To get us back into the Discofutura flow, here’s a gospel goodie perfect for all end of night emotional occasions. 2011 was an eventful year, and the new year has seen a lot of change and a lot of goodbyes for Discofutura. So this is the official Discofutura anthem for 2012, turn it up to full, get ready to throw your arms into the air and embrace your loved ones.
Originally making an appearance on Battle Records in 1963, but in this instance lovingly recorded from a Tappan Zee sampler (all tracks chosen by the faultless Bob James) this Grammy Hall of Fame inducted slice of latin disco funk is one of my favourite dancefloor selections for when the crowd are ready to go left. Pop pickers may recognise the intro as the basis for ‘Oxymoron’ from the Idjut Boys’ Key to the Tripod, and what an intro it is. The Cuban percussionist goes all out with some train track sounding vibes, then the bongos, then the kick, before finally dropping into some sort of copshow funk. He then takes Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man, pulls it apart before letting loose with some far out Jazz Funk. Truly dope.
Here’s some classic bizniz from the many monikered Dimitri. Arriving on the scene as France awoke from its musical slumber in the mid nineties and casting the net wide in the search for influences, the cosmopolitan Dimitri championed a jet setting sound. Although a House DJ at heart, Dimitri took his early inspiration from the sounds of 50s Jazz, Exotica and Film Scores, creating in ‘Sacrebleu!’ (Mixmag’s Album of the Year in 96) a set of sumptuous downtempo muzak, lush and layered yet at the same time playful and full of character. However, if one were to peer through the Gauloises fug, inside that suave exterior was a house head sipping the same disco punch that the Idjuts and Harvey were serving up. This 12″ on Yellow Productions (a consistent label for cultured house co run by the consistently questionable Bob Sinclair) is an absolute gift for anyone with even a passing interest in having a good time.
The track first appeared on the Sacrebleu! LP in somewhat sophisticated fashion. Intended as a ‘tribute to the late Larry Levan and the great Lalo Shiffrin(sic)’, Dimitri serves up a house track incorporating the otherworldly melodies of Lalo Schifrin complete with not only harpsichord, jazz drums and bass, cinematic horns but also a bumping house kick and some far out dancefloor psychedelia a la Levan. If the more restrained LP version fell into the Lalo Schifrin camp, geared for lounge bars and home listening, perfect for an evening inside a Stella Artois advert, then the ‘Old School Flava’ mix was Larry’s revenge. Uptempo, proto house drums, dub disco bassline, lazers and the same far out synths as the LP version. If you’re a fan of the excellent Night Dubbin’ compilation on BBE then this one’s for you.
If you like what you hear then I strongly recommend finding a copy of this vinyl as the Crue-L Grand Orchestra and Idjut Boys mixes are also superb.
This week the second instalment of the Eros edits has landed at Piccadilly Records (specifically here) and so I thought it was fitting to give a taste of what these releases are all about. I know nothing about the label or the people behind the edit, but what I do know is that the first E.P. contained 4 choice cuts that covered the broad spectrum of the Discofutura dancefloor. Philly soul, italo, mid tempo disco and aciiid all got a facelift for dancing pleasure. For me the two real weapons on the E.P. were B1 and B2 (no track names or I.D. info I’m afraid, I’m slipping in my old age). B2 is a real Chi-Chi-Chicago acid banger suited to bouncing off the walls of some dark basement with all the elements of jack you could wish for. B1 on the other hand is a smooth and soulful disco edit, extending and looping the mournful strings over the intro then dropping some heart-wrenching vocals to take things to the next level. For sampling pleasure you’ll find it below, and I urge you to pick up one of the remaining copies from Piccadilly.
After a hiatus that seems to have lasted a lifetime, I thought I’d get back into the blogging groove by posting about some of the records that have been doing it for me of late.
Up first is this 12″ served up by Manchester’s own Evil K’Neil, the El Diablo’s Social Club main man. Neil presents, edited for your dancing pleasure, two certified, electrified, amplified disco funk jams in the shape of ‘Party’ by Harari and ‘Get A Little’ by Patrick Cowley. In its original form ‘Party’ is a classic funk cut, much loved by Rub N Tug and an El Diablo’s classic which they say ‘sounds like Hot Chocolate coming up on Mitsubishis at the Loft’, and who could argue with so vivid a description. Neil stretches the groove out and adds some intro and outro, throws some echo over the drums and generally creates a heavier dancefloor vibe. Nicely played.
Cowley’s ‘Get A Little’ is less pounding than you might expect from the Hi’NRG party maestro, combining a playful groove with some camped up and vamped up vocals and the trademark synth brilliance, and once again Neil has done the business squeezing every bit of dancefloor energy out of the original, with some super drops. This was a standout crowd ignitor at our most recent Discofutura party and should not be missed under any circumstances.
