions and soaring synth led techno. And if the 2 mix compilations of unreleased music on their site are any indication there is plenty more next level sounds in the armory. Check out the current vinyl releases here in the meantime.

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Juju & Jordash Interview

Juju&Jordash pic

Juju & Jordash are giving dance music a good kick in the pants right now, plain and simple. They aren’t alone, but they are perhaps the most exciting. Combining their countless years playing jazz and be-bop in bands and electronic production techniques they are creating thrilling new strains of house, techno, dub and jazz. They have an appreciation for older music eras but aren’t bound to those traditions-check out their Off Minor radio shows for evidence of this fact. This is readily apparent on their 2nd album, Juju & Jordash, which is due out on Dekmantel later this month. Tracks like “Jazzy Trance” and offer up a peak into an alternate universe where Ornette Coleman, Farley Jackmaster Funk and Ralf Hildenbeutel became the Traveling Wilburys. And on “Dirty Spikes” J&J go balls-to-wall italo combusition. But they also dial it back for reflective moments of murky piano, terse middle eastern motifs and shimmering cymbals as displayed on “Jugdish.” I caught up with the two of them to get their perspective on making Juju & Jordash and ended up talking movies, bacon and a bit of politics.

Q: Your bio states you met in Israel, but where are you both from and how did you end up there?
Juju: I was born in Haifa, Israel and my family still lives there.
Jordash: I was born in Columbus, Ohio. My folks moved to the holy land when I was 8.

Q: Are you Jewish and if so how do you feel about bacon? Does religion or politics ever enter into your music, and if so how is manifested?
Jordash: Haha…depends how it’s prepared! Of course, like all good jews I love bacon and shrimps.
Juju and I are usually pretty damn pissed off when it comes to Israeli politics so naturally it seeps into our music – anyway all music is political.In our live show it’s been playing a more overt role – especially if you know Hebrew.
Juju: Yeah, my birth certificate says Jewish, but if there is a God I can’t imagine he would be against bacon. Our most political song was Blue Plates (on Real Soon). That one had some sporadic anti occupation vocals, but not many got it cause it was pitched way low.

Q: Can you translate the vocals or describe your feelings on the occupation?
Jordash: My feelings are too overwhelming to describe in polite written words… They are best expressed by yelling obscenities in Hebrew followed by swallowing a Xanax or two… If your readership was Israeli I would gladly delve deeper into my opinions, but I don’t really feel that Americans/Europeans are necessarily the right people to address with my political ranting.
Juju: The vocals change spontaneously from show to show, because unfortunately every new day in the middle east brings a lot to be depressed, angry or at least confused about.

Q: How did you two begin collaborating on music? And what specifically led you to electronic dance music?
Jordash: We used to play jazz together… Juju played guitar, I was on the piano and together with our friend Ilya on double bass (who occasionally contributes to J & J projects) had sort of a hard-bop and free jazz trio. I was already involved in electronic music at the time, and juju was always into new sounds and experimentations, so I guess our collaborations naturally developed.

Q: You both live in Amsterdam now, when did you move and why? What do you like about living there? How has it impacted your approach to producing music?
Jordash: I moved here a few years ago. I just had to get the hell outta dodge! I always liked Amsterdam – sort of the complete opposite of Tel Aviv (for good and for bad). Amsterdam definitely gave me the peace of mind and seclusion I needed.
Juju: Amsterdam is a great city where everybody can have his own quiet corner if he wants – perfect for concentrating on making music. It’s nice to live close to many great record stores, most notably rush hour. A lot of dope parties around town as well.
Jordash: …and coffeeshops.

Q: If you could think of one defining element of your music what would it be?
Juju: Unpredictability

Q: You two stand out from most dance music getting produced today. Can you tell me where you see yourself fitting in (or not) and why?
Jordash: Hmmmmm…I think we kinda like to believe we don’t fit in cause we’re full of ourselves…lol…but actually we’ve been fitting in all along. A lot of ‘deep house’ people are very open-minded and know their music. What I’m getting at is that people who love funky music and not only house/techno music usually get us.
Juju: The first guys that gave us a break were people from the Detroit house scene like Reggie Dokes, Scott Ferguson and later Keith Worthy and Patrice Scott. But there is quite a big range of styles and tempo’s in our productions that cater to many people, from the heads to the techno dudes and cosmic beards.

