In my estimation, these guys are the greatest production duo in house music. Yes, a lot of people will point eagerly to Masters At Work (indeed, the Mood ii Swing boys learnt their trade from this revered duo) but, for me, it’s a matter of taste rather than importance and influence: I just prefer the harder-edged immediacy of Mood ii Swing’s output.
During the 90s, MiiS (John Ciafone and Lem Springsteen) churned out a high turnout of essential cuts, spanning soulful garage, transcendental dancefloor revelations along with their renowned, more muscular dubs which always acted as a stamp of quality when seen on the back of a record.
They kept a low profile during their period of prominence but it’s good to see them getting the recognition they deserve in the last few years with online magazines like RA and Fact running features on them.
What you have here is a list of no bullshit, superlative house classics. You might question that fifty is too much? It certainly isn’t! In fact, I could easily have stretched this out to sixty and had a headache or two while deciding which tracks to leave out. Rest assured, every cut on here is essential.
This list is something you need to listen to whether you’re a fan of dance music or heck just dancing in general. I’ve been a bit cheeky by including some remixes of MiiS by other artists and there’s a John Ciafone solo production in there too but I thought I’d be embracing of every bit of goodness brought about by these legends.
This list was the fruit of a whole day’s labour spent on discogs trawling through their archives catching up on their work I had not yet listened to. Although I really shouldn’t call it ‘labour’ – unearthing so many of their hidden gems more than made up for the square eyes!
- ‘Don’t Mess With My Man (Mood II Swing Main Vocal Mix)’ – Lucy Pearl
A funky, bumpin’ remix of a well-known hit from 2000.
- ‘I Want Your Love (Mood II Swing’s Vocal Dub)’ – The Adventures Of Daniel Lite Starring Lorraine Chambers
A great opening on this one. ‘What you mean… what you meeeean!’
- ‘Critical (If You Only Knew) (Mood II Swing Slammin’ Dub)’ – Wall Of Sound Feat. Gerald Lethan
One of their darkest cuts. That bassline is downright sinister!
- ‘Gonna Get Back To You (Mood II Swing “Big Thick” Dub)’ – Masters At Work Feat. Xaviera Gold
One of their first turns at production: chugging bass, sax stabs and a nasty synth line ensured it was a successful one.
- ‘Bonafide (Mood II Swing Mix)’ – Druw & Perez
From ’06, proving they were still in the game.
- ‘Callin’ U (Mood II Swing Vocal)’ – A:xus Feat. Naomi
From the off you know you’re hearing something special… and then that bassline kicks in! A wonderfully smooth tune as functional in your living room as it is on a dancefloor.
- ‘Remember (Mood II Swing Dub)’ – BT
Hypnotic, rhythmic and dissociative. It could easily be dropped into a techno set.
- ‘You Can Take Me (Girl Mix)’ – The Club Kidds
A real cheery, uplifting number. That flute and those strings are heaven.
42.‘Penetration’ – Mood ii Swing Productions Presents Wall Of Sound
Another joyous tune. Will keep you grinning for the duration.
- ‘Chicago Blues’ – Mood ii Swing
A real charming track this. Quite melancholic sounding with fantastic sax and a clever, original bassline.
- ‘What I Mean (Mood II Swing Vocal Dub Remix)’ – Modjo
Another of their fat-ass dubs. Lovely atmospheric feel to this with catchy vocals, ‘I can’t stand the way she broke my heart.’
- ‘Can’t Get Away (Blaze Remix)’ – Mood ii Swing
Luxurious, soulful remix from Blaze, house legends in their own right.
- ‘I Want Your Love (Lem’s Blue Mood)’ – The Adventures of Daniel Lite Starring Lorraine Chambers
Glorious, blissful take on this tune from Springsteen.
- ‘Love Revolution (Mood II Swing Remix 2)’ – Mysterious People
All about that low-slung bass and crisp percussion. Potent enough to precipiate a moment on the dancefloor.
- ‘Curious (Vocal Mix)’ – Sun Sun Sun
Louie Vega joined MiiS for this record. Pure summer vibes on this one – that organ is immense.
- ‘Mighty Power Of Love (Mood II Swing Vox Mix)’ – Leee John
Oozing soul and class. I love the vocals on this. Can only imagine the destruction it would cause on the right dancefloor. Great bassline thrown in for the second half of the tune.
- ‘Uh – Huh (12” Vocal)’ – Terri & Monica
Light as a feather. Sheer class.
- ‘The Right Way (Mood II Swing Dub Mix)’ – Eric Gadd
An underrated bomb. Heavy and funky in equal measure.
- Rushing (Mood II Swing Dub)’ – Loni Clark
The fact that they came up with this in 1993 says it all – you could easily fit this in a set today. Apart from the brash diva vocals, it has aged well.
- ‘Flame (Mood II Swing Vocal Mix)’ – Crustation
Relax, this isn’t the dub mix – that would have to be top ten at least wouldn’t it! Nevertheless, this version is well able to hold its own. Dreamy and spacey, they did a great job of cutting up those vocals.
