Monday, 24 November 2008

disco wars + victors' (in)justice

History is always written by the victors,and when it came to the disco wars on the Italo frontline of the late 70's / 80's, it was the purveyors of dodgy hi energy and soulless pop who came out on top, with the early 90's excesses of Stock, Aitken and Waterman the final, life sapping embodiment of the death of Moroder and co's original machine funk dreams.

But with the real history of Italo disco slowly emerging in the last decade, as restless young heads dig ever deeper into the vaults, forgotten heroes such as Danielle Baldelli and Beppe Loda have finally started getting the attention they long deserved.

Their shared love of everything from Afro Rhythms to the European avantgarde is now recognised as the original, multicultural, polyrhythmic foundation upon which Italo disco was built, before the relentless plasticization set in.

Having begun DJing in Brescia aged 16, Loda was resident at Gambara's soon to be legendary Typhoon club from 1980 until the club closed in the same year as the Paradise Garage, a year before acid house kicked off in 1987.

Over the last few years, Beppe's name has walked out of the history books and back into nightclubs and record collections as Scandinavian nu disco playas in particular started paying respect. His DJs sets and "Typhoon Edits" series are now popping up all over the European underground and beyond.

To mark the Egotrya remix 12 " package due soon on People in the Sky, we've got a previously unavailable 1985 Typhoon set ( below ) that 'll keep you on your toes, with everything from dripping water intro's to fast jazz pop and leftfield electronics breaking up the slo-mo grooves. Traditional "Italo classics" are notable for their absence.

Download from here:

Friday, 17 October 2008

it's been a long time...

It seems like a lifetime since we last posted, but we haven't been idle. As Rome burned, we partied with Daniel Wang (our favourite person, ever ) / Terje / the Bloodbath crew and Andy Blake in Berlin, and Friendly Fires a night later. We love Berlin, and disco, and the Fires, and we especially love them all mixed up together, with loads of booze and stuff.

We spent a week in Cannes talking to people about Kung Fu and German Arthouse movies of the 70's, we at last got a 3rd of the way through Kerouacs 'Visions of Cody', finally getting it, and most of all we've looked on in disgust as two of those fools who did most to continue Thatcher and Reagans' 'pigs in the trough' legacy of a de-regulated global financial sector bailed the self same pigs out with our money ( a big fuck you to Henry Paulson and Gordon Brown and the trough swillers everywhere).

But we also heard a lot of great music ( yo, dude who was boshing out cheesy fidget with his arms aloft at the 'Man Records' party at the Scala Berlin, we ain't talking about you ) and we got mesmerised by this, the John Daly mix of Beppe Loda's 'Volcano', soon coming on our People in the Sky imprint. Slo mo Italo space business at it's best. One day we'll build cathedrals dedicated to exploring our REAL desires, maybe the soundtrack will sound like this. The future is ours, the pigs are finished.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

mercury shmercury

After a decade of self inflicted misery endured during my mispent youth, I don't gamble much anymore. But I've done well out of the Mercury over the last few years, and I had a fairly big punt on Radiohead this time. The reasoning was simple: "In Rainbows" was a strong album, from a legendary band that had turned the industry model on it's head when leaving Guy Hands' hedge fund major for Rich Russell's world beating indie XL yada yada. And Russell himself was due a slap on the back from the industry anyway .

And, importantly, the only real competition, Burial, was committed to anonymity, that was his thing, and there was no way the Mercury lot and BBc2 were going to base a televised awards ceremony around a non attender.

Of course that little part of the theory was blown out of the water when the formerly mysterious 'Will from Croydon' came bounding out of the closet, wagging his tail and ready to join the Mercury circus with the kind of enthusiasm only a potential 100 k sales hike can inspire inspire .

And so lo and behold, Burial's odds on favourite, and the 4 -1 I snapped up on Radiohead at Betfair is long gone as desperate layers offer 6-1 upwards. But I had another listen to both Burial albums the other day, and the otherworldy, warm but alienated, post rave afterglow still burns strong, but....I do wonder whether the whole Burial thing is just a bit one dimensional, a bit one paced, one magical idea stretched JUST too far. For the sake of my wretched finances, I'm certainly hoping that twit Simon Frith and his motley Mercury crew think so.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The Keedz are Not Alright

The Unabombers spent 13 years rocking the savvier end of Manchester clubland with disco, hip hop, deep funk, Detroit techno and acid house at their Electric Chair night, before finally shutting up shop late last year.