Q: Who do you look up to in terms of music pioneers? And contemporary artists?
Juju: Pioneers: Thelonius Monk, Herbie Hancock, Sun Ra, Larry Heard, Juan Atkins, Scientist
Contemporary: Theo Parrish, Reggie Dokes, Legowelt
Jordash: The list is almost as long as the number of records I’ve ever bought! If I had a gun to my head I would name Eric Dolphy, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Lee Perry, Cabaret Voltaire, etc… etc… etc… and all of juju’s names as well…lol.

Q: How do you think the new album differs from your first album, Major Mishap? Was there a different approach or concept taken?
Jordash: Major Mishap had a lot more jazz in it. We were really into writing scores and working with horn/sax players at the time. Besides that, the approach was similar.

Q: Major Mishap seemed to be a fairly slept on album, are you getting more attention with the Juju & Jordash album and recent 12″ releases? And if so why do you think that is?
Juju: I think the main reason is that it was only released on mp3’s. We still plan to release some of those tracks later on Vinyl or at least CD. Hopefully people will go back to check that out after the current album.
Jordash: Well in general things have been picking up gradually since our first release – we don’t expect our music to ever blow up suddenly – we’re in it for the long haul. Regarding Major Mishap — I think it was hard for us to promote an mp3-only release — it just didn’t seem that real. We love the tracks but it just felt weird pushing it too much.

Q: You are both obviously highly musically inclined. How much of what was played live was by you guys? And which instruments do you both play on the album?
Juju: We play keyboards, synths, some guitars and percussion. I like to think of the mixing desk as another musical instrument. Some horns and live drums were played by musician friends. No samples.

Q: Your tracks sometimes have an improvisational feel. Do your final recordings come out of jam sessions or is there a fair amount of composition prior and editing of the tracks?
Jordash: Depends… sometimes we have a specific parts we write out for guest musicians to play. Other times we just jam. Really depends.
Juju: Different tracks call for different methods. But yeah we do like late night jamming in the studio a lot, and stuff we can use almost always comes out of that.

Q: There seems to be a large amount of jazz, dub and experimentalism going on within the album without having it subscribe wholesale to any one of those genres. Can you describe how those musical style influences your approach to production?
Juju: Well as Model 500 said: jazz is the teacher. That’s why we started to play instruments in the first place and it influences a lot of the structure and interplay between the elements in our music. Jazz is all about experimenting, not only with different notes and scales in your solo but also with sounds and textures. Production-wise we are heavily influenced by classic dub and we use a lot of outboard gear from that era (70’s).
Jordash: In general we try to keep a completely open mind in the studio. We try not to think too much about it – and just do what sounds cool.

Q: The track titles you choose are sometimes humorous and playful
(“Jazzy Trance”, “Used to Hate Fusion”). Is that a strong influence on your approach to music?
Jordash: Man…the final titles are always edited down. We should start using the original file names like ‘poopymountains13’ and ‘heya heya tbizla supreme 7b’
Juju: Naming is a fun part…by the time we get to do that (usually at the very end ) we often end up with something that makes us smile.

Q: “Deep Blue Meanies” has that breakdown which is quite psychedelic, was the track named after the Yellow Submarine characters or the potent mushrooms?
Jordash: “Deep Blue Meanies” is actually from the movie Vanishing Point (which the DJ character probably borrowed from the Yellow Submarine) – referring to cops. We started the track a day after I saw it. Only later we thought of the shroom connotation – kinda fitting!

Q: Since you guys are into films, have you actually written scores for any or is it more of an influence that seeps into your music?
Juju: We’ve been asked that a lot. We have scores and soundscapes for a few imaginary feature films, but haven’t done the real deal yet. we’re definitely into doing that though, as soon as the right opportunity arises.
Jordash: I’ve done scores for a few short films.

Q: And if you were to re-score a movie of your choice what would it be and why?
Jordash: I think it would be fun to take an old Frank Capra feel-good movie and replace the soundtrack with brooding dark themes- adding some post modern angst to that mofo!
Juju: Most of my favorite films already have great soundtracks, so maybe some silent film classic like Woman in the Moon.

Q: Favorite film soundtrack?
Juju: Amongst hundreds others… Naked Lunch, Sorcerer, Mulholland Drive
Jordash: From the top of my head….Chinatown, Bladerunner, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Do The Right Thing, the Lone Wolf and Cub films.

Q: Juju, you played guitar on Walter Jones latest release and he contributed drum programming on the album. Can you tell me how you made that connection and do you ever see further collaborations
Juju: Walter is a very talented producer who I know for at least 7 years now. I got to know him through Jordash who knew him even before (they remixed each other’s tracks way back). In 2005 the three of us collaborated on an 12″ for Cisco records Japan, and we’ve sent each other since musical ideas. When I heard the first version of the track Living Without Your Love” I thought it was dope, and just offered to drop some guitars on it that I heard in my mind. Luckily Walter liked it and mixed it well in, and it ended on the DFA EP. Do expect some more joint productions of the three of us in the not to far future…the wheels are already in motion.

