August 2, 2007

Jupiter Black feat. Fred Ventura - Hold Me

200712"Italo

Kudos to the people over at Clone and Viewlexx for bringing ’80s Italo vocalist Fred Ventura out of retirement. He re-appeared last year on a new version of Alden Tyrell’s “Love Explosion”, and then recorded a bunch of his old hits live with Tyrell and I-F for a limited edition 12″ on Viewlexx. Like those releases, “Hold Me”, his latest single with Jupiter Black, is not going to raise any eyebrows outside the italo community, but it’s a quality synth-pop number, not too different from your average mid-to-late ’80s italo record. Needless to say, if you found stuff like Ryan Paris, P. Lion, Ken Laszlo, and Eddy Huntington to be pure parmesan, you probably won’t be into this. And even if there’s an instrumental version included, it’s not really tracky enough to have the kind of hipster cache DJs want from their italo these days. Still, this is an authentic and enjoyable sounding throwback, hopefully bound for a mixtape somewhere.

Clone / CLONE# 49
[Listen]
[Michael F. Gill]


July 13, 2007

Charts: July 13 2007

Nate DeYoung

Lee Douglas - New York Story [Rong]
Strategy - Future Rock [Kranky]
Social Being - Free Your Mind [Tuning Spork]
Roisin Murphy - Overpowered [EMI]
Von Sudenfed - Tromatic Reflexxions [Domino]
V/A - This is Rong Music [Rong]
Ada - Hensel & Damsel [Cereal/Killers]
The Martinez Brothers - My Rendition [Objecktivity]
Kocky - Tricks [La Vida Locash]

Michael F. Gill

Asa-Chang & Junray - Jun Ray Song Chang [Leaf]
DeepChord Presents: Echospace Empyrean [Modern Love]
A Guy Called Gerald - Sweet You [Laboratory Instinct]
Ida Engberg - Disco Volante (Hugg and Pepp Remix) [Pickadoll Records]
D1 - Mind + Soul [Tempa]
Rednose Distrikt Feat. Benny Sings and Die Bend - Maaitiemaai [Kindred Spirits]
For The Floorz - Body Angels [We Rock Music]
Freemasons - Love On My Mind [Loaded Records]
Arnie Love and The Loveletts - We’ve Had Enough [Tap Records]
Fleetwood Mac - You Make Lovin’ Fun (Trailmix Remix) [Synergize Communications]


June 8, 2007

Beatzcast #36: Crambe Repetita

Mixes2007

Stylus editor Todd Burns presents a mix of electronic music…

Tracklist
01: Chaim - Same Same feat. James Blonde [buy]
02: Baldelli & Dionigi - Dyprion [buy]
03: Cave Bear Cult - Catch the Worm [buy]
04: STFU - Shut the Fuck Up (Mouth to Mouth Remix) [buy]
05: Sebastian Ingrosso & John Dahlback - Lick My Deck [buy]
06: Lil’ Mama - Lip Gloss (William Russell Stirhouse Remix) [buy]
07: Sleeparchive - Papercup [buy]
08: Pan-Pot - What Is What (Original Mix) [buy]
09: Red Robbin & Jakob Hilden - Dandelion [buy]
10: TG - Cave the Speakers (Konrad Black Remix) [buy]
11: Baldelli & Dionigi - Darkflies [buy]
12: Gudrun Gut - Move Me (Burger & Voigt Remix) [buy]

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May 8, 2007

Force of Nature - Sequencer / Afroshock

200712"Neo-Disco

I’ve hit the tipping point with Force of Nature. Black Moon, the duo’s debut for Mule Musiq, might have been my first belated exposure last year, but hell if I was willing to accept the feat of tracking down the rest of their stuffdudes at ritzy boutiques were charging 30 bucks for just a CD. So for the sake of my wallet, I chalked it up as an anomaly and moved on. But now, after both Sequencer and Afroshock have hit, and hit me hard, that gnawing feeling of inevitabilitythe opposite of consumer bliss?has started to creep in.

And the strangest part of this feeling is that I’m not even sure if “Sequencer” works. From the very beginning, the waves of a foreboding arpeggiator set against a gentle bobbing wheeze epitomize the track’s confused tone. It isn’t really helped out by the ghostly machine sighs or the hopscotch synths. Instead, each part uncomfortably hangs together, in a way that draws me into the structure and pulls me away from the actual sound of the track. Rekid fixes and vamps it. Built around billowing delay, his remix feels like the best cross-pollination with his Quiet Village remixes: he teases out and slowly builds a heavy pulse that goes for the gut. The single’s standout, though, is the b-side “Transmute.” Built around a slo-mo melody, defanged electro backbeat, and drizzle of massaging acid, the song is light and ephemeral in the best possible way.