As a parting shot, their third compilation is out on Tirk in October, and perfectly captures the combination of raw funk, sweaty soul and northern futurism that made the parties what they were .

But one track that stands out from the rest of the tracklisting at the moment is the the Joubert Singers “ Stand on the Word”, a gospel favourite that’s long been known as a Paradise Garage / Loft classic, but has now turned up as a French electro-pop cover version from the mysterious Keedz .

The story behind the record starts with Walter Gibbons, the NY disco DJ turned producer who found god in the early eighties, and a new job at the 8th Avenue Rock and Soul Shop as the disco boom ended. Becoming an enthusiastic gospel record collector, he would blast a limited pressing of his own church choirs’ anthemic “Stand on the Word “ out to incoming Djs, with the record quickly becoming a favourite at Zanzibar / Garage / the Loft .

Eventually Tony Humphries remixed the tune for a full release on Next Plateau in 1985, but it’s Larry Levans’ bootleg edit / mix from the same year that still gets played today.

If you’ve ever wondered about the apparent contradictions between a song extolling the power of the Lord and a room full of black and latino queens doing drugs and going mad to Larry Levan, it’s known that choir leader Phyllis Joubert was pretty unimpressed with the after life of the record she helped create, and has since refused to have anything to do with the record , or the many journo's and writers that have wanted talk her about it since.

Also unimpressed have been the many diehard fans of the original ( Levan version ) of the song, who’ve not responded kindly to the Keed’z French electro version, currently being pushed by Universal France .
( )

Rumours that it was Justice in disguise were obviouisly based on the similarity of the remake to the Justice hit ‘D.A.N.C.E, and can probably be discounted, but it seems Universal have done little to dispel those rumours, and so have managed to piss off the Justice fans, Ed Banger, disco heads and probably Phyllis Joubert into the bargain.

We’re sick of the Keedz version already, but we can see the irony in anyone trying to claim cultural ownership of a song who’s own parents have long since abandoned it to the denizens of the night.

Last tune at the Electric Chair ( not SOTW ! )

Monday, 4 August 2008

" It's a Long Way, Down Kingsland Ro-oad..."

From a crummy basement in Dalston to a sprawling loft in Shoreditch, Disco Bloodbath may have only travelled half a mile down the Kingsland Road for last Saturday nights’party, but the vast glitter balls, elegant drapes and outside terrace in EC1 spoke loudly of a club night on the move, riding the wave of a scene on the way up.

And inevitably it wasn’t just the venue that was different. A bigger space needed more people, and more people they got. The Bloodbath regulars were joined by what we boozily, but not TOO snidely, guessed were a combination of : minimal heads after a long overdue change, fashionista’s fleeing the cooling embers of noo rave, and general Hoxton weekenders searching out the disco heat they’d been hearing about.

So the energy levels weren’t necessarily up to Visions levels, and like the Punks who claim it was all over by 1977 and the Shoomers who considered acid house dead by 1989, there’ll be those from the original Dalston Disco Hardcore who don’t think it’s as good as it was, and they’re probably right - nothing ever is .

But we’re glad Bloodbath heads back to Dalston next month, and whilst there’ll probably be Disco Sucks record burning rallies in Hackney Dogs stadium by summer 09', after Mixmag and the Sunday Times Style and Travel have done their worst, you’ve got to remember the Paradise Garage was at it’s best a good five years after Comiskey Park . “We're just like Roaches baby, never dying, always living….”

Friday, 18 July 2008

Barringtone @ the Old Blue

Last months' Dollop @ the Old Blue last was cool. Sure, it was a bummer spotting all the A + R faces around and realising why the manager of 'We Have Band ' had stopped returning my calls, but there was a nice vibe and a hip young crowd.

So I thought I'd pop off to see Barringtone down there tonight, what with two of our Plugs boys in the band and the legendary Barry from Clor at the helm. But a bottle of Tesco Rose and pissing rain derailed things a bit, and so it was the Corry double header and a quiet grape buzz instead.

