I recently mentioned Romanthony in my review of Poolside Sounds Vol. II from the Future Disco series. At the time the inclusion of a track from Romanthony, years since his last high profile release and just weeks after his untimely death, seemed a spooky coincidence.
And whilst this release does nothing to reduce the coincidental nature of Anthony Moore's music cropping up again just as he left our world it does provide some more context. These remixes come out on Glasgow Underground as a result of label owner Kevin McKay's affection for Romanthony's work, and they started working on these remixes together with a view to releasing them along with an anthology of his best work (don't call it a greatest hits, there were none) and an album of the mixes later this year.
Romanthony and McKay were long-time collaborators following McKay's pursuit of an interview with the illusive start when he worked was writing for the long-since departed Muzik magazine... The interview didn't happen for a few more years, but they did strike up a friendship. McKay ended up setting up Glasgow Underground and released a string of singles and three albums, including the seminal R. Hide In Plain Site.
Romanthony ended up featuring on two tracks on Daft Punk's 2001 opus Discovery, and it's lead single, 'One More Time'. The latter was such a massive hit that Romanthony had no real financial need to record anything, and was having too good a time to worry about doing so. However, a legal case was launched against Daft Punk in 2006 from an unknown disco artist called Eddie Johns, who claimed 'One More Time' sampled his song 'More Spell On You' (you can see this here). The result being that payments to Romanthony, as one of the writers of the song, were put on hold.
Romanthony's celebrity lifestyle had to go on hold and he recorded new material, but whilst McKay tried to find a home for it no label was interested, despite the pedigree of Romanthony's back catalogue. McKay also tried to pair him up with some other producers but they innevitably ended up just trying to get him to do vocals on their own tracks, rather than let Romanthony record his own material. Understandably he wasn't prepared to compromise.
The final option was to revisit the back catalogue, which is how we ended up with 'Bring U Up' being remixed and featured on Poolside Sounds Vol. II. Following his death there was much soul searching, but the remixes are now being released to provide a legacy from the artist's children.
'Ministry of Love' is one of Romanthony's older tracks and therefore one I'm less familiar with. There's a real nineties vibe to this, particularly to the high pitched vocal chant that features, and the remixes all, to a greater or lesser extent, play up to that.
Kevin McKay has got three mixes on this release - one straight-up, a 90s re-edit and one versus Mirrors. The straight up mix is more modern and both that and the 90s re-edit are highlights on this broad package, retaining the soul of the original but giving it a twist. The main McKay mix has a loose bassline with a touch of acid and a subtly funky drum set.
EJECA's busy creating nostalgic 90s influenced rave at the best of time and so his mix is deliberately backwards looking, with an old school garage baseline and plenty of piano. Andrés' mix is swinging, full of a subtly crackling vinyl sound and a fair amount of soul. Andy Crom's mix also uses 90s garage bass patterns and pairs it with some tight drums.
As a remix package it's generous and has it's moments, but as a tribute to the artist this feels a little lacking. Romanthony produced a number of fantastic records and but I'm not convinced this was his best, so it seems a shame to lead with it. It is also a shame not to include the original so people can get an understanding of what made him such a great producer. We can only hope that these releases do something to raise some awareness for what a talent Anthony Moore was regardless.
Ministry of Love is out now on Glasgow Underground.