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2 Unlimited – No Limits [1993]

August 8, 2009

Techno-making, no mistaking, never fakin’, always breaking it down, UH to a party’

Ray Slijngaard (‘Let My Beat Control Your Body’)

Possibly because through them the producers in the driving seat were fulfilling their stud-encrusted pleather fantasies but there was a bottomless pit full of female singer/black rapper duos in the heydays of Eurodance. It was the quintessential act: Cappella, La Bouche, Culture Beat, T-Spoon, Magic Affair, E-Rotic, Twenty 4 Seven, Pharao…this might be the longest list in the history of lists.

But no one rocked this format better than Ray and Anita of 2 Unlimited. Never pandering to the summer hits crowd with reggae-tinged jingle pop and a few easy-to-follow dance moves; they were technoheads right down the line. With Belgium producers John Paul De Coster and Phil Wilde behind them, this Dutch twosome with their ridiculous good looks presented rave as drug-free and child-friendly to the readers of Smash Hits and their European equivalents. And their second release No Limits! is undoubtedly the definitive album of the era.

Kicking off with the hits [no no, no no no no, no no no no, no no there’s] ‘No Limit’ and ‘Tribal Dance’ you might think they’d powered out. And certainly whoever owned the cassette version of the album I managed to get my hands on seemed to think so as those first tracks are distinctly woozy from stretched tape and repeated play. But then ‘Mysterious’ hits, Ray announces ‘it’s time to make the floor burn’ and so they light their BPMs on fire and throw them into the masses like a Hi-NRG Molotov cocktail. You are not allowed to take a break, and god forbid, you sit down.

The harder the beats the more soothing Anita’s voice is and once you throw in Ray’s oft-banal but brilliant rapping, it’s pure Eurodance genius. ‘Faces’, ‘The Power Age’, ‘Throw the Groove Down’, ‘R.U.OK.’ all putting in a combined effort to work your heart rate into a frenzy. But once ‘Let The Beat Control Your Body’ drops, pushing out the last droplets technojuice you know you’re over the hump and ‘Invite Me To Trance’ can lull you back down. Happy days.

[Originally reviewed for PUB.lication: The Eurodance Issue]

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