A lost gem from the compact but lustrous catalogue of V4Visions, a label that operated at the confluence of street soul, house, and rave in early-’90s England. Based in South London, vocalist Julian Ashaye and producer Alex Palmer recorded “Dreaming” in 1994 and, picking up on the jungle sound then taking off in the city, added a breakbeat-propelled mix on the flipside.
The 33-year-old Palmer had already passed through the rap and R&B scene when he fell in love with house music and in particular the deep-chill sound of Larry Heard’s project Fingers Inc, which featured the soulful tones of Robert Owens and Ron Wilson. Ashaye, a year younger than Palmer, had a similarly varied background, taking in ’70s smooth soul, the ultra-sweet reggae style of lover’s rock, and a stint singing in a jazz-funk band.
“Dreaming” began as a backing track built by Palmer. The tune’s wistful chords were affected by “a long day of misery” that came when his girlfriend’s sister suffered a miscarriage. Ashaye then developed a vocal melody and lyrics that tapped into the fragile melancholy but took them in a different direction: a reverie of romantic regret that mingled aching loss with joyful gratitude. “When I think about the good times… I treasure the moments that we had together, and all I want to do is keep your image in my mind, and keep you there all the time”.
Inspired by going to early jungle parties at venues like Adrenaline Village, the remix takes the lilting ballad and welds it to a loping breakbeat. The words are changed on this version to evoke the excitement and community feeling of entering a packed club: “Walking through the rave / I see the crew about the place.” Junglist catchphrases add vibe: “big up all the champagne crew!”, “oh gosh!”—resulting in a wind-your-waist anthem for the wind-down hours of an all-night rave.
- Ashay Dreaming (Jungle Mix)
- Ashay Dreaming (Original Mix)