The pairing of Phonique and the seemingly mysterious singer/songwriter Ian Whitelaw has proven fruitful in the past, but a certain air of magic filled my room the moment the original chords and vocals of “Something Special” exited my speakers for the first time, as I had my first listen to Phonique’s Green Supreme LP, earlier this year.
In the case of “Something Special,” Ian’s emotion and feelings of letting go of someone near and dear to this heart can be felt between the transients of each syllable he sings – it’s one of those rare vocal house records which displays such a powerful aura of sincerity and genuine emotion.
That being said, the play button was pressed on this EP with an extremely high bar raised, due to the strength of the original mix. Phonique’s “deep club mix” delivered as expected, a slightly toned-down, tuned-down version, which frankly didn’t add so much as it did subtract from the original’s emotional balance.
Despite the bar still being sky high, it was not only dropped to the ground, but used as a leverage device to keep my balance when the absolute stand-out reworking from The Black 80s blessed my ears and soul. Here, they’ve re-built the instrumentals from the ground-up, utilizing a bouncing ’80s-esque bassline to build a tension-laden groove, while smoothly tapping sparkling piano riffs, all in perfect unison with Ian’s captivating vocals, perfectly encapsulating the full essence of the song itself, while simultaneously crafting a piece of work that emits enough uplifting energy to lighten up the mood in a waiting-room full of manically depressed mental patients.
Nhan Solo and Sam Shure both craft eloquent renditions to cap things off, but from a musical perspective, Hollis P. Monroe and Overnite’s incredible reconstruction stands to be one of the most masterfully-crafted remixes of the year, so far.
Phonique feat Ian Whitelaw: Something Special (Ladies & Gentleman)
1. Phonique feat Ian Whitelaw: Something Special (Phonique Deep Club Mix) (6:23)
2. Phonique feat Ian Whitelaw: Something Special (Nhan Solo Remix) (6:13)
3. Phonique feat Ian Whitelaw: Something Special (The Black 80s Remix) (7:03)
4. Phonique feat Ian Whitelaw: Something Special (Sam Shure Remix) (7:52)
First published in issue 149 of 5 Magazine featuring Pomo, Joey Negro, Paul Oakenfold, Adam Warped and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music for only $2 per month.