Incognito - More Tales Remixed (2009)

Incognito
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Incognito's Tales from the Beach was one of the best albums, of any genre, to be released in 2008. On their first effort for the Ohio-based Heads Up label, Incognito delivered a seamless collection that used as its inspiration group mastermind Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick's childhood memories of hearing musicians play on the beach in Mauritius. The superb musicianship corralled by Maunick, including his core unit of vocalists (Imaani, Joy Rose, Tony Momrelle, and guest artist Maysa), infused 15 original tracks with soulful effervescence. Though Tales from the Beach may not have been among the highest-profile releases of 2008 (at least in the U.S.), it was a luminescent ruby among gems for those that did find it. With their distinctive fusion of disco, jazz, and funk, Incognito gave listeners a reason to dance.
Incognito's Tales from the Beach was one of the best albums, of any genre, to be released in 2008. On their first effort for the Ohio-based Heads Up label, Incognito delivered a seamless collection that used as its inspiration group mastermind Jean-Paul "Bluey" Maunick's childhood memories of hearing musicians play on the beach in Mauritius. The superb musicianship corralled by Maunick, including his core unit of vocalists (Imaani, Joy Rose, Tony Momrelle, and guest artist Maysa), infused 15 original tracks with soulful effervescence. Though Tales from the Beach may not have been among the highest-profile releases of 2008 (at least in the U.S.), it was a luminescent ruby among gems for those that did find it. With their distinctive fusion of disco, jazz, and funk, Incognito gave listeners a reason to dance.

Nodding towards the album's dance floor orientation, Maunick enlisted more than a dozen renowned DJ's to remix key ten tracks from the album (the Tony Momrelle-led "Freedom to Love" and "Happy People" each get an additional remix bringing the total number of tracks up to twelve). Like the album from which it's derived, More Tales Remixed is a passport to sunnier vistas, only here the beats have been amplified.

The collection wastes no time in flaunting the muscle of the turntable talent. Joined by DJ Meme, Dimitri from Paris actually improves on "Step Aside," liberally sprinkling the track with classic Salsoul-type bells and whistles.  Instead of merely putting beats and effects under the original vocal, the track sounds rebuilt from scratch. It's a gripping concoction. The Yam Who? reworking of "Freedom to Love" is also a noteworthy dance excursion while Francis Hylton's take on "I Remember a Time" (featuring an aching vocal by Maysa) incorporates a bass lick that's an effective embellishment of the groove.

In his foreword to More Tales Remixed, Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson concedes that he typically recommends an original CD ahead of any "variant product" of the music (such as a remix project) but that More Tales Remixed is an exception. It's fruitless to compare the two and, instead, the listener should accept each on its own merits. However, I'd be remiss not to mention that Tales from the Beach is more indispensable than this collection of remixes, which are at times devoid of the rhythmic and melodic nuances that made the source material so compelling. You cannot improve perfection. Still, More Tales Remixed remains a more than worthy companion to an album that conjures endless summers where the beat goes on and on.

By Christian John Wikane

 
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