Tennerz: Hallex M, Darien, Omar – Straight Up! (Original Mix) (United Music Records)
French producer Hallex M irresistibly goin’ straight up! And for this to happen, he doesn’t only join forces with Omar (remember ‘Ding Ding’). But also with Darien (Dean) with whom he released ‘Feeling’. And last but not least with Saycon Sengbloh to add a feminine touch to the whole.
‘Straight Up!’ pretty much sympbolizes what unity is about. Thus perfectly corresponding with the meaning of Hallex M‘s label.
Blending fragments of Caribbean music over an African beat, ‘Straight Up!’ brings us back to the souvenir of the Afrobeat. Comin’ up with a similar appeal as a matter of fact. Although standing more as an interpretation of Highlife Jazz at the end.
As a result, no wonder as to how this should straight up appear in our 10 essential tracks of 2018.
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– Hallex M started DJing back in 1996 before promoting events in Bordeaux (France) where we happened to meet a couple of times back then. Livin’ his life as a passionate, production was just a natural step for him. Eventually droppin’ his 2 first remixes back in 2007. Respectively for Monique Bingham and Kenny Bobien. And, just like DJ Fudge, he obviously found a better environment to express himself while relocating to Hong Kong.
Remembered for ‘Mi Casa’, Hallex has since worked with countless luminaries. From Jocelyn Mathieu with ‘The Tribal Zone’ back in 2013. To DJ Fudge which whom he produced ‘Simpatico’ and ‘Ding Ding’ featuring Omar the year after. But also Darien with whom he released ‘Feeling’. A cut we welcomed as our Single Of The Week back in March 2017 with remixing work courtesy of DJ Spinna.
Meanwhile Oveous, Vikter Duplaix, Mr V and Marc Evans among others joined him on his debut-album – ‘Soul Odyssey’ – which saw the light by the beginning of November 2017.
The end of the Summer of 2018 seeing him joinin’ forces once again not only with Omar. But also Darien (Dean) and Saycon Sengbloh on the Afro-Caribbean flavored ‘Straight Up!’. Itself most likely standing among the 10 essential tracks of the year.
– Darien Dean is an artist with a purpose. Hailing from Mount Vernon, NY, he burst onto the scene with alluring vocals and a distinctive stage presence. As a result, no wonder how he became a staple in the Big Apple Soul music circuit. Regularly playing at venues such as Joe’s Pub, SOB’s and the Blue Note.
He mosty likely made his first classes along with Hip-Hop group The Colab by the end of the 90’s. Maturing his experience as both a singer, an MC and a dancer. But also developing his abilities as a producer, arranger and engineer. As many efforts which allowed him to craft an authentic approach to contemporary songwriting.
Darien got to international recognition after the release of ‘Alibi’ along with Reel People back in 2008. ‘If These Walls Could Talk’, his debut-album, met critical success receiving accolades such as SoulTracks.com 2009 “New Artist of the Year”. His spirited musical style earning him a coveted spotlight at the 2010 Soul Beach Music Festival in Aruba. Eventually opening for Mary J. Blige.
The man has captured the interest of industry executives and enamored the Capital Jazz Festival audience. He earned the Budweiser Superfest 2010 Battle for the Crown of New York and ultimately the Grand Champion of the competition. His humble, yet star studded rise to fame placing him amongst the honorable ranks of Soul super heavyweights. Therefore adding his name to those of luminaries such Kem, Anthony Hamilton or Raheem DeVaughn.
2011 saw him teamin’ once again with Reel People on ‘Sure’. Meanwhile, the release of ‘All In Me’ along with Angela Johnson would lead to a Japanese tour. He eventually joined Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band the year after. Eventually takin’ the centerstage on ‘Where The Lights Meet The Music’.
More recently, in 2016, he joined forces with Hong Kong-based French DJ/producer Hallex M. Both of them delivering the soothing ‘Feeling’. A cut which DJ Spinna would give his instantly identifiable touch to a few months later.
Darien’s avant-garde delivery of timeless music with provocative social themes demands a rooted footing in the genre of Soul Music. “Music is my purpose and I create knowing the responsibility that commands…”, he states. Currently putting the finishing touches to his most ambitious project yet. A 3 CD album entitled ‘Notes From The Journey’…
The end of the Summer Of 2018 seein’ sharin’ the bill once again with Hallex M. And also with Omar on the Afro-Caribbean flavored ‘Straight Up!).