Q: Are there any other artists who you both would like to collaborate with?
Jordash: all of our friends at once! But seriously the list would be too long… Juju wouldn’t mind a date with Sade if that’s considered a collaboration.

Q: What’s on your tech rider? And how often do you play live and what does that look like?
Juju: we currently play live with 2 synths/keyboards, guitar/guitar synth, 2 microphones for vocals, a melodica, 2 laptops, some light percussion, a 16 channel mixer on stage and some outboard effects. Our next live shows are at the Dekmantel showcase during the ADE in October and in November at the Panorama Bar as part of the Aesthetic Audio/Sistrum night. But the more the merrier.

Q: What do you guys like to do outside of music?
Juju: Chillexing.
Jordash: Sweet sweet lovin’.

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Panorama Bar 02 – Pt. 1 – Basic Soul Unit/Lerosa

It’s hard to tell if Tama Sumo’s upcoming Panorama Bar mix CD will follow strongly in the footsteps of Cassy. Judging by the preview 12″ featuring 2 tracks off the mix it may not live up to the bar set by its predecessor. Basic Soul Unit build off a Larry Heard-esque bassline, laying down a complimentary synth melody and soaring strings to build a decent house track. But for some reason it all seems rote and derivative, never going beyond influences and therefore failing to even achieve anything more than what will likely be a footnote in the ’09 house yearbook. Lerosa’s contribution is “Plesso” and is the type of Spartan deep house genre shifter that he’s been getting known for the last few years. He admits to shaping this on the “eerie atmospheres” tip and actually namechecks Stasis which I found intriguing. This is certainly a rhythm and mood track and really achieves an atmosphere of cinematic quality while maintaining complex rhythm changes. And although there’s not as much melodic structuring per se the drunken drum breaks, synth slivers and haunting choral harmonies that weave in and out do show touches of Pickton’s FromTheOldToTheNew album. With a Pt. 2 planned soon we’ll see if the next ingredients Sumo has to offer will lead to a final product that can cut the mustard.

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Common Satellite Mix

Things have been quiet around these parts lately, mainly due to a busy summer and writing for Little White Earbuds. But that’s all about to change. I’ve got some pieces looming on the horizon and mixes in the pipeline that are bursting to be heard. So without further ado, first mix is up on Sound Cloud. Full tracklist below, plenty of newer house and techno and a few classics slipped in there that really end up shinning bright.

Demetrio Giannice – Whatididwithmikeswavetoneno5 – Third Ear Mix
Theo Parrish – Space Station
Patrice Scott – Nuonce
Kai Alce – Ooohhh! – Dubbyman Remix
John Daly – Freak Out or Get Out
The Mole People – Break Night
Mike Dehnart – Umlaut 2 – Levon Vincent NY Basement Mix
Marcus Mixx – Without Makeup – Ron Hardy Mix
L’il Louis – I Called U (The Story Continues)
Kingpin Cartel – Float
Ican – Make It Hot
Dan Curtin – Give
Titonton Duvante – Reverse Cowboy Part 1
DJ Q – Cheat
Chez Damier – Can U Feel It – MK Dub
Shed – Well Done – 033472 Edit

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In The Heat Of The Night Mix

Amid the oppressive heat wave and probably when temperatures hit their peak here in Seattle, I got inspired to throw down a slow burn mix to match the weather’s onslaught. It’s hardly my best technical effort but if you felt how hot (103 F) it was in my dj room you might have some compassion for the bumps found within. What you will find is some classic and newer jazzfunk, disco, house, mid-tempo whathaveu that sounds mighty nice for a summer evening soundtrack.

in the heat of the night mix

Roy Ayers – Everybody Loves
The Sunshine Sunburst Band – Everyday
Frankie Valentine – Zumbi (Isoul8 mix)
Sunshine Jones – Anywhere You Are
Tamiko Jones – Can’t Live Without Your Love
Mach – On and On
Bombers – Don’t Stop the Music
Gaz Nevada – Secret Agent Man (Morgan Geist Sleeping on the Moon edit)
Logic System – Clash Brian Briggs – Aeo (pts 1 & 2)
Walter Jones – I’ll Keep on loving you
Ame – Tonight dub version
Scott Ferguson – I’m in luv with you feat. Phillip J. Hale
IMPS – Almost Live But Definitely Plugged (Move D remix)
Tony Lionni – Protection

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