BRM revisits The Crackdown Project

Speaking of Billie Ray Martin, the Queen of electro Soul. Coming week The Crackdown Project Volume I: Sold Out To Disco and The Crackdown Project Volume II: Darkness Restored will be released on compact disc. Originally a digital release on Billie’s Disco Activisto label in 2010, it is now being released on CD for the very first time, including a huge collection of innovative remixes personally commissioned by Billie, and an exclusive new mix. The project features BRM’s re-workings of the influential Sheffield industrial group Cabaret Voltaire’s Crackdown and Just Fascination, taken from their 1983 album The Crackdown. Volume II features Cabaret Voltaire bassist Stephen Mallinder on vocal. The Crackdown is produced by Maertini Broes from Berlin, and UK producer Lusty Zanzibar takes production credit for Just Fascination. Remixes were delivered not only by Billie’s co-writer David Harrow, but also by Celebrity Murder Party, Copycat, Divide and Create, Dunproofin, Flying White Dots, Phil RetroSpector and Year Zero.
Being influenced by both electronic music and Soul in the early 80s, Billie moved to London set out to fuse soul and electronics. Birmingham’s Electribe 101 was her first ticket to success. Talking With Myself is probably their best known piece of music. A second album never happened as the band split. Working with S’Express later scored her a first top 10 UK hit.
After a successful collaboration with British dance duo Spooky, Billie Ray landed a new record deal, both in Europe and Stateside. The first solo release Your Loving Arms, co-written by David Harrow and produced by Dave Ball and Richard Norris of The Grid, became the monster hit and iconic club classic still spinning to date. Her solo album entitled Deadline for My Memories included several songs originally destined for Electribe 101’s second album.
Moving to New York, earned her another #1 Club hit in 1999, Honey, produced by The Grid. Killer mixes came courtesy of Above & Beyond, Deep Dish and Chicane of course.
After releasing the album 18 Carat Garbage independently, Martin then released a series of singles on her new Disco Activisto label. In 2007 Undisco Me went Top 10 in the UK Dance Chart. A year later Billie got together with Robert Solheim to form The Opiates which resulted in their first EP, entitled Anatomy of a Plastic Girl.
With the release of another solo single Sweet Suburban Disco in 2011, Martin delivered an Italo disco classic cut. On the Sold Life EP Billie Ray got together with Chicago house favorites Hard Ton. The EP features Sold Life and a cover of the Club classic Fantasy Girl.
A second EP from The Opiates titled Rainy Days and Remixes was released in September 2011 as a prelude to their long awaited album Hollywood Under The Knife. In February 2012, Kim Ann Foxman and Aerea Negrot of Hercules and Love Affair, and Throbbing Gristle’s Chris & Cosey contributed to a remix collection entitled Hollywood Cuts.
End of last year, Billie released a limited edition DVD entitled Five Takes (A Song About Andy), featuring five movies inspired by Andy Warhol‘s Screen Tests. The song On Borrowed Time is presented in five unique takes, with music by electronic producer and soul singer Waterson. Now it’s time to revisit The Crackdown Project. Here’s two favorite picks: a Phil RetroSpector remix of The Crackdown, and a Copycat remix of Just Fascination.

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