- ‘Call Me (Moody Dub)’ – Mood ii Swing
A remix courtesy of DJ Duke. Like the purr of a sports car, this is the definition of rolling.
- ‘When The Funk Hits The Fan (Mood II Swing Main Pass)’ – King Britt Presents Sylk 130
Light and breezy remix with an almighty bassline.
- ‘I Need Your Luv (Right Now) (Lem’s Church Mix)’ – Mood ii Swing Productions Presents Wall Of Sound
A barnstorming slice from 1992 that helped establish their name.
- ‘Shout-N-Out’ – Lood Feat. Donell Rush
Another feature from Louie Vega here. Surely one of the hardest hitting garage bassline there ever was. Great scatting from the late Donell Rush too.
- ‘Love’s Got Me (On A Trip So High) (Mood II Swing Dub) – Loni Clark
One of their deepest tracks.
- ‘Helpless (The Kenlou Remix)’ – Urbanisd Feat. Silvano
A classic MAW remix here. A shining exemplar of house music.
- ‘Bonafide (Mood II Swing Dub)’ – Druw & Perez
A surprise entry perhaps but it’s just too massive to rank any lower than this.
- ‘Move Me (Alternative Mix)’ – Mood ii Swing
A lesson in groove… sometimes that’s all you want.
- ‘Living In Ecstasy (J.C.’s Ecstasy Dub)’ – Fonda Rae
Heavy, heavy, heavy…
20. ‘Do It Your Way’ – Mood ii Swing
A hard groover with an inspired vocal sample.
19. ‘I See You Dancing (Remix)’ – Mood ii Swing Feat. John Ciafone
A vigorous tune. Will reenergise a dancefloor instantly. Love that trippy, reaching synth.
18. ‘Callin’ U (Mood II Swing Dub)’ – A.xus Feat. Naomi
Driving, gnarly funk for peak time.
17. ‘Have U Ever (Boss Mix)’ – Mood ii Swing Present Ulterior Motives
Atmospheric garage bomb.
16. ‘Love Revolution (Mood II Swing Remix 1)’ – Mysterious People
Drums, vocals, strings, bass – this couldn’t be any more on point.
15. ‘Searchin’ (Dub Mix – Benji Candelario Edit)’ – Mood ii Swing Presents Loni Clark
Emotive and absorbing – a tune to lose yourself in.
14. ‘Boy Pop (The Deeper X Dub)’ – Book Of Love
So simple. So infectious. So huge.
13. ‘Free (Mood II Swing Extended Vocal Mix)’ – Ultra Naté
Everyone knows this one. Produced by MiiS but unfortunately they were never credited officially for it.
12. ‘Mr Gorgeous (And Miss Curvaceous) (Mood II Swing Vocal Mix)’ – Mr. Gorgeous (And Miss Curvaceous)
I first heard this on a Mr G mix. Dark, deep and moody, it certainly suited his style.
11. ‘Sunlight In My Eyes’ – Mood ii Swing
I’m going to cheat here and lift a review from discogs user restless. Lovely comment this:
‘… one of Mood II Swing’s absolute states of grace, a cheerful, feelgood, melancholic monument of deep house bliss with dreamy pads, that was made for these early morning moments of general connection and let-go vibe that can bring a party into a next level state of communion, well-being and sweet euphoria. A truly deep and magic tune.’
10. ‘Closer (King Street Moody Club) – Mood ii Swing Feat. Carol Sylvan
The jewel in their crown.
- ‘Don’t Mess With My Man (Mood II Swing Hard Dub)’ – Lucy Pearl
Lord almighty… what a facemelter.
- ‘Learn 2 Luv (Mood II Swing Vocal)’ – Kim English
A unique track on this list as I love it as much for Kim English’s inspiring vocals as for that delicious bassline and those dreamy pads.
- ‘Call Me (Mood ii Swing Remix) – Mood ii Swing
- ‘Move Me’ – Mood ii Swing
How to make people lose their minds on a dancefloor.
- ‘Everything (Mood II Swing Club Dub)’ – Sarah Washington
A track that will elevate you above your worries for seven and a half minutes.
- ‘Flame (Borderline Insanity Dub Mix)’ – Crustation
This is such a creative, original track – you won’t find another like it. Who knows what was going through their minds when they came up with this! Trippy as hell, it does indeed border on the insane.
- ‘Stand Up (Mood II Swing Dub Mix)’ – Precious
The type of track you never want to end. Criminally overlooked.
- ‘All Night Long’ – Mood ii Swing
Shivers. A remarkably well-rounded dance song. In a different world, this would have made it to number one in the charts.
- ‘Ohh’ – Mood ii Swing Feat. John Ciafone
I have no hesitation in revealing that this is my favourite house track of all time. The synths are mind-bending, the tension eye-watering and the vocals indistinct but somehow meaningful.