Category Archives: Shem McCauley

My Love Is For Real

FRSHD46

01 My Love Is For Real (Radio Edit)
02 My Love Is For Real (Strike’s Big Outback 12″ Mix)
03 My Love Is For Real (Strike’s Small Upfront Dub)
04 My Love Is For Real (Ramp Vocal Mix)
05 My Love Is For Real (Ramp Dub)

INFO > Formed in 1994, Strike comprised producers Matt Cantor and Andy Gardner, and vocalist Victoria Newton. The trio’s second single, “U Sure Do”, was a huge handbag hit, and peaked at 4 on the UK Singles Chart in 1995. In addition to their own releases, Cantor & Gardner also produced remixes for other artists. “My Love Is For Real”, the lead single from Paula Abdul’s 1995 album “Head Over Heels”, features reworks from Strike, who then recorded their own version the following year.

There’s an easily overlooked gem on this package that will be of interest to fans of progressive house. While Shem McCauley and Simon Rogers were producing material as both Ramp and Slacker during the mid-1990s, their two styles began to converge and become less distinguishable; this is evidenced on the striking ‘Ramp Dub.’

Matt Cantor would later team up with Aston Harvey as Freestylers; Andy Gardner partnered with Lee Rous as Plump DJs; and Victoria Newton went solo and eventually returned to her jazz roots.

Here’s the official promo video for Strike’s “My Love Is For Real”:

And for comparison, here’s the decidedly more intriguing original version by Paula Abdul, featuring Ofra Haza:

No-One In The World (1998)

APOLLO35CD   APOLLO35CDX

01 No-One In The World (DJB Radio Edit)
02 No-One In The World (Mack Mongoloid Mix)
03 No-One In The World (Frankenstein UV Remix)
04 No-One In The World (Mongoloidian Killer Bees Mix)
05 No-One In The World (LP Version)
06 No-One In The World (In Slacker’s Universe – Master Mix)
07 No-One In The World (Timecode Remix)
08 No-One In The World (Original W.F.O. Mix)

INFO > London born Mark Van Hoen has been experimenting with sound for over 30 years. He was a member of Seefeel in the early-1990s, as well as that band’s offshoot project, Scala. Van Hoen has recorded as Locust since 1993; however, his original mix of “No-One In The World” was initially credited to W.F.O. and appears on volume two of the “Excursions In Ambience” series. The track borrows vocals from the Carpenters’ 1972 single “Hurting Each Other”; this 1998 reissue includes remixes from Bernard Badie, Armand Van Helden & Junior Sanchez, Frank Fallico, Shem McCauley, and Rob Playford.

Pow!

DISNCD20

01 Pow! (Ramp Key City Edit)
02 Pow! (Ramp Key City Mix)
03 Pow! (Itchy & Scratchy Mix)
04 Pow! (Ramp Club Mix)
05 Pow! (Original Mix)

INFO > 1996 single “Pow!” was produced by The Reverend Mike Crawley, who is a complete mystery to me (also, I suspect he may not be an officially ordained member of the clergy). Questions regarding the artist aside, I’m never one to pass on a Ramp remix.

Keep Giving Me Love

6579885

01 Keep Giving Me Love (7″ Mix Edit)
02 Keep Giving Me Love (Tribal Love Mix)
03 Keep Giving Me Love (Ubiquity Mix)
04 Moody (Extended Club Mix)

INFO > Following the dancefloor-friendly debut of 1988’s “Into The Dragon”, Tim Simenon ventured into “Unknown Territory”, Bomb The Bass’ sophomore album. The BTB sound transformed during the early 1990s, with Simenon pioneering new styles that would ultimately evolve into trip hop and big beat. 1992’s “Keep Giving Me Love” is a reworked version of “Love So True”, the lead single from “Unknown Territory.” The release includes a remix by Shem McCauley (under his Streetsahead guise) along with an inspired cover of ESG’s “Moody.”

The Payback Mix

8876042

01 The Payback Mix (Keep On Doing What You’re Doing)
02 Give It Up Or Turn It A Loose (Remix)
03 I Got You [I Feel Good]
04 Payback (The Final Mixdown)
05 She’s The One (Funky Drummer Remix)
06 Cold Sweat

INFO > James Brown would have turned 80 today; however, the hardest working man in show business left the building forever in 2006. To celebrate the Godfather of Soul’s birthday, here’s a 1988 EP featuring funky mixes from Coldcut, Norman Cook, Shem McCauley, and Tim Rogers.

