Atmosphere – Swede’s Scandal (Instrumental Edit) (Radius Records, 2007)

Originally released on Superradio Records (a treasure trove of classic Italo) in 83, this track returned to prominence through Morgan Geist’s superb and unmissable ‘Unclassics’ project. My copy is an edit not a million miles away from the original taken from this Superradio compilation on Radius. The track utilises textbook spaceship noises, has a killer bassline, and then the synth brilliance takes over. Camp as Christmas and dripping with sleazy euro appeal this track is one of my all time favourites and today I’m sharing it with you.

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legowelt – 2002 (ghostly international, 2002)

Writing about Marcos Cabral, I quoted Legowelt’s views on what techno must be. And in thinking about him, I recalled this monster hidden in the last part of the Disco Nouveau series on one of the most forward thinking labels emerging from Ann Arbor, Michigan: Ghostly International. The sound is very Moroder, lo-fi, italo, and analogue enough to gain the support of the purists. Perhaps. It has a rampant yet constrained beat adorned with catchy melodies reminiscent of a Blade Runner scenario. Pure bliss I would say. If you like this, try his 2011 album, TEAC. Check his website, where you can grab it in exchange of some monetary donation, in that way as he states:  ‘I can buy more crap synthesizers to make stuff like this and repair my Roland Juno 106 which stopped working  during the recording of this album…probably cause this shit is tooo deep and it just couldn’t handle it….doesnt matter, the bottom line question is CAN U HANDLE IT???’ Blah blah blah…

From my own waxy round black thing and retaining as much analoguism as i thought convenient. Play out loud for better results.

Storm Queen – It Goes On (Enivron, 2011)

Morgan Geist needs no introduction. The man has been making dance music to the highest standard for longer than i’ve been able to tie laces and he’s showing no signs of slowing down. Whether working as half of Metro Area or under his various solo aliases he always brings deep and organic sounding music, retro influenced but forward facing, touching on the 80s sounds of boogie, italo, early house and techno, but always sounding fresh, original and unmistakably his own. In December last year he snuck out a very late contender that wiped the floor with the track of the year competition under the alias of Storm Queen. That track, ‘Look Right Through’ has barely been out of the box over the last 12 months and is due a rerelease on D******D (I won’t say that word) with remixes from Aeroplane, Dimitri from Paris, Art Department and Jamie Jones. So if you’re new to the track, get there quickly, it’s about to jump the shark. Thankfully, as a saviour of the underground, Morgan has seen fit to release another powerhouse in time for this year’s party season.

‘It Goes On’ repeats the trick so wonderfully pulled off in ‘Look Right Through’. He has taken what is in essence a melancholy ballad and styled it as a house track with the late 80s/early 90s aesthetic. Inside the ecstatic body moving rhythm of these tracks, hidden within the exceptional synths and flawless production lie real songs, about heartbreak, longing and resilience. This time round things are less straight forward, the track is less immediate, the progressions less classic which usually means its power will be more lasting. Things begin with a handclap, always a good start, and the key melody of a descending bassline. Things are very minor key, Damon C. Scott (returning on vocal duties) starts to tell us a tale of loss as Morgan’s synths weave their magic, and finally we’re paid off with an uplifting chorus and the hands are in the air. The highlight of the track is the detuned warped synths that follow the first chorus. Inventive, interesting and forward moving electronic music that will pack every floor it’s unleashed on.

You can find both Storm Queen records on vinyl at the Environ Shop and listen to the vocal mix of this gem below.

Eros Volume 1 (Eros, 2011)

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.

Massara – Margarita “Margherita” (Movieplay 1979)

Another second hand gem in the form of this oft edited Latino/Italo/Synth gem. The image I’ve gone with above is from the Ariola release because I couldn’t bring myself to search for the Movieplay sleeve (a strong contender for the worst 12″ artwork of all time). Anyway, on to the music. You’ve heard the edit on Morgan Geist’s Unclassics, you’ve got the Psychemagik edit on History Clock, and now you have the original. Marvel as those Italo electronics collide with lush Latino melodies, sway as the track melts into those super cheesy cruise ship moments, and just wait for the break in the middle with the spanish guitar. I’ve chosen to go with the Versión Orquestral but true lovers of this track and its questionable euro vocals can petition for the vocal incarnation.

 

The Flirts – Passion (Special R.E.M.I.X.E.D. Disco Version) (Rams Horn Records, 1982)

Italo classic here from the godlike Bobby Orlando. Electroclash fans may well recognise it as the piece of music Felix Da Housecat sampled for Silver Screen Shower Scene. This special length R.E.M.I.X.E.D. effort is the definitive version of this track, just wait until those synths hyper charge towards the end. Immense.

 

giorgio moroder – the chase (casablanca, 1978)

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.

dominatrix – dominatrix sleeps tonight (streetwise, 1984)

I was recently reminded of the enduring quality of this unclassic from the mid 80s. Dominatrix was the brainchild of Stuart Argabright, one of the founder members of New York No Wave act Ike Yard (whose self-titled 1982 album on Factory America is well worth a listen if you like your minimal wave), and featured the vocal talents of Claudia Summers and Kenneth Lockie. ‘Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight’ never garnered mainstream chart success but was a popular club hit with the new wave crowd as well as the emerging bboy/electro scene in the mid 80s. The track was returned to the ears of the underground in the early 2000s when Gigolo records licensed it for a repress with remixes from Blackstrobe and Terranova (which are unfortunately very much of their time), off the back of the resurgence of Italo. The track itself combines an electro beat with some Italo keyboard work and a vocal that manages to be deadpan and sleazy at the same time. Enough talk, here is the track at 32o for educational purposes.

Dominatrix – Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight /// Discogs