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Infinity Within is the second album by Deee-Lite (who at the time comprised of Lady Miss Kier Kirby, Super DJ Dimitri Brill & Jungle DJ Towa Tei) and it was released by Elektra on June 23, 1992.
This was much less successful in terms of sales as its best recorded chart position was #37 on the UK Albums Chart. Its possible that as this was a more socially aware album covering issues such as voting, safe sex & the Ozone layer it was too ahead of its time for when it was released which may account for its poor chart showing.
Both the album and the single for I Had a Dream I Was Falling through a Hole in the Ozone Layer was issued in an eco-friendly package called the eco-pack that was mostly paper packaging that the customer folded into the shape of a traditional CD case once purchased.
So whats on Infinity Within then?
1 "I.F.O. (Identified Flying Object)" (featuring Arrested Development) 2:55.
This one kicks off with a few samples and a funky breakbeat before you get Kier's vocal submitted to a rather unusual muted treatment so as to make her sound a long way off, as if broadcasting over a ham radio. Arrested Development provide the main rapped lyrics with Kier filling in the odd call & response section. Oddest lyric in this track? "We're trying to conduct a fax orgy".
2 "Runaway" 3:54
This was the 1st single released off the album and spent 10 weeks on the Billboard dance chart reaching #1 (on July 18th 1992) where it stayed for 1 week after coming in at #10. And we're right back to the Chicago House influence with this one, its no shock it spent a lot of time in the US Billboard as its very dance orientated. Think "Jack Your Body" and you'd be in the right ballpark for sure.
There are some funk influences but it'd never win any song writing awards as its a very simplistic vocal with a few short hooks repeated ad infinitum.
3 "Heart Be Still" 4:10
That'll be Bootsy Collins at the start saying something about Monkeys. It's right into a funk inspired bass line thats almost certainly being played by Mr Collins too. The lyrics of this are at least a bit more involved with a nice poetic run. The horns are pretty cool as are the mixed down congas. If you were thinking there aren't any samples, that piano line is definately one and comes right from Dimitri's record box.
4 "I Won't Give Up" 4:24
I quite like the phazed guitar that is mirrored by a harp behind Kiers very simple intro. This is a killer soul track that always left me wondering why she never decided to go solo after the band folded as an entity. This track is very much in the genre of this like Show Me Love or Too Blind To See It but predates them both by several years so its fairly clear the band and Kier were quite influencial with their sound and style. It's hard to know if she's referring to either the band or her relationship with Dimitri in these lyrics as both were strained at this point.
5 "Vote, Baby, Vote" 0:32
It's short and sweet and was actually written to raise awareness for the younger demographic to get more young Americans to vote in the then upcoming Presidential elections. This track was actually played on tv and got the band countrywide recognition, this was one of their attempts to be a more grown-up band.
6 "Two Clouds above Nine" (featuring Jamal-ski) 5:08
This one is quite groovy. Great brass section behind a good breakbeat that doesn't get boring. Jamal-ski is the voice providing the "toasting" vocal in the middle. And no, it doesn't matter if you can't understand it. I quite like the line "Damn, It's my jam" as Kier sings at a great counterpoint to the main guitar line. It really shouldn't work but she manages to make it so.
7 "Electric Shock" 4:49
What a great Kraftwerk style intro, thats got Towa's fingerprints all over it. This is Deep House several years before the term would even be coined. The German synth influences are very eminent but really gel well with the late House style too. Its a very a bassy synth line with a kick snare holding things together. Many American artists would go on to mimic this style so once again its Deee-lite blazing the musical trail. Kier even sings that this is an "Electric Groove", an ideal description. If you can't hear how this massively influenced acts like Bizarre Inc and Sub Sub then you must be deaf.
8 "I Had a Dream I Was Falling through a Hole in the Ozone Layer" 5:38
The 3rd single from the album, no release date or chart position could be found for this track. That phazed intro is so laid back as to be horizontal. Now you might not realize it but this is Kier telling us to be more enviromentally aware. Yes, its the grown-up face of Deee-lite coming to the fore yet again along a funky groove. It may well be sung in the style of the Age of Aquarius but Kirby had her finger on the pulse telling us to stop ruining the ozone layer. "We breathe the future and we start to choke" - stark imagary indeed but hitting the message home for sure.
