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Shirley Bassey 

Diamonds Are Forever -- The Remix Album (Nettwerk)

Beat diggers and sample addicts have been grafting Miss Shirley Bassey's sly grooves and blustery orchestrations to their electronic productions for several years now. The Tigress from Tiger Bay nurtured beats and harmonies that fueled jazz pop into a new transcendence of panache in the '60s and '70s, redefining glamour pop with massive arrangements, crafty urban rhythms, and deep vocals that embedded quivers in the spinal fluids of listeners -- and conceiving a musical wellspring for the future of DJ designs, including this remix compilation Diamonds Are Forever.

The Propellerheads used Bassey's booming libretto three years ago with "History Repeating," a track featured on the There's Something About Mary soundtrack. So it made sense when Propellerhead Alex Gifford selected the diva's most notorious score -- the James Bond number "Goldfinger," in which a devious funk guitar sample and beat laid the groundwork for John Barry's mammoth horn arrangement and Bassey's golden bravado -- as the track he would remix. AwayTeam kicks off the album appropriately with "Where Do I Begin," the theme from Love Story -- on it, a heavy bassline is dropped on a Tony Bennett-style swing chorus. Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez, of Masters at Work, remixes "Light My Fire" into a downtempo drum assault before Twelftree brings big beat mania to the same track on the "Lady's Mix." Nightmares on Wax's George Evelyn lays down a minimal hip-hop beat and key sample on "Easy Thing to Do," giving Bassey's voice free range to paint the perfect chilled jazz fantasy. Even Groove Armada's "Never Never Never" and DJ Skymoo's trance anthem "If You Go Away," both of which sound routine, can't harm this rebirth of style. Diamonds re-ignites Bassey's stellar reputation, resurrecting her career for the next century with a momentous reworking.

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More by Keith Gribbins

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