Billie Ray Martin – The Crackdown Project Vol 1 review

Artist: Billie Ray Martin
Title: The Crackdown Project Vol 1 (Sold Out To Disco: The Crackdown/Fascination)
Label: Disco Activisto Germany
Electro house/Electroclash, Disco/Nu-Disco
Buy From: Juno Download

This is a rather starry love-in featuring former Electribe 101 and S’Express singer (and obviously solo star) Billie Ray Martin and Stephen Mallinder, frontman and founder member of Cabaret Voltaire. Produced by the Maertini Bros, this is a two-track preview from a full album coming soon.

Perhaps the impetus for the deep tech-house production might be Billie Ray Martin’s burgeoning DJ career, since she’s currently spinning deep electro and techno around the world. Either way, her huge soulful vocals are still on great form – just one listen to the slinky electro of “The Crackdown” will confirm it. But it’s the cover of Cabaret Voltaire’s “Just Fascination” that is the real treasure here. Given a slow, Lil Louis-styled beat, the song oozes sleaze and soul in equal measure, and polishes over the jagged edges of the original.

The Copycat remix of “Just Fascination” gives it a more thumping, club-ready feel with a sped-up dub version for DJ’s, while the Celebrity Murder mix adds a Frankie Knuckles-sequence for a more Balearic feel. Mash-up kings Divide and Kreate leave the bootlegging for another day on their mix, instead layering the track with some shuffling techno chords that work nicely with Billie Ray’s vocals. And on a chilled tip, Flying White Dots slows things down and creates a beautiful and warm ambient mix that really tugs at the heartstrings – a perfect way to round off this varied but highly enjoyable EP.

Review: Oliver Keens