Life is something special, here we have an exclusive to get you moving for the week . Manchester’s finest electro-disco-post-punk-pop party starters MAY68 have enlisted the talents of Discofutura favourites Tape Warm to add some of their magic to their latest single ‘White Lies’. The Brazilian duo have muted the pop elements of the original and replaced them with deep bass, warm pads and shuffling percussion, taking the track from peak time banger at an indie disco to late night groover in the car on the way home. This is music to cruise to, the kind of thing Ryan Gosling would listen to on his car stereo before carrying out an act of extreme violence. Exactly the thing for dark winter evenings.
MAY68 have kindly given us exclusivity of this post disco gem and a limited free download in full hi fi glory as well, boom boom. The original track and its house influenced b side ‘Static’ are due for release on the 17th October on Black Duck Records. Get all over it.
Some erudite and talented friends of ours run a cultural dispatch called Kollektivnye. They write interesting articles on modern media, music and the arts, take excellent photos of places you wish you’d been to and are generally an interesting bunch. A couple of weeks ago they asked us to provide the inaugural effort in their new mix series, and this was the fruit of that labour. You’ll recognise a number of the tracks from recent features on here, along with a smattering of old and new records and one record subject to water damage on the label that i have failed to identify. Use this mix as a soundtrack to explore the excellent Kollektivnye website.
Released in 78 to accompany the release of Midnight Express, ‘The Chase’ has become one of Moroder’s enduring classics. The late 70s were a purple patch for the moustachioed genius, and this track can easily sit alongside ‘I Feel Love’ or ‘From Here To Eternity’. With its fine use of modulation and sequencing the track becomes an odyssey, stretched out over 8 minutes with themes and motifs developing and then mutating. It has a cinematic quality that his other hits from that period share and is the highpoint of a classic soundtrack LP.
After initially rocking the disco crowd ‘The Chase’ became an early anthem of the Hi NRG scene as well as appearing on every modern Italo revival mix worth its salt. Here it is in glorious 320 ripped from vinyl.
Eagle eyed followers may have noticed that this label is a pet favourite of mine. There have only been 3 releases so far, but each is of the highest quality, and the uninitiated should head here for a profile of the label. The existing records are to be joined soon by a new 4 track of reworks by Bicep (of Feel My Bicep fame). I owe props to a being called phantom for bringing this great news to my attention in the comments section of our blog.
As for the music, Bicep takes things down a sleazy disco funk back alley. It’s the sound of hot summer nights and neon lights in the mid 80s. As you would imagine the heritage of the tracks is fully befitting of the intrepid crate digging that’s been on display at Feel my Bicep over the past few years.
First up is a fully loaded version of Margie Joseph’s 1982 post disco number ‘Knockout’. Judging from the short soundcloud sample, the percussion has been given a little extra oomph ad the verses have been dubbed out to allow the wicked groove extra room for manoeuvre. Add to all that some tasty drops and you’ve got a sure fire hit. Be sure to check the original out, it’s a classic. Next for the chopping block is the tasty boogie number ‘Sweet Somebody’ by Shannon. Sped up to a more playable tempo and with some 808 additions bringing the jack to go with the acidic bassline, this is an electrified mid tempo number built for dancefloors. Howard Johnson’s smooth electro funk groover ‘Say You Wanna’ makes up track 3, with things sticking fairly close to the original up until a huge echo/delay/filter mind altering breakdown. For fans of electro from 5 years ago, SebastiAn used this track for Arabest, which is a definite highpoint on his later than never debut album Total. Closing things up is a boogie number going under the title ‘Hit and Run’, which I’m sad to admit my ignorance over it’s original, I’m only human. Great synths and bassline, brilliant vocals and some nicely worked filtering make this a strong number to finish the set.
All in all, the brilliance of this E.P. will lie in the excellent selections of tracks to refine. Each is a great slice of dimly remembered 80’s funk, bridging the gap between disco and house whilst packing that glorious bass sound at home in every great boogie track. The edits are done in a respectful way, with each alteration serving to bring things up to date a little and to extract the best grooves out of the originals. Bicep’s addition to the Mystery Meat buffet is both welcome and top notch. Keep your eyes peeled for this release.
I recently had a discussion with an old friend about Todd Terje’s recent burst of top class activity, and when our conversation turned to our good old favourite Terje edits, I was amazed to hear that my friend did not know this classic.
Paul Simon’s Graceland LP, regardless of your take on the accusations that he mugged the musical heritage of a continent, pulled off the miraculous trick of perfectly marrying American country/folk songwriting with African rhythms and sounds. Of course, other musicians had experimented with polyrhythms before, but no one had done so in pursuit of a making something that at its heart was a traditional American pop record. The record may as well be the soundtrack to the collective unconscious.
When I first heard this edit slipping dreamlike in the middle of a mix, i had a nigh on religious experience. Caked in reverb, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo chanting immediately takes you to church, surrounded by hypnotic rhythms, shimmering guitars, all leading up to an exhilarating drop putting you in the centre of swirling echo. Then that deep wriggly bassline makes you move, softens you up before that warm familiar voice from your childhood guides you into the light. This is my all time favourite Todd Terje edit; he takes a song I’ve loved for as long as I’ve listened to music, and makes it even better. Here it is, ripped from a vinyl pirated from an mp3, in as high a quality as that allows.