The best new singles this week
by Juno Daily on 17.10.2022 at 17:11pm. Last edited: 17.10.2022 at 18:05pm.
Our writers recommend their ‘don’t miss’ singles
Paesaggi Records launch their new Presagi offshoot with an enchanting re-issue, offering Balearic disco lovers a much-needed opportunity to own Laurie Miller’s exquisite ‘Love Is A Natural Magical Thing.’ The Record was originally released back in 1986, shortly after Miller parted ways with the influential Latin freestyle group, Exposé – a then-burgeoning band with whom she’d scored a pair of club hits as well as an album deal with Arista. Keen to pursue her music career as a solo artist, Laurie and her close friend, Debbie Ohanian, self-released the EP on the short-lived Meet Me In Miami label.
Various contributing factors meant the release didn’t initially garner the attention it deserved, but the enigmatic charm of ‘Love Is…’ ensured that, over time, the music found the collective ears of its rightful audience. Thanks to its seductive yet gorgeously innocent lead vocal, infectious bass, and shimmering synth stabs, the record became a cult classic among in-the-know collectors, with original copies changing hands for hefty sums on the resale market. Here, the original version is rescued from the master tapes, allowing Miller’s dreamy chorus line to echo once more across twilit skies and balmy ocean horizons.
The inclusion of Bob Rosenberg’s hand-spliced dub mix further sweetens the deal, with its stripped-to-the-bone aesthetic and boundless delay tails, as does the contemporary retake from edit specialist, Skyrager. Ultimately though, the boundless allure of the original is more than enough reason to own the record, so probably best not to drag your feet on this one. Highly recommended and a certified Balearic classic.
"It’s the universe making it all good again" – Laurie Miller on the joys of her
'Love Is...' re-issue
We catch up with Laurie from her Miami base...
Words by Rocco Universal
For all but the fussiest or most moneyed of record collectors, whenever a sought-after gem from the wants list is lovingly re-issued, a gentle charge of joy is sure to ensue.
Imagine, then, the pleasure generated in the soul of the music's creator when they discover, after many years, that the title they believed to have been hoovered into the unending musical ether had been covertly enlivening distant audiences the entire time.
Laurie Miller's 'Love Is A Natural Magical Thing' has just been re-issued by Paesaggi Records under their new Presagi sub-label. With its innocent-but-seductive vocal, infectious synth-pop aesthetic and unashamedly feel-good flow, it isn't difficult to grasp how the record garnered secret weapon status among esoterically-minded selectors.
For Miami-based Laurie, however, the renewed interest in the music came as something of a surprise. “It’s incredible! I had no idea until Zeno from Paesaggi reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in re-releasing the record,” she says, naturally thrilled by the belated recognition the music is receiving. “In a way, it’s the universe making it all good again. Love conquers all!”
Meandering back through space and time to Miami in the mid-'80s, Laurie had recently parted ways from the all-girl group Exposé – with whom recently scored a pair of club hits and an album deal with Arista Records, alongside band mates, Sandee Casanas and Alé Lorenzo. Laurie was keen to continue her career as a solo artist, and, inspired by the music of Matt Bianco's Basia and Peter White, “among so many others,” she set about actualizing her ambition. “I had been working with Michael [Morejon] on two songs while I was still in Exposé – 'Love is...' and another song called 'Just for You'. When I had decided to leave, my good friend Debbie Ohanian wanted to help me release the songs.”
The pair had previously worked together designing the costumes for Exposé, and Debbie ran a successful clothing brand at the time. Full of optimism and a can-do spirit, they adopted a DIY approach to publishing the music. “[Debbie] created a label called Meet Me In Miami Records after her clothing line, stating, 'If I can sell clothes, I can sell records!' Not necessarily true!”
Aside from the label's slightly naive sales strategy, the circumstances surrounding Laurie's recent Exposé exit contributed to the record under performing the first time around. “There were some issues and a lot of interference from Pantera [Records]. I left Exposé rather abruptly and they were pissed,” recalls Laurie. “We had finished the album 'Exposure' so they had to go back in and re-record all my leads... [but] that’s a whole other story.”
Happily, the irresistible appeal of the music – not least Laurie's enchanting vocal lead – meant the slow-burning track continued to smoulder long after its release, eventually garnering a cult following among in-the-know diggers. Unbeknown to Laurie, 'Love Is A Natural Magical Thing' had become a Balearic unclassic over time, with copies of the original pressing changing hands for hefty sums on the resale market, a turn of events that came as a pleasant surprise to the unsuspecting artist.
“I can’t even express how much this means to me,” says Laurie, recalling the laborious task of assembling the sought-after dub mix. “I always loved this song and was especially proud of the dub version that Bob Rosenberg did – this was back in the day when we sat for hours while he hand spliced the whole thing!” Along with the original and dub, the label saw fit to commission a remix from Danny 'Skyrager' McLewin, with his edit winning Laurie's seal of approval “[I'm] so psyched that Skyrager did a mix as well, really so honoured and grateful.”
Today, Laurie puts her far-reaching skills to good use working as a Creative Director and Concierge for Preferred Jewelers International™ and Continental Buying Group. “A very close friend that I had done theatre with over 30 years ago brought me in under her wing [to work] for her two companies. My position here is so wide-ranged that I can use all of my diversified talents.”
While her current role has left little time to record new material, she has returned to the studio in recent months to re-imagine a selection of vintage Exposé tracks. “I did go in recently with [producer] Lewis Martinee to rework some tracks for a recent performance to honour the original Exposé,” she says. “We have also been revisiting some original tracks we created in the early ’90s with my good friend and music collaborator, Jeff Hinz, with a project called One World.”
If her solo material has struck a chord with new audiences in recent years, it seems the same is true of the Exposé sound. “There is a documentary coming out soon about the story of the original line-up and the making of ‘Point Of No Return’. As we’ve learned with ‘Love is A Natural Magical Thing’, you just never know when the time might be right... again!”
In the past year, Laurie has appeared in multiple on-camera interviews to discuss the band’s original line-up and has contributed to podcasts highlighting the music of the era. “There has been so much interest in the original Exposé. So many people reached out wanting to know the story about us, that it inspired me to start writing my memoir and documenting the timeline.”
Both the 'Love Is...' re-issue and renewed interest in the kaleidoscopic sounds of '80s Miami have allowed Laurie a moment to reflect on the joyful milieu that exploded in the Florida city at the time. “The Miami Music scene was incredible in the '80s,” she says. “I am so proud to have been a part of it and a part of that family of incredible entertainers that came out of Miami. There was so much camaraderie between everyone.”
“To have this energy now about my solo project has been so wonderful and I am so grateful to all the DJs and collectors that have supported and loved this project.”
Laurie Miller 'Love Is A Natural Magical Thing' is out now, you can buy it here
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Review on Juno Records;
💖 Love is a Natural Magical Thing 💖
Although best-known for her work as part of legendary freestyle outfit Expose, Laurie Miller released a handful of now sought-after solo singles in the mid 1980s. 'Love is a Natural Magical Thing', which originally slipped out in 1986 on a tiny, Miami-based label, is the most celebrated of these. It's undeniably brilliant - a sweet, bubbly, classy and addictive fusion of club-focused freestyle and radio-friendly synth-pop, with Miller's breathy lead vocal catching the ear even more than the track's killer bass line and chiming lead lines. On this edition, the original 12" mix comes backed with the Latin Rascals style dub mix (a genuine killer for those who love drum edits and copious amounts of delay) and a classy, stretched-out contemporary re-edit courtesy of Skyrager.
(Click the picture below to go to Rubadub where they still have it in stock)