Musical paths — from Lisa Stansfield to Sneaker Pimps [VIDEOS]

I posted a Sneaker Pimps video on my Facebook page the other day. I used to love spinning them — fascinating music, and with the wonderful Kelli Ali singing. I thought I’d share the musical journey my brain went through in the 30 minutes or so leading up to that moment, because I find the connections music makes fascinating and beautiful. Yes, this is music-nerdy. Hopefully a few of you will appreciate that, and those who don’t will still enjoy the music. And no, there’s nothing overtly spiritual about the music, but I think most music is spiritual at its core.

So sit back and follow my brain through this journey. It starts here…

I was watching The Voice and Maroon 5‘s Adam Levine, who is one of the judges, mentioned that Lisa Stansfield’s All Around The World (1990) was one of his favorite songs, as it is mine.

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That song was part of a fusion happening in England of soul, pop, hip hop, and house. Thinking of that always brings up two performers. One is Cathy Dennis
(1989).

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(Dennis went on to be one of the most important songwriters in pop, penning Britney’s Toxic and Kylie’s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head, to name just two of many, but that’s another thread.)

The other British group that always comes to mind — at the less pop, more soulful end of that scene — is Soul II Soul (1989). I remember when Soul II Soul came out and it was such a breath of fresh air. We all studied and dissected it. It was exciting, something fresh.

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Soul II Soul is an important bridge to another scene. Soul II Soul member and record producer Nellee Hooper was already a DJ in a Bristol, England sound system called the Wild Bunch, which dates back to 1983. That collective eventually evolved into Massive Attack, the defining and original trip hop band, also spinning off Portishead, Tricky and Smith & Mighty. You can best hear their crossover from house to trip hop in this early 1990 Massive track.

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Massive Attack went on to make some of the most important music of the 90s, but in this musical thread I’m staying with Nellee Hooper. While still part of Massive Attack and after, Hooper produced many of the best known trip hop crossover tracks of the 90s, including Bjork’s Isobel (1995) and Madonna’s I Want You (1995). (Most of the rest were done by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow.) One of Hooper’s best known trip hop production jobs was the Sneaker Pimps’ 6 Underground (2000).

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And that led me to my favorite Sneaker Pimps song, Spin Spin Sugar, featuring Kelli Ali before they got rid of her, and I posted this live version of it on my FB wall.

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Thanks for joining me. Do you think music is as magical and spiritual as I do? I plan to post a few more of these. Do you like this approach — a musical journey in videos?

About Phil Fox Rose

Phil Fox Rose is a writer, editor and content lead based in New York. He is coordinator of Contemplative Outreach of New York, helping promote centering prayer, which has been his contemplative practice for nearly 20 years. Raised atheist by ex-Mormons, Phil has journeyed through Quakerism, deep ecology, Buddhism and Catholicism. Now he's a congregant, worship leader, cook and chair of the leadership team at St. Lydia's, an awesome dinner church in Brooklyn, NY, and spends as much time in nature as possible. Phil has been a political party leader, videographer, tech journalist, punk roadie, software designer, sheepherder, stockbroker and downtempo radio DJ. A common thread is the process of learning about stuff, figuring it out and then sharing that understanding with others. Follow Phil by RSS feed, email, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.


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