‘Best New music’ this week comes in from hit makers of the ‘80’s – Balearic duo Tim Stahl and John Guldberg formed Laid Back way back in the late ‘70s in their native Denmark. Their debut album Laid Back featuring their first #1 hit “Maybe I’m Crazy” was released in 1981 followed by their international hit, 1982’s “Sunshine Reggae” which went to #1 in 22 countries including Germany and Italy and went on to sell 20 million units; the best was yet to come for the duo though.
In 1983 the band released their most recognizable track “White Horse“, this funk-influenced dance track, with a memorable two-step bassline and ambiguous drug and/or sex-themed lyrics (“white horse” being a slang for heroin) that became popular in US clubs. It’s seminal synthesizer melody has been sampled to varying degrees of success since then.
Featuring on “Drop It Like It’s Hot”, a song by Snoop Dogg on his album R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece in 2004, “White Horse” was also sampled in the DJ Wayne Williams Ol’ Skool Remix of “SexyBack” which appears on the deluxe edition of Justin Timberlake’s 2006 album FutureSex/LoveSounds and has even been sampled in the song “Be Free” by The Black Eyed Peas on their 1998 album Behind the Front.
Whilst the band continued to release music, compose film scores and play festivals, it was their 2005 single, “Beautiful Day”, which was remixed by Trentemoeller, to great feedback, that led to the band finding themselves back in the limelight. Fast forward to the present day, where once again House and Electronic music reigns supreme in clubs up and down the country, and where Music For Dreams, the label run by esteemed techno and electronica DJ, Kenneth Bager, is releasing a new EP from this enigmatic act Laid Back entitled “F**k/Don’t Step On The Grass”. The EP, which is already being supported by Tensnake, Soul Clap, Peter Kruder, Chris Massey, and Balearic Gabba Sound System, is also gaining airplay on Juice FM, Zen FM, Radio Reverb, Samurai FM, NTS, Different Grooves, Sunshine Live, Fritz, Radio Eins and Ibiza Sonica.
“F**k (The Kenneth Bager Experience Remix)”:
“F**k (The Kenneth Bager Experience Remix)” is classically minimal, as one would expect from the band, it’s archetypal 80’s bassline nods to the band’s heritage while the gravelly vocals meld seductively to create an atmosphere reminiscent of the early days of House music which has its roots in Chicago of the 1980’s. On the flipside is Laid Back’s “Don’t Step On The Grass (remix)”, dub flavours tinge this remix whilst electric guitar leads the melody.
The bubbling dub bassline gives way to the same gravelly vocal – this time joined by an auto-tuned backing and synth. The impact is typically ‘laid back’ – the band remaining true to their identity until the very end; however what this version also offers is layers of sound, the combination of various elements building to create a sonic experience that manages to avoid being cluttered and busy, a track that was never meant to be a mainroom banger, but is no less pleasurable for that.
Music For Dreams founder Kenneth Bager started out as a DJ in 1979, and has excelled playing a numerous of styles including House, Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk, Electro, Reggae, Mombathon, Rock, Disco, Chill Out, and Balearic – any music with a strong identity. A certified soundsmith, his collection reportedly boasts well over 70, 000 vinyls and CDs. In 1992, he released the remix of The Overlords’ “Sundown” – a remix that took two months to make and became an European techno classic.
“Don’t Step On The Grass (Remix)”:
Next up was his 2-CD compilation called Music For Dreams which lead to the label of the same name, it started out as a lounge/chill label but has evolved into a label without any boundaries: In 2013, Kenneth Bager was resident DJ in Cafe Mambo in Ibiza, where thirteen Music For Dreams Sunday events were held, featuring live music combined with guest DJs and artists, which included legendary danish duo Laid Back. Stahl and Guldberg were playing in Ibiza for the first time at the Music For Dreams events.
Fast forward to 2014, and Laid Back’s new single “F**k/Don’t Step On the Grass” is now the 100th digital single to be released from Music For Dreams. Since the very beginning, Laid Back have maintained a unique ability to sound exactly like themselves, while constantly navigating towards new sonic territories. This also defines their latest double album Uptimistic Music, which was recorded in the exact same Copenhagen studio they have used throughout their career. Laid Back’s “F**k/Don’t Step On The Grass” is out now on Music For Dreams and can be purchased here.
“F**k (Dub Mix)”:
Words by Akua Ofei // Edited by Ayo Adepoju