Boomkat Product Review:
Bowing to the court of New Beat; Jade 4U, Praga Khan and Chris Inger’s sexy East-West dancefloor project Shakti is racked up on Stroom’s latest silver platter.
Mixing the raunch of Miss Nikkie Van Lierop aka New Beat siren Jade 4 U with the foundational New Beat chops of prolific producers Chris Inger (Jos Borremans) and Maurice Engelen, and Tej-Doo, plus a coterie of Eastern-Hailing singers and players, Shakti were behind some of New Beat’s sexiest, grown-up classics that contrasted with the genre’s sweet-toothed “nougat beat” strains.
‘Verboten Dromen’ stars nearly half the tracks (the ones you need) from the keenly sought-after ’Shakti featuring Jade 4 U’ (1990) compilation CD - itself drawing from 1988’s equally coveted ’Forbidden Dream / The Awakening’ diamond and 1987’s ‘Demonic Forces’ mini-LP - to supply a strong flavour of Belgium’s briefcase-swinging style in the late ‘80s.
Abiding a formula of sultry female vocals with slow and slick rutting rhythms, noirish synth pads and “exotic” references, the eight trax essentially trace the roots of what would become Euro-dance, spying the style in a formative flux between slower, sozzled Belgian sexiness and a loose mix of Arabic and Indian influences which accounted for one avenue of New Beat, alongside it’s dafter obsessions with Batman and cocaine, to name a few.
Weaving everything from Nabaurak Pran’s 72-string sitar to Dhol-Drums, Nay-Flutes and Japanese Koto with backing vocals by the El Saba-Sisters, the results reach classic heights in the irresistible one-two of ‘Forbidden Dreams’ and ‘The Awakening’, along withe the sultry fanfare of ‘That Boy’ and frothy bop of ‘The Early Train’, while it really all comes together in the come-to-bed vibes of ‘Rainbows’ and the darker lust of ‘Kama Sutra’ - “are you alone tonight?”, and ‘Demonic Forces’ most clearly bridges early industrial pop with ambient dance music.