When I announced I was doing a tribute mix about my favourite house production duo, I asked people to guess who it might be about. I got answers ranging from Masters At Work, Basement Boys, Burrell Brothers, Blaze, Basement Jaxx. It took about 20 guesses before someone guessed it right: Mood II Swing. That gave me the proof that these guys are criminally underrated, even right now as 90’s inspired house music is very much in style.
Mood II Swing (John Ciafone & Lem Springsteen) always had a cult following but never really quite crossed over into mainstream recognition. Although they kept on making music into the 2000’s their best work was without a doubt between ’93 and ’98. The duo formed in ’92 when they were discovered by Louie Vega (Masters At Work). They released under a few different names (Chronic Sounds, Club Kidds, Full Swing, Urbanized) and also released a few solo productions and remixes.
Their classic productions definitely had that street / hip-hop edge to it, which always appealed to me. If you listen to “Full Swing – Freestyle Groove” for example, it sounds like a house song made for breakers (on the same vibe as Pal Joey’s “Hot Music”). The thing I liked the most about their productions was their drum programming: always a bit more busy than straight 4/4 house tracks. It’s all those extra hi-hats, snares and claps that gave jacking (and SWING!) that feeling I love so much. Those classic Mood II Swing drums also made them crucial figures of the UK Garage movement as well, something that’s pretty rare for US artists. “Closer” is one of the few US House tracks that is also widely recognized as a UK anthem.
On top of those classic Dub versions which were often the best version on the 12″ (well… for me), they were also great at producing lush and pop-y tracks that everyone loved on a dance floor. “All Night Long” for example is one track that has been played by pretty much every house DJ in the last 15 years.
Much love to John Ciafone and Lem Springsteen for all their beautiful music.
Much love to the guys at Phonographe, a great website and collective from France. Check them out, they have tons of amazing stuff on there!
(P.S: I forgot to put “Function”. I’m an idiot)
01. Mood II Swing – Closer (Instrumental)
02. Mood II Swing – Closer (Dub)
03. Loni Clark – Rushing (Mood II Swing Dub)
04. Dis-N-Dat – Whoot There It Is (Mood II Swing Drumapella)
05. Full Swing – Freestyle Groove
06. Stephanie Cooke – Hold On To Your Love (Mood II Swing Dub)
07. Wall of Sound – I Need Your Love (Lem‘s Church Remix)
08. Masters At Work – Gonna Get Back To You (Mood II Swing Dub)
09. Mood II Swing – Move Me
10. Mood II Swing – Move Me (Alternate Mix)
11. Mood II Swing – Do It Your Way
12. Mood II Swing – Oooh
13. Flame – Crustation (Mood II Swing Dub)
14. Modjo – What I Mean (Mood II Swing Remix)
15. Mood II Swing – The Summer Swing
16. Sarah Washington – ? (Mood II Swing Remix)
17. BT – Remember (Mood II Swing Remix)
18. Chronic Sounds – Keep On Pushing Harder
19. Mood II Swing – On Your Knees
20. Wall of Sound – Penetration
21. Full Swing – Choices
22. Chronic Sounds – Evelins Basement
23. Mood II Swing – I See You Dancing
24. Mysterious People – Love Revolution (Mood II Swing Remix)
25. Mood II Swing – All Night Long