Dobie – ‘Cloud 98 3/4’ 12″ Reissue [Nero Records]

Brilliant reissue here coming on Nero Records, taking a big cut from the late ’90s and giving it new life. Dropping end of the month comes a fresh-pressing of a stone-cold classic, courtesy of a true don of the scene, Dobie. Originally released in 1998, ‘Cloud 98 3/4‘ was a crossover joint that we heard well-before we started picking up nu-soul or broken beat, and has stuck with us ever-since.

Featuring Ninety 9 delivering one of the great vocal parts over a neck-snap beat, this is a track that hasn’t dated like it should have. Pure emotion in dream like lyric production, soulful 100bpm music that makes a room full of heads stop talking and listen while head-nodding.

Need to take a second to talk about Dobie himself, one of the most underrated cats out there. First stepping on the scene via Howie B’s Pussyfoot Records in 1995, after a handful of 12″ and the demise of the label that launched him, he followed up the debut LP with a full length on BBE and then one last year through Big Dada that properly blew us away.

Sometime in 2009 Dobie dropped a plate on Brownswood that is no doubt my most transported record. The New Madness 12″ hasn’t left the record bag since it was first picked up, and made me dig through his catalogue. An unsung hero of the scene, Dobie’s produced with the likes of Soul II Soul, Massive Attack and London Posse, and remains high on many labels’ wishlists of remixers, reworking a diverse range of tracks from Bjork to DJ Premier. It’s the raw emotion that he gets in to his work that makes him stand-out, a skill that shouldn’t go overlooked as not enough producers seem to have it.

This time around he’s been the one handing out the track stems, with the 12″ repress of ‘Cloud 98…’ coming with an original radio edit from the man as well as three new remixes. The Hics, Bodhi and Black Classical all turning in totally different workings, each reflecting their own style. The vocals come to the forefront of some mad live instrument bits via The Hics and the duo of Bodhi take it back in to house territory for a worthy take on the track. However it’s Black Classical’s stunning minimal piano loop start that merges in to some form of digi-bounce that steals the show, equally as hectic as the original, it’s a classy affair.

Check the Dobie Radio Edit version below, full press release underneath that. Get on this quick, coming in to your record store 31st of March.

via Nero Records
Dobie’s ‘Cloud 98 3/4’ ft. Ninety 9 is set for a timely re-release this March via UK label, Nero Records, complete with a crop of fresh remixes from The Hics, Bodhi, Black Classical and Dobie himself.

Initially released in 1997 on Howie B’s esteemed Pussyfoot Records, Dobie’s ‘Cloud 98 3/4’ received critical acclaim and became a single many fell deeply in love with. For the team behind the Nero imprint their unrelenting affection for the track has drove them to re-release it so a whole new generation could have the pleasure of “enjoying it just as much as they have for all these years”.

An unsung hero of the UK music scene, Gilles Peterson once described Dobie as “Stoke Newington’s answer to Ghost Dog”. It was Dobie’s early work on the first two Soul II Soul albums and remixes for genre defining acts such as Bjork, Massive Attack and Gangstarr that placed him at the forefront of music production in the early 90s. Fast forward a century and Dobie’s credentials as a producer surpass most with a discography that lists albums, singles and EPs for labels such as Big Dada (Ninja Tune) and Brownswood among others, plus production work for an array of celebrated names.

The first single to be released from ‘The Sound Of One Hand Clapping’ album, ‘Cloud 98 3/4’ is a mix of golden era Hip Hop beats with a distinct UK/Trip Hop edge. Built around a timeless, bass-heavy groove and lush melody, ‘Cloud 98 3/4’s laid-back composure is heightened by mysterious LA-based artist Ninety 9, whose effortless vocal becomes the galvanising element in a truly stand-out piece of music. Testament to quality of the original production when going back into the studio to ‘polish’ this up for a re-release nothing more than a gentle re-master was needed.

On remix duties a diverse crop of up-and-coming talent give ‘Cloud 98 3/4’ a 2014 re-rub. First up London-based 6 piece The Hics turn ‘Cloud 98 3/4’ into a laid-back, electronic bliss, adding delicate instrumentation and serene harmonies, reinforcing why key tastemakers such as Line of Best Fit, Clash and Disco Naivete cite them as Ones to Watch. Rising Cardiff-based House duo, Bodhi turn in a sleek, sophisticated take on ‘Cloud 98 3/4′, extrapolating the original melody into mesmerising synth lines that ebb and flow over it’s course. Black Classical serves up a typically forward thinking electronic re-work, boasting plenty of resonant bass movement and well placed percussion. Rounding off the re-release Dobie goes in on the original to deliver a 4/4 roller aimed squarely at the dance floor.