Electrofear

RTD15011463

01 Electrofear (Beastmix)
02 Electrofear (Shemsijo Mix)
03 Electrofear (Dogmix)

INFO > Depending on your fancy, Nation 12 was:

A) An experimental project of Dennis Leigh
B) An extension of Bomb The Bass
C) A precursor to Ramp/Slacker
D) All of the above

Comprising John Foxx, Kurt Rogers, Tim Simenon, Simon Rogers, and the late Shem McCauley, the short-lived Nation 12 released only two singles: “Remember” (1990) and “Electrofear” (1991), both on Rhythm King. However, the collective also recorded an album’s worth of tracks, which finally saw the light of day via Tape Modern in 2005.

Colein – Spreading The Light

Colein
“Spreading The Light”
1998 SPV GmbH (DE)
SPV 055-16273

01. Spreading The Light (Ramp Vocal Mix) 06:46
02. Spreading The Light (Ramp Radio Edit) 03:48
03. Spreading The Light (Slacker Remix) 07:26
04. Spreading The Light (Original Version) 05:59

INFO > For a decade between 1985 and 1995, session singer Linda Duggan sang mostly backing vocals on various projects before shifting to the foreground as Colein. “Spreading The Light” is taken from the “Ten A Penny Singer” EP released by More Protein in 1996; this German CD single features remixes from the 1997 UK 12″ (PROTR 121). By the way, this is the only single to feature both a Ramp mix and a Slacker mix by Shem McCauley and Simon Rogers (by 1997, the respective productions had become stylistically similar).

SPREADING THE LIGHT

Shem McCauley R.I.P.

Hard Working Slacker

In the mid-1980s, a young Shem McCauley first made a name for himself as DJ Streets Ahead, pioneering the scratch mixing style in the UK. Early on, Shem scored slots spinning hip hop on Tim Westwood’s radio show, and as a student in Brighton, he ripped up the turntables alongside the likes of Norman Cook, Chad Jackson, and Carl Cox.

McCauley added his scratching skills to recordings by She Rockers, Kinkina, and Shakatak, and produced remixes for Simon Harris, Roxanne Shante, Wee Papa Girl Rappers, James Brown, Betty Boo, Digital Underground, Was (Not Was), Tony Toni Tone, Definition Of Sound, Herb Alpert, and Bomb The Bass.

In 1990, McCauley collaborated with Tim Simenon, John Foxx, and Simon Rogers in the short-lived electro collective Nation 12, releasing two singles through Rhythm King. McCauley and Simon Rogers would continue working together as Ramp in the mid-1990s, producing a couple of singles and loads of remixes for many artists, including: Sister Sledge, Boy George, D:ream, Tanita Tikaram, Armand Van Helden, and Yazz.

Concurrent with his work as Ramp, McCauley also began producing funky progressive house under the guise of Slacker. His 1996 single “Scared” was a UK hit, helping McCauley to set up his own label, Jukebox In The Sky, in 1998. By the late 1990s, Ramp was retired in favor of focusing full-time on Slacker, as the stream of singles and remixes continued. In 2002, Shem revived his old Head Honcho alias, issuing two singles through the Jukebox imprint.

After travelling around the world throughout the last decade, McCauley relocated to Thailand in 2010. Disillusioned with the music industry, he took up yoga instruction and made health and happiness his new priorities. However, McCauley’s old life wasn’t abandoned entirely—the new Slacker introduced a more ambient oriented sound for his first and only album, the introspective “Start A New Life”, mostly created on a laptop outside a fast food restaurant in Bangkok. (listen to selections here)

Sadly, Shem McCauley passed away on 23 January 2012. An incredibly talented artist, Shem will be greatly missed but always remembered for his innovative and entertaining body of work.

Slacker – Scared

Slacker
“Scared”
1996 XL Recordings (UK)
XLS 84 CD

01. Scared (Edit)
02. Scared (Pob Seismix)
03. Scared (Dylan Rhymes Remix)
04. Scared (The Lonely Traveller)
05. Scared (Scared Of Tomorrow)

INFO > Initially released via Loaded, Shem McCauley’s percolating prog house gem gained a wider audience after being licensed by XL (frequent spins by Sasha also helped).

SCARED

Boy George – The Devil In Sister George EP

Boy George
“The Devil In Sister George”
1993 Virgin Records Ltd (UK)
VSCDT 1473

01. Everything I Own (Pop Walk)
02. Miss Me Blind (Return To Gender Mix)
03. Love Hurts (Album Mix)
04. Generations Of Love (Ramp Club Mix)

INFO > This 1993 release recycles and updates material from George’s career to that point: with Culture Club, as Jesus Loves You, and solo. Standout track is the Ramp-ed up remix of “Miss Me Blind” by Simon Rogers and Shem McCauley, who also add new depth to “Generations Of Love” (Rogers produced the original).

THE DEVIL IN SISTER GEORGE