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.
In 1992, Dimitri made this wonderful remix for Claudia Philips “Donne Moi Du Feu”, based on a sample from “I Was Born This Way ”by Carl Bean. The track is deep, groovy, with a real bass & organ, and is blessed by an incredible piano solo from the one and only Olivier Masselot.
Andres Roé, a French rumba/flamenco guitar player, released his first album in 1990. This album includes some prestigious guests such as David Gilmour & Mory Kante, and was mixed by young Philippe Cerboneschi, who would later be known as Philippe Zdar. In this album we find Roe’s spanish adaptation of “I’m Not Alone”. The song, called “Soledad”, in its original version, became a minor international hit in 1990, right after the second summer of love. The “Philly Mix” here is produced by a young Dimitri with the help of Olivier Masselot on keys, and mixed by an even younger Philippe Zdar as engineer. It was previously only available on a maxi CD. This version has aged really well, Dimitri himself has dug it out again to play it in some of his sets in the recent years.
Daughter of famous 70’s fashion designer Emmanuelle Khanh, Atlantique attracted media attention around 89/90 with her one hit wonder “Poussée Par Le Vent”. Her very distinctive voice and nonchalant style allowed her to enter France’s Top 50 in 1990. Dimitri tackled this one with a very jazzy and downtempo vibe essentially thanks to the jazz flute he threw in the mix. His long extended version is a wonderful piece of music.
In 1990, Dimitri is embracing the sound coming from a new wave of UK remixers such as Coldcut or Blacksmith, mixing jazz, hiphop, garage & breakbeat influences altogether. We find traces of that in the way he starts naming his remixes. This “Mr. Jazzy Mix” is a literal as well as musical nod to Grover Washington Jr. rare groove classic “Mr Magic”. Slow House, Downtempo, breakbeat vibes, Dimitri included the full package in this remix he did for Art Mengo on “Où Trouver Les Violons”. The track starts on those infamous rhodes chords, and progresses into very nice latin jazz vibes, with background congas, and the subtle acoustic guitar from the original. The peak comes around 3:45 with an authentic rhodes solo, played by Nicolas Neidhart which takes us on an uplifting soulful journey. Truly beautiful. Art Mengo had a few hits around the early 90s in France, but was never considered as a major artist, despite the high standards of his productions.
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.