Discovering the ’80s Swedish remix phenomenon with Mount Liberation Unlimited

By in Features





Labels Beat Box and SweMix helped bring Italo disco and proto-house to the Swedish dance floors of the 1980s. Mount Liberation Unlimited take you there with this joyous 90-minute mix.

If you ever go digging for records in rural Sweden you’re bound to start bumping into the Beat Box logo. It’s everywhere. Usually sporting generic Italo and Eurodisco re-releases from labels like ZYX or Disco Magic, Beat Box was a label run by record shop Vinyl Mania, which was based in Stockholm in the ’80s. Its focus was to license both popular and lesser known tracks, and re-release them to the Swedish DJ market. Nothing revolutionary or particularly interesting there. But after picking up a few releases you’ll notice that some of them have so called “Swedish Remixes” on the flip, which is where things get a little tasty.

One of the owners of the Vinyl Mania shop, a guy called Fredrik Ramel supposedly thought that one of the tracks he licensed for re-release had a really “weak” mix. So he asked studio engineer Gunnar Silins if he could help to remix the track with him. He acquired the master tapes from the label who shipped them from Italy, and together they started to cut, re-edit, extend and overdub the track. The result was a success and the Swedish remix was born. Over the years, Ramel and Silins ended up doing more than 50 Swedish remixes together. While some have obviously stood the test of time better than others, there’s always a sense of wacky-ness, joy and dance floor creativity to them, many of which have become staples in our DJ sets.

In a somewhat similar vein, with the will to create a DJ-pool-service in Stockholm, the DJ collective and label SweMix was set up in ’86. Consisting foremost of Denniz Pop and StoneBridge, they started remixing popular Swedish tracks from the era, as well as releasing their own original productions (and later also signing artists). SweMix got pretty big over the years and later evolved into the production company Cherion, where Denniz Pop became the mentor of Max Martin. He ended up producing the likes of Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys, which is pretty ridiculous when you listen back to the early stuff.

Both of these labels and the people affiliated with them had a huge impact on spreading Italo- and (proto)-house to the Swedish market. The idea of this mix was to showcase the width, quality and ingenuity of the sound these people produced, and to pay homage to a sound and era that’s often looked down on. We can guarantee that most records in this mix cost less than a dollar on Discogs. There’s no shame in the dollar bin game.

This mix is dedicated to Denniz Pop, Gunnar Silins and Christian Falk from these crews who sadly all left planet earth way too early.

Brother (Deep Mix)
(SweMix, 1991)


Kayo was one of SweMix’s own signees who later carried on to become a Eurovision pop-star. This single from her first album is turned into a deeper-than-deep after hours trip-hop burner by the SweMix crew. Tip!

Endia Johnson
Love Education (Swedish Remix)
(Beat Box, 1986)


In its original form this is a Patrick Adams production, which says a bit about Ramels’ ear for quality productions. We actually prefer the Swedish Remix though, which strips it down, adds another 2 minutes and a fair bit of funky ROM-percussion.

Terry Leigh
Everybody Can’t Win (Frequency Modulation Trash Mix)
(SweMix, 1989)


Twisted early acid house from ’88 made even more twisted by the Swedes of The Real Dynamic Duo. Would love to know how this sounded to our parents’ ears back in the ’80s.

Paris Grey
Don’t Make Me Jack (Piano Attack)
(Btech, 1989)


Pretty bold move to take on this Detroit classic from TRAX and redo it into a house-piano anthem. This feels like the quintessential SweMix sound, and you can definitely hear that they had talent that reached way beyond the underground dance floors.

All My Love (Swedish Remix)
(Beat Box, 1986)


This track really showcases Ramels and Silins’ capability, not only for re-arranging a track for the dance floor, but also properly beefing up the sound. A fun thing with a lot of these Swedish Remixes is that they often sound better than the originals due to their brutal re-mixing and mastering. If they were released today, Hardwax would most probably describe them as “Cut on a loud 12-inch”.


1. Babys Gang – America (Acapella)
2. Alisha – Stargazing (Swedish Remix)
3. Cyber People – Doctor Faustus (Swedish Remix)
4. Stonebridge – Jazzy Johns Freestyle Dub
5. Kayo – Brother (Deep Mix)
6. Dr. Alban – One Love (Africana Version)
7. Stretch – Why Did You Do It (Fredrik Ramels One-Two Jazz Mix)
8. Patricia Harris – Heaven’s in the Backseat of my Cadillac (Swedish Remix)
9. GMT One – Rappin Nights (Swedish Remix)
10. Digital Game – Boogie Man (Swedish Remix)
11. Endia Jones – Love Education (Swedish Remix)
12. Dust Man – King of the Ghetto (Swedish Remix)
13. Dynamic Duo – Du kan Ingenting
14. Terry Leigh – Everybody Can’t Win (Frequency Modulation Trash Mix)
15. Parris Grey – Don’t Make Me Jack (Piano Attack)
16. Stonebridge – Digital Shoom
17. Het Sak – Bonus Acapella
18. Portofino – All My Love (Swedish Remix)
19. Destination – You and I (Swedish Remix)

Mount Liberation Unlimited’s self-titled debut album is out now on Studio Barnhus.