This project is a long overdue reminder and tribute of Dimitri’s career’s beginnings, a selection of less-known works with a balearic style and a distinctive French flair. It tells the story of an 80’s kid who, through his love of music and remix culture, helped put together the first pieces of what would later become the French House scene by spreading his love for Garage House and Club Music in general. All tracks have been remastered from the tapes and will be available as a series of three 12″ Vinyl with Printed Innersleeve.
The year is 1986. There is close to no remix culture in France and only a handful of pioneers are into this new club sound coming mostly from USA. At the time, Dimitri starts experimenting with homemade remixes, done by cutting tape, inspired by New York producers Tony Humpries and Shep Pettibone. Dimitri starts playing his remixes at radio and his work gets noticed. Starting his own radioshow “NRJ Club – The Sound of New York”, Dimitri’s audience quickly became bigger. His remix style starts to settle, and the requests start piling up: Stephanie De Monaco, Gerard Blanc, Elsa, Etienne Daho, Marc Lavoine…Many French pop stars come knocking on Dimitri’s door to get a club remix of their latest hit. At this time, Dimitri often works with the same sound engineer: Jean-Philippe Bonichon aka JPB. Together, they will shape the club remix sound of the late 80’s France unlike anyone else, heavily influenced by superstar remixers like François K, Shep Pettibone, Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles, or even Stock, Aitken & Waterman. In the early 90’s, the remixes he produces are infused with Garage House, Balearic vibes & a modern Rare Groove vibe popularized by UK remixers such as Coldcut or CJ Mackintosh, something quite unique in the French musical output at the time.
“Yuku Mon Ukulele (Party Mix)” is one of Dimitri’s first remix for Cecilia Noah, a model slash wife of a French tennis star. None other than John Oates (of Hall & Oates!) is producing, and lead singer of infamous French Rock band “Téléphone” is on the writing bill. An unlikely combo the 80’s seemed to have no shame for. Despite this manufactured aspect, the solid production and songwriting, along with the cute vocal, make it a quite charming piece.
Alpha Blondy is a worldwide known artist that hails from the Ivory Coast, in the African continent. Singing in multiple languages including French, he’s often referred to as the “African Bob Marley”. We’re in the early 90’s and World Music artists are getting their mandatory “remix treatment” for the clubs. The omnipresent Dimitri is commissioned for a remix of “Yé Yé”. He delivers here a long remix “Club Suite” in two parts: starting downtempo & ending uptempo, to suit both radio and club play. Some may spot hints of D-Train & Chaka Khan, showing yet another reference to the “Sound Of New York”. This record laid dormant, until a couple of years back, when the tiny world of obscure dance music diggers showed interest for its ethnic House sound.
Gérard Blanc was the lead singer of 70’s french pop group – and for the rest of the world – one hit Disco wonder: Martin Circus. A big name in the industry, he played a key role in Dimitri’s burgeoning remixing career, giving him plenty of insider advice. After watching Dimitri work, Blanc was intrigued and hired him to remix his first solo single “Une Autre Histoire”. In 1989, with “Dis Tout Bas Dis (Remix Club)”, Dimitri returns for a final remix for Martin Circus’ frontman after a few collaborations, and the result is outstanding. A beautiful piece of balearic club music, mixing House elements with deep synth chords (played by infamous session player, and library music producer Thierry Durbet) alongside epic saxophone solos. The perfect track for a sunset mix by the beach, when summer comes to an end…
Princess Erika started her career with the band “Blackheart Daughters” in the early 80s and was soon established as a member of the Zulu Nation by Afrika Bambaataa. In 1992, Princess Erika delivers her first album on which appears “Calomnie”. This Dimitri remix is particularly influenced by Frankie Knuckles’ work, and the Def Mix sound of the time. Having rinsed Knuckles’ Beyond The Mix LP on his shows, Dimitri uses that similar piano/flute formula over a downtempo House beat. Olivier Masselot is playing the beautiful keys, and a young engineer named Philippe Zdar, assisted by Etienne de Crecy, run the mixing desk. The latter two will soon be bonding and releasing the Motorbass record, a milestone of the French Touch era. This “Calomnie” remix originally came out as promo only Vinyl and CD. It’s now officially out, 29 years later! Another one of Dim’s very personal favorite.
Through his radio and remix work, Dimitri unknowingly laid down the fundamentals and planted the seeds for what would later be known as the “French Touch” scene. There is indeed a straight filiation between some of the artists representing the French Touch from 1995/1996, and Dimitri. He ultimately showed France had nothing to be ashamed of, and in the process, helped to spread a historic U.S. club sound and to consolidate its associated culture in his country.