Review: Although little known in the UK, Sicilian singer Mario Biondi has sold huge amounts of records in his native Italy. It's not surprising, really, given the quality of his Barry White-esque deep and soulful vocal style. Here he pops up on Schema, offering up the seductive, slow dance-friendly silkiness of "Never Stop Dreaming" and the warm and groovy Philly Soul revivalism "Stay With Me". That track is given the once over by fellow Italian LTJ Xperience. Interestingly, his full vocal remix is faster, warmer and looser than his normal metronomic productions, while retaining his usual DJ-friendly grooves. His soulful house style instrumental Dub is pretty darn tasty, too.
This Is What You Are (feat The High Five Quintet - radio edit) (4:21)
This Is What You Are (The Brazilian Rime) (4:53)
Review: "This Is What You Are" is undoubtedly Mario Biondi's most celebrated work. He first sung it for original composers Was A Bee in 2004, before re-recording it for his debut album (alongside the High Five Quintet) in 2006. Since then it has been reissued or remixed on numerous occasions. Here it gets reissued on a tidy 7" single, with a punchy radio edit - a swinging, Sunday afternoon style chunk of Latin soul-jazz rich in jaunty grooves, soaring orchestration and smooth vocals - being joined by the "Brazilian Rime" rework. This tasty re-recording re-casts the song as a breezy, samba-fired slab of early 1970s style Brazilian MPB. It's an inspired interpretation and could well become the definitive version of the track.