The Music Vaults are full of Great Dance Music

There is an infinite number of dance tracks sitting in the music vaults. I know that DJs spend hours seeking out new tracks to play for us, and in this blog I want to heap praise on those who resist playing the same old, same old (see link to article below). Like any dance music enthusiast I have my own favourites and, in this section, I’m daring to suggest a few in the hope that they might get played. My sixth choice is the Moto Blanco Instrumental Remix of Adele’s Set fire to the rain.

I just love instrumentals

From my earliest days on the dance floor I have loved instrumentals and the DJs back in the late ’60s and early ’70s played lots of them. Regular readers of my blog will know my love of Ramsey Lewis’ Wade in the water and from the same era comes Earl Van Dykes 6 x 6 and the San Remo Strings’ Festival time (both Motown classics). The reason was simple – there were no lyrics to distract from the beat and the instrumentation.

Please Mr DJ play more instrumental versions

I’ve chosen the instrumental version of Adele’s Set fire to the rain because it shows that there are fantastic instrumentals of contemporary tracks out there. There are quite a few instrumentals being played at modern jive events, but these tend to be records that were created as instrumentals. The aforementioned Wade in the water was only ever an instrumental. Ten Lemons by 4 to The Bar, another piano based track, also gets a lot of plays, but again it was conceived as an instrumental track. What I would like is instrumental versions of songs we already love.

This powerful ballad needed speeding up

Adele’s original version, released in 2011, was a powerful ballad, but was just too slow to modern jive to. The track was remixed in the same year by Danny Harrison and Arthur Smith, who work under the name of Moto Blanco. This faster paced version has now been picked up by modern jive DJs and gets regular spins.

The instrumental remix hits all my buttons

The Moto Blanco remix has become one of my favourite tracks and I’ll often play it while I’m writing. One day I searched YouTube to see if there was an instrumental version available, and to my great delight found the version I’m enthusing about today. Even without the vocal, it’s chord sequence and distinctive guitar lick soon identifies the track as Set fire to the rain.

Being an instrumental you quickly connect to its thumping beat, and your interest is maintained as extra layers of instrumentation are introduced, including some soaring synthesized strings. The Middle-8-Bar sequence brings more variety and builds anticipation as you wait for the driving bass to kick in again.

Dancing is surely about connecting to a beat

Song lyrics add greatly to dance music. I can’t imagine Disco Inferno without the compelling chant of ‘Burn Baby Burn’, and There’s no stopping us now wouldn’t be the greatest motivational song ever if we couldn’t sing along to its chorus. We’ve all danced with a partner who sings every word of a song all the way through a dance – I know I’ve done it. There’s no doubt that lyrics do have their place on the dance floor.

Even so, the earliest dance moves where done to a simple drum pattern, and our primitive beginnings mean that we instinctively want to move our bodies to a beat. Perhaps instrumental tracks allow an easier connection to the rhythm of a song that ignites these primitive instincts.

We all have our own individual idea of what makes a great dance track. Every so often I love a dose of the pure stuff – a thumping drum and bass backing track, with a few layers of instrumentation on top. Include some soaring strings and I’m happy. The instrumental version of Set fire to the rain does it for me.

Click the link to read my article about ‘Same old, same old’ playlists

The Same Old Song: An article where I ask DJs to keep their playlists fresh