R.I.P. Robert Miles, Dance Music Pioneer

DJ Robert Miles has died after a brief illness. If you listened to music in the 90s, you can’t have missed the genius of Italian born DJ/music producer Robert Miles, even today DJ’s sample his music worldwide.

“Children” is the most iconic of hits in the history of dance music and really defined his career and revolutionized dance music, creating an entire genre “Dream House” which brought trance music to the mainstream. In clubs they used to have this as the last track of the night.

It is a track that is very moving and brings strong emotions.

After Miles performed this music in a club, a girl approached him in tears. “What music is this?” she asked him. It was a moment he will never forget that moment, realizing that his feelings had been conveyed through his music. His dream turned into reality.

Children:

Fable was another one of his fantastic tracks…featured in the movie “Ever After” (with Drew Barrymore).

Fable:

 

 

 

Disco Pioneers: Indian Born Music Producer Biddu and Tina Charles

Back in the ‘70s Tina Charles was a very talented English singer and at the time doing only backup vocals for groups, and wasn’t getting recognition. It wasn’t until she met Indian born British music producer Biddu who produced her immortal hit “I love to love”. I remember watching this song premier on “Top of the Pops” back in ’76. It still sounds fresh almost 40 years later!

Biddu is considered one of the pioneers of Disco, Euro-Disco and South Asian Pop (Indipop) music. He was hailed as one of the “50 Greatest Music Producers of All Time” by New Musical Express.  His international breakthrough came in 1974 with “Kung Fu Fighting” performed by Carl Douglas; the song became one of the best-selling singles of all time with eleven million records sold, helped popularize disco music. It was the first worldwide disco hit from Britain and Europe, and established Biddu as one of the most prolific dance music producers from outside the United States at the time.

He also produced “Disco Deewane” for Nazia and Zoeb Hassan which went on to become the biggest selling pop album in South Asia and launched an entire genre of South Asian pop music. I lived in Africa at the time, it was heard everywhere from corner shops to clubs.

Ezel – Turkish Series on Netflix

Three of my addictions… I like to read books from foreign authors (Japan and Scandinavian countries mostly but also some South and South East Asian); listen to foreign music (from everywhere) and watch foreign movies and TV series (Korean, Japanese, Scandinavian, Eastern European, Latin American). I find most American music is just noise – nothing really artistic; and American films and TV series are clichéd, predictable and overrated. Made using the studio cookie cutter formulas – rarely something inspiring comes along. These days even here in Hollywood, they are buying rights to scripts and plots from foreign films and TV series and re-making them as American.

Turkey is one such place where the hottest TV shows come from now. Turkey went from nothing to become the largest producer or TV shows.

Angelina Jolie, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nancy Ajram and other celebrities will appear in roles in a new Turkish series about Syrian refugees…that’s the power of Turkish TV. The production values are higher and licensing fees around the world for many of the Turkish TV series are even higher than American ones, that’s how much the demand is for them. As one Hollywood studio executive said “We’re all learning Turkish now”. When the Turkish drama 1001 Nights aired in Chile in 2014, the ratings beat all the Latin telenovelas and there was a sudden rise in the number of children named Onur and Sehrazat – the main characters in the series. In Israel-Palestine, there were reports that between 3-4pm when a popular Turkish drama airs, everyone stops fighting….governments can’t bring peace there but Turkish dramas can it seems. In India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the number one ratings aren’t for Indian or Pakistani shows but Turkish ones. Turkey is mounting an attack on some of the foremost sources of entertainment for the world. Here’s looking at you, Hollywood and Bollywood.

Currently I am a big fan of a slick Turkish series called Ezel. The story is a revenge crime drama inspired by Alexander Dumas’ novel “The Count of Monte Cristo” (one of my favorite books of all time I have read it so many times but still enjoy it so much that I stay up to finish it).  Normally though I get disappointed by the screen adaptations as they don’t live up to the novel.

However, Ezel was a game changer. Hailed as the best Turkish series ever produced, it tells the story in present and in flashbacks. Originally Dumas wanted to tell the story of “The Count of Monte Christo” in flashbacks, Ezel uses time as a tool going back and forth. However the tale of Ezel doesn’t follow the novel. It is set in present day Turkey and Cyprus instead of 19th century Paris and defies genre as it is a revenge crime thriller, drama, action, mystery, romance. The actors are all brilliant in their roles and the story itself is very poetic….Betrayal tears them apart, revenge brings them together.

 The soundtrack is a masterpiece. Every musical piece in the thrilling scenes or dramatic is moving and fantastic. It has one of the best soundtracks by Toygar Isikli who has created a masterpiece of music that lives up to legendary screen music like the ones from “Last of the Mohicans”, “1492: Conquest of Paradise” and “The Godfather”.

 The series was licensed in about 100 countries, dubbed in many different languages and has even been re-made by Mexico (as Yago) and Armenia (as Ancanoty). A Hollywood re-make is also in the works.

 Here’s one of the gentler tracks from the soundtracks that is one of my favorites: