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R.I.P. Kashif (1956 – 2016)


R.I.P. Kashif (1956 – 2016)

At the end of September, the world lost music producer and boogie pioneer Michael Jones – a.k.a Kashif – writer and co-producer of the song that inspired this very club night: 'Love Come Down'. Better late than never, we thought it was about time we paid our respects to the man and, of course, the music.

As The Guardian astutely point out in their obituary, when Michael Jones decided to rename himself from a book of Islamic names he chose aptly, as 'Kashif means “discoverer”, “pioneer”, or “revealer”'. A multi-instrumentalist and promoter of the use of technology in music, Kashif helped to shape the sound of the 80s by writing a slew of boogie and R&B hits for artists such as Evelyn 'Champagne' King, Whitney Houston, George Benson and himself.

Indeed, Kashif's early adoption of synthesisers and drum machines in a world traditionally dominated by full, 18 piece soul bands would act as a precursor for what was on the musical horizon at the end of the 80s. With hip-hop and house just around the corner, in hindsight boogie combines many of the hallmarks both genres are famed for. Drum machines and deep, synthesised bass lines rub up against diva vocals to create a then-modernised version of soul that sounded fresh and exciting – and in the process inspired countless producers coming of age during the period.

To celebrate the life of one of the unsung heroes of music, below we've highlighted our five favourite Kashif tracks (unsurprisingly, it's pretty Champagne King-heavy!). For those of you who use Spotify, we've made also made it into a playlist here.

5. Evelyn 'Champagne' King 'I'm In Love'

Kashif's first collaboration with ECK and the song that simultaneously put him on the map and revived her career, 'I'm In Love' features all the aforementioned key elements. Drum machines, squelchy bass and a killer hook, it sets the tone for things to come.

4. Stacy Lattishaw 'Jump Into My Life'

This song came to our attention after being featured on John Morales's excellent 'Club Motown' compilation, and is typical Kashif. All power snares and synth bass, the 12" version also features an extended break with some great bell percussion and reversed drum hits.

3. Evelyn 'Champagne' King 'Betcha She Don't Love You'

ECK and Kashif's professional relationship produced numerous important records, and this is one of our favourite non-Love Come Down Champagne King tracks. In this record it's particularly clear how good Kashif was at leaving space in between the elements to allow the others extra punch. The groove is, in a word, irresistible.

2. Kashif 'Lover Turn Me On (I Just Gotta Have You)'

Easily his best solo track, this song's hook is the epitome of 'killer'. Combine that with the immediately familiar Kashif bass sound and a super-sweet vocal, and you're onto a winner. It's just been revitalised for us by our discovery of Coutel's excellent edit – one which will definitely get played at Love Come Down Halloween.

1. Evelyn 'Champagne' King 'Love Come Down'

What more can we say about 'Love Come Down' that hasn't already been said? The fact that it is the only song which has been played at every single one of our club nights says it all, really. A bona fide classic, surefire party starter and without doubt the career highlight of all involved. R.I.P. Kashif.


Want to hear records like these in a club? Join us at Love Come Down Halloween on Sat 29th October at The Arch Gallery. Full details and tickets available below.


Change: Disco's Most Underrated Band?


Change: Disco's Most Underrated Band?

Before I really started getting into disco records, I might have known one Change song. 'Change Of Heart', with its 80s production from Minneapolis based Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis is perhaps their signature tune, and a great one at that (we particularly like the Dr. Packer Rework). But they're not one-hit wonders.

Earlier this month, they released 'Reach For The Sky: The Change Anthology' - a full set of remastered, extended versions taken from their formidable back catalogue. It's the perfect way to showcase some of their work prior to the aforementioned 'Change Of Heart' album from 1984.

Formed in Bologna, Italy in 1979 by businessman Jacques Fred Petrus and producer/songwriter Mauro Malavasi, Change looked to Chic for inspiration. Like their heroes Nile and Bernard, the pair opted for a behind the scenes role, concentrating on creating high quality backing tracks at studios in Italy that would then be sent over to the US to have vocals added. Like Chic, that meant the band featured a revolving door of musicians and singers and a distinct European feel.

One thing's for sure – they knew how to pick a vocalist. Debut album 'The Glow Of Love' featured two lead singers: a then relatively unknown Luther Vandross and the more established Jocelyn Brown, who had previously found fame singing for Musique on their hits 'In The Bush' and 'Keep On Jumpin', and would go on to great things with Inner Life.

The album's first single was 'A Lover's Holiday', which is a great place to start with Change if you're one of the uninitiated. The most popular version of this track is actually a remix by NYC based DJ and producer Jim Burgess, who was known in the 70s as one of the premier disco selectors and played at prestigious clubs such as the Paradise Garage:

Two more singles followed. 'Searching', led by a very familiar bassline, was a nice showcase for Vandross, but it was the third single and title track 'The Glow Of Love' that really cemented Change's place in disco history. A timeless song that oozes class, 'The Glow Of Love' is a perfect example of a track that counteracts the cliched, Saturday Night Fever-inspired archetype of the disco sound. We'll overlook the fact Phats & Small sampled it, for now:

Follow up album 'Miracles' came in 1981, and with it another couple of fantastic singles. 'Paradise' features potentially the most to-the-point bass guitar intro of all time:

After that came 'Hold Tight', a slower groove that isn't perhaps as dancefloor friendly but still has a lot to offer:

1982's 'Sharing Your Love' doesn't contain much of note, but 'This Is Your Time', released in 1983 (remember when bands used to release an album a year? Nor do I.) led with the title track. 'This Is Your Time' is typical of the Change sound - Italo disco production stylings with Chic-esque backing vocals where the lyrical focus is on going to a club:

From the same album there's also 'Got To Get Up', a sparse, slow-burner that has a lot more space between the elements than most other Change tracks:

And so we come to 1984, and 'Change Of Heart' itself. Undoubtedly a great track, but certainly not the only song Change should be remembered by.