Dream 2 Science – Dream 2 Science EP review
In recent years, Amsterdam house heavyweights Rush Hour have done a good job of reissuing vintage material from the halcyon days of house (or, in the case of their Gene Hunt and Virgo releases, previously unreleased material from the early days of house). Their recent Burrell Brothers retrospective was a particularly good example of this; while much of the material was familiar to those with a keen interest in classic New York house, it was still a timely celebration of two producers who arguably don’t get nearly enough credit for their impressive output.
This latest reissue, though, comes from the leftfield. Although well regarded in deep house circles – and suitably rare, with original copies changing hands for between £60 and £70 online – Dream 2 Science’s eponymous 1990 debut mini-album is hardly the most celebrated of releases. In many ways, it’s a strange selection for a reissue, with a suitably surprising back-story attached. It is, however, a cracker.
The man behind Dream 2 Science was Ben Cenac, a producer who had previously found fame as part of NYC electro originals Newcleus. In the early and mid 1980s the act released a string of electro classics – “Jam On It”, “Space Is The Place”, “Let’s Jam” and, of course “Destination Earth” – before going their separate ways. By 1989, Cenac had fallen in love with what was then called “garage house” and the tough, tribal rhythms that were beginning to find favour in some of New York’s gay clubs. He released a couple of (now forgotten) cuts under the Push/Pull and Pump pseudonyms in 1989, before turning his hand to another sound that was beginning to emerge from the city: deep house.
And so we get to Dream 2 Science. Largely Cenac’s own work (additional writing and production was provided by vocalist Greg Fore), the mini-album sounds like a conscious response to the warm, soul-flecked offerings of contemporaries Bobby Konders, the Burrell Brothers and Lamont Booker. Amazingly, Dream 2 Science still sounds remarkably fresh, 22 years on. The production, in particular, is terrific. While many house records of the period sound clumsy and dated, there’s a timeless quality to the intricately programmed drum machine rhythms, the drifting chords, warm analogue basslines and cute vibraphone melodies.
Notably, it also features some great vocal tracks – something that was relatively rare for New York deep house at the time. Opener “My Love Turns To Liquid” (featuring singer Val Cee) is as perfect a vocal deep house record as you’re likely to find; robust enough to hold dancefloors, but deep, heady and melodic enough to sound special. Then there’s “Mystery Of Love”, which possesses an unfeasibly casual vocal from Greg Fore. It’s like Mr Fingers doing deep New Jersey garage, and it’s brilliant.
Elsewhere, there’s plenty to get excited about, too. Check the bubbling acid, spine-tingling chords and shuffling rhythms of “Breathe Deep”, the cool vibraphone solos and turquoise-tinted chords of “How Do I Love Thee” or the sparkling, Mr Fingers-ish pianos-and-chords of “Dream 2 Science”. Cenac barely put a foot wrong on Dream 2 Science; the only mystery is why he didn’t release more material like this. If he had, the history of house music may have been very different indeed.
1. My Love Turns To Liquid
2. Breathe Deep”
3. Mystery Of Love”
4. How Do I Love Thee
6. Dream To Science