To make up for it, here's the Barringtone mix of Plugs' 'That Number' from the forthcoming 'Plugs Rewired' 12" on People In the Sky. It sounds a bit like Moroder dropping acid and getting bummed by the Aphex Twin up a dark Milanese alley, with Morgan Plugs occasionally rapping over the resulting disco-noir racket, and it's great.


Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Other Godfather of Cosmic...

We like this photo of Beppe Loda and Prins Thomas working it somewhere in Russia . Thomas is sweaty and bearded and half smiling as he tweaks the EQS, Loda looks like my wife's dad, but with what looks like a Bogdan Irkuk t shirt on, which he's belted for good measure.

Loda's allowed to take fashion risks though, because he basically preceded Baldelli and invented 'Afro', and probably Cosmic as well. Read a good potted account of Loda's role in it all, 1976 onwards, here :

And check out the Loda produced classic from 1982, MC1's recently re-issued 'Egotrya ',for some proper Space Disco.


Thursday, 3 July 2008

Smashy and Nicey Conducting Nuremburg Rally

It's good to see the more populist end of dance music in such fine fettle .

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

The Mandela Birthday Gig Debacle

We can't actually remember whether Amy Winehouse did her two Specials covers at the Mandela gig or Glastonbury, such a bumper-bonanza /vaguely hideous weekend of sofa-bound, passive rock n'roll consumption was it that just passed. Either way, they were atrocious Blues Brothers/Commitments style student union boogie death rinses of once great tunes, and we're now VERY over the Southgate basket case.

But the real lowpoint of the weekend was Queen headlining the Mandela gig, the same Queen that in 1984 broke the ANC - supported cultural boycott of Apartheid South Africa to play Sun City, who took the blood money and ignored the express wishes of those in the frontline stuggle . The bands' heroine, Thatcher, had declared Mandela a terrorist at the time, so we're not surprised they did the dirty back then , but why the stinking, hypocritical , Tory sons of bitches got invited to headline Mandela's birthday bash twenty three years later is anyone's guess. It's a bad world out there, truly.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

From Beyond the Rave

We were sitting around the other day reminiscing about the glory days of Nu Rave - thirty year olds in Timmy Mallet gear running round Boombox, Trash Fashion in the Sunday Times, Adrian Chiles blogging on Fluokids. Great days, and so in the spirit of a mini revival, we’ve dug a classic out of the original rave vaults and given it a brushing down for 2008.

Alongside Lost’s “Gonzo” and Dee Patten’s ‘Who’s the Badman”, Lennie De Ice’s 1991 classic ‘We R IE ‘ is often cited as one of the first jungle records, and possibly the first to use the Amen break (if you ignore Rebel MC). Whatever, its’ dubby bassline, Detroity pads, disembodied African chants and spinbacks still sound like the future, today, seventeen years later.

There's four new mixes coming on the newly revamped Y4K label, but here's the original in 320 KBPs glory , and a funky bassline-99' style mix from Johan Filterman.

Lennie De Ice - We Are I.E. (Johan Filterman E-Dub Extended Mix)
Lennie De Ice - We Are I.E. (Original Extended Edit)

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Harvey / Mancuso mixes from the Tirk Vaults

While we're on the subject of Tirk, in their previous incarnation as the iconic Nuphonic label, they hosted a fantastic show on London Indie radio station XFM - here we've got a David Mancuso show with Cosmo narrating over Loft Classics and snippets of interview with Mancuso himself, and a nice Harvey hour from around the same time (2000 ) featuring his trademark brew of spacey disco, cosmic rock, the odd Black Cock classic, and much more besides. Please fell free to post up tracklistings.

Mancuso London Xpress (Part1)
Mancuso London Xpress (Part 2)

Harvey London Xpress (Part 1)
Harvey London Xpress (Part 2)

Visit Tirk Recordings

Monday, 19 May 2008

Architeq - Birds of Prey ( Unreleased Kelpe mix ) (Tirk)

The inimitable Tirk recently broke out of the disco ghetto for a bit and returned to more eclectic NYPC / Fujiya & Miyaga style waters with Arqiteq's 'Bird of Prey'EP, the work of 23yr old Londoner Sam Annand. The three carefully crafted tracks of dubby electronics, fractured beats and hints of jazz may have confused some, but pleased many more; It's slow and hypnotic and fat, and will hopefully be appearing on vinyl soon .