9 "Fuddy Duddy Judge" (featuring Michael Franti) 4:37
This has a very tribalistic intro before it kicks into a Grandmaster Flash inspired 80's breakbeat. Again Kier is pressing the awareness card here with references to things like Homelessness, joblessness and poor standards of education. Franti gives a killer rap section too. I did wonder if they tried to get Ice T to do this but he turned them down. The track itself is a good reflection of the have not society trying to better themselves. It's odd that the Judge of the title isn't even referenced until the final 30 seconds of the track.
10 "Pussycat Meow" 3:50
This was the 2nd single released off the album, it spent 12 weeks on the Billboard dance chart reaching #6 (on Jan 23rd 1993) where it stayed for 1 week after coming in at #12. I assume the actual cat noises are samples, but that's definately Kier saying "meow" and purring. It's scary how erotic she sounds doing it too, I love the way she fucks with my head at a subliminal way when she vocalizes like that.
Kirby wasn't afraid to explore her erotic side, she was pretty freaking awesome at it. A woman shouldn't be able to make a man react that way but Kier is definately a Greek siren luring me to my death on some jagged rocks somewhere for sure. Add underneath that a killer break and funky guitar and you've got a great track.
11 "Thank You Every Day" 6:21
More Deep House influences from our inovators yet again. Its a fairly simple lyric about how someone else can make you feel so much better just by being there, nothing thats going bring about World Peace but its a nice sentiment. Coupled to a counterpointed Hammond organ, a funky piano and banging bass drum gives you a cracker of a dance track.
I'm surprised the band never chose this as a single as I am sure it would have trampled the US Dance charts beneath its dancing feet. Heck, I'M grooving along to it RIGHT NOW as I type this! Have you any idea how hard it is to groove AND type at the same time?
12 "Rubber Lover" 3:59
This track was released as the b side of Runaway. And yes again its the grown-up face of Deee-lite, preaching a message of safe sex in a world becoming more concious of AIDS. Oh yes indeed, Miss Kirby is most definately telling you to wear a condom in not so many words. Its rumoured that their record company were quite unhappy about this particular track and requested several lyric rewrites which Kirby refused to do so you get the song as she wrote it, not as Elktra thought it should be. The drum track is crazy fast, the Hammond organ makes some nice fills that shouldnt work but do and yep thats Bootsy Collins saying "Skintight" in the background. With Kier telling you to "Have a good time" its hard not to think you will.
13 "Come on in, the Dreams Are Fine" 5:10
And another track that influenced the roots of Deep House. Its slow and laid back in a soulful style with a very counterpointed organ line and synth brass section probably coming right from the mind of Towa. I love the line "Light a candle to your soul, deja vu a thousand miles old", great imagery. The acid brass sample is definately something added by Dimitri and the flutes behind it are really nice and melodic.
From this track and the others it does make me wonder if Kirby went into song writing after the band folded as her lyrical talents are really well displayed here.
14 "Love is Everything" (bonus track) 5:28
So to the last and my favourite track on the album, the Larry Adler inspired harmonica, slow piano and Kiers relaxed vocal are soothing but arousing at same time. Here you can really tell how passionate Kirby actually is in both her lyrics and vocal delivery (damn but was Dimitri Brill a lucky man to have a firebrand like her as his girlfriend!). "Theres nothing else to say, the words just get in the way" - now does that speak volumes or what?
Some of the other tracks may have incredibly simple bubblegum lyrics but this is intensively creative writing at its best. Thats Bootsy Collins laughing as Kirby sings "Theres a smile on your face". After a really crappy day this track could de-stress absolutely anyone and leave you with a feeling of complete calmness and serenity - I know it helped me maintain a major grip on my own personal reality for which I have nothing but gratitude to both Kirby and Deee-lite.
(All times are approximate, taken off my own copy of the album)
Summing up:- Some of the tracks are plain old dance tunes requiring no thought but the others can be listened to on many levels. This may not have been Deee-lite's most successful album in terms of sales figures but its a far better crafted work than World Clique. It has lyrics to make you think, even the the US President requested usage of "Vote, Baby, Vote" to open the minds of Americas youth to political awareness. It's still as good today as it was almost 20 years ago and some of Deee-lite's more adult messages are common watchwords now. It can be enjoyed on several levels and is well worth yours or anyone elses money. Why are you still sitting here reading this, go out and buy it!
(This review also appears on Ciao! I am the original author)
DEEE LITE Infinity Within (1992 US Elektra 14-track CD album including Runaway and I.F.O. plus bonus track Love Is Everything superb fold-out colour eco-pak picture sleeve)