Various Artists - Carl Douglas - "Kung Fu Fighting"
[Echo Beach, www.echobeach.de]

When Carl Douglas released his hit "Kung Fu Fighting" thirty years ago in 1974, he had no idea that it would garner such attention or that it would attract such an array of artists who jumped at the chance to re-mix it. [In fact, I’m sure the word re-mix didn’t exist at the time this song was originally released] Thirty years on, it’s 2004, and German dub label Echo Beach invites some of the finest musicologist and asks them to re-invent the song from scratch. Some do it better than others. Noiseshaper, Dreadzone, Kid Loco and even Rob Smith don’t bring much freshness to the song. These mixes sound limp and rather tired. It’s as if these artists just gave up on the song and completed their remixes for the hell of being included on this compilation. Things do improve with Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound version as the dub finally shines for the first time on this record. The bass is deeper, and the grooves are meaner. The reverb-heavy Audio Active re-mix is a complete knock-out as it keeps the vocals to a bare minimum. Pole’s take on the song is rather bare, with only a few vocal samples from the original. German producers Salz get top marks for moving "Kung Fu Fighting" into house territory, and for giving it a truly unique sound [in their world, it’s nearly unrecognizable]. Though not all takes on the original song work well, most succeed in reinventing this classic. Overall, much respect is due to Echo Beach for bringing a diverse group of producers to tackle Carl Douglas’ hit song. Carl can now finally claim to be more than a one-hit wonder.

Tom Sekowski


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