– A native of London, Omar Christopher Lye-Fook, MBE grew up in Canterbury, Kent. This in the middle of a family of artists in their respective owns. Beginning with his dad, Byron, who worked as a studio musician and drummer with various luminaries. From Bob Marley to Horace Andy and even The Rolling Stones.
Omar‘s younger brother, the Grammy winning producer, remixer and DJ professionally known as Scratch Professor has been making jaws drop since the age of 13. Brilliantly stunning the crowd at the 1988 DMC UK Finals with his turntable skills. Meanwhile, Samia (Omar’s sister) is a renowned vocalist in her own right, and a BRIT School alumna.
A musical prodigy, Omar learned his craft classically. Eventually playing the trumpet, piano, bass guitar and percussion. A former principal percussionist of the Kent Youth Orchestra and later a graduate of the Guildhall School Of Music, he released his first single – ‘Mr Postman’ – on his father’s Kongo label back in 1985. Welcoming Caron Wheeler as a backing vocalist. He then came to drop his debut-album featuring the (title) track that changed it all for him… ‘There’s Nothing Like This’! And eventually got us to meet for the very first time before Gilles Peterson signed him on Talkin’ Loud.
Strangely enough, his liaison with Talkin’ Loud happened to be quite brief. Thus seeing him releasing a follow up-album – ‘Music’ – in 1992. This before switching to RCA two years later with ‘For Pleasure’. An album that saw him collaborating with David Frank of The System fame. And also with the late Leon Ware, Vanessa Simon, Maxton Beesley and Ray Parker, Jr. among others. With the whole givin’ birth to gems such as ‘Keep Steppin”, ‘Saturday’ and ‘Outside’. Meanwhile, from his 1997 ‘This Is Not A Love Song’ one would most likely remember ‘Say Nothin” and its alternative version featuring US Rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
Omar opened his Third Millennium account with the delivery of his best ‘Best By Far’ album on French label Naïve. This seeing him covering William DeVaughn‘s classic ‘Be Thankful For What You’ve Got’ (with its title shortened to ‘Be Thankful’), along with Erykah Badu.
Another six years on, then came his ‘Sing (If You Want It)’ album and the collaboration from extra luminaries. From Angie Stone to Common and Estelle (Swaray). This in addition to Stevie Wonder on the memorable ‘Feeling You’ which Ben Schwarz eventually remixed for Peppermint Jam. And the same extra period of time to see him collecting his MBE from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. Then make his debut the year after on Freestyle Records with ‘The Man’. An album which features a new version of ‘There’s Nothing Like This’ (featuring guitarist Pino Palladino). But also ‘Treat You’ along with long time friend Caron Wheeler and remixing work courtesy of Opolopo.
2014 saw the release of ‘Stop War, Make Love’. A friendly version of ‘Fµ** War, Make Love’ from his ‘The Man’ album which got us to welcome him for a chat on these shores. Then, 3 years after, came ‘Love In Beats’, his last album to date. An effort that saw him jammin’ along luminaries such as Leon Ware and The Floacist. Not to mention Robert Glasper, Ty or Natasha Watts.
With (only) 8 albums since his debut, some might think Omar has taken his time. But this would be forgetting his collaborations with countless of his contemporaries. As a featured artist, a backing vocalist or a songwriter. Writing ‘I Should’ve Known Better’ along with Mica Paris and co-producing it back in 1990. But also contributing to Misty Oldland‘s ‘Got Me A Feeling’ 3 years later.
Just like Robert Owens, as already said elsewhere on these shores, and although comin’ from different surroundings, Omar has brilliantly showcased his versatility along with time. Collaborating with Maddslinky back in 2010 on the bouncing ‘Special’, then with The Layabouts in 2012 on ‘As Long As You Believe’. But also with Dilouya on ‘Over The Sun’ that same year. A cut which resurfaced in October 2017 on Foliage Records with remix courtesy of Atjazz. And what about the boiling ‘Ding Ding’ along with Hallex M and DJ Fudge, also given a new life by the beginning of 2018 as remixed by DJ Beloved?
The end of the Summer of 2018 seein’ him sharing the vocal duties along with Darien Dean on the Hallex M produced ‘Straight Up!’. A cut most likely destined to feature in our 10 essential tracks of the year.
Omar also ventured into African territories along with Boddhi Satva on ‘Benefit’. And he also joined Ralf GUM on ‘Love Core’ and, more recently LCO (Los Charly’s Orchestra) on ‘History’ which received the remix treatment courtesy of John Morales.
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