It takes a grown man to acknowledge when he goes out of his way to find dishwashing music and this timelike alwaysForce of Nature’s “Afroshock (Broken Rule Mix)” just fell on my lap. The song’s original giant toms might have been muddled under the wipes, scrubs, and splashes of Broken Rule’s rework of the percussion, but the spy-film bassline sneaks through enough to add well-needed intrigue to my domestic life. It’s this Afroshock single in particular that has me totally seduced by Force of Natureboth sides are perfect for mid-set, mid-run, or pushing past the midnight doldrums. Be warnedit could end up costing you more than for just one vinyl.

Mule Musiq / MULEMUSIQ 11
[Listen]
Headinghome Records / HHR-016
[Listen]
[Nate DeYoung]


April 14, 2007

The Week In Review: 2007, Week 15

Kathy Diamond - Over (Permanent Vacation)
Genre: Disco, Funk

Peter Chambers: Both the first fantastic All Woman EP and, now, “Over” intimate a collaboration that could see one of the year’s most accomplished syntheses of house, funk, disco and ’80s-inflected pop.

Substance & Vainqueur - Reverberate / Reverberation (Scion Versions)
Genre: Dub, Techno

Kavinsky - 1986 (Record Makers)
Genre: New Wave, Synth

Redshape - Dog Day (Millions of Moments)
Genre: Chicago, House

Michael F. Gill: Specifically, the aura here is towards the lesser-mined sounds of 90s Chicago house, when artists like the Foremost Poets would detune, stretch, and staccato-ize a synth burst, and then repeat it until it became a viable, body-moving loop that sounded fresh over a kick.

Bobby Davenport - Time (Has Come Today) (Flexx)
Genre: Italo, New Wave

Antonelli - The Name of This Track Is Bobby Konders (Italic)
Genre: House, Techno

J.T.C. - Take em Off / DMarc Cantu - No Control / X2 - Barely A Track (Creme Jak)
Genre: Acid

Vulva String Quartett - Cranberry Song (Combination)
Genre: Minimal/Deep

Weekly Staff Charts
Beatzcast #27: Crambe Repetita


April 13, 2007

Beatzcast #27: Crambe Repetita

Mixes2007

Tracklist
01: The Rice Twins - Can I Say [buy]
02: Jurgen Paape - West [buy]
03: Glitches - A Night With Tobeunderground [buy]
04: Paulussen & Cali - Destra [buy]
05: Bobby Davenport - Time (Has Come Today) (Special Disco Mix) [buy]
06: Herbie Hancock - Saturday Night (Beatconductor Disco Mix) [buy]

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April 13, 2007

Charts: April 13 2007

Mallory ODonnell
Pet Shop Boys - Back to Mine [EMI]
Hot Chip - DJ Kicks [Astralwerks]
Headman - It Rough [Gomma]
V/A - Trance-Europe Express, Vol. One [Volume]
Kathy Diamond - Over [Permanent Vacation]
George McRae - I Get Lifted (Mischief Brew Re-Edit) [OST]
Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill (12″ Mix) [EMI]
Herbie Hancock - Saturday Night (Beatconductor Disco Mix) [G.A.M.M.]
Inner Life - Make It Last Forever [Salsoul]
Bobby Davenport - Time (Has Come Today) [Flexx]

Michael F. Gill
Redshape - Dog Day [Millions Of Moments]
Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid - People Be Happy / Rhythm Dance (Audion’s Highlight Mix) [Domino]
Ferry Corsten - Beautiful (Original Mix) [Flashover Recordings]
Byron Burke - String Section [Maxi Records]
The Rurals - Mainbreak [Peng]
The KLF - Chill Out [Wax Trax]
Cherrelle - Fragile [Tabu]
Gary Low - You Are A Danger [Il Discotto]
George Aaron - Silly Reason [Full Time]
George LaMond - Where Does That Leave Love [Columbia]


April 11, 2007

Bobby Davenport - Time (Has Come Today)

The Belgian Label Flexx has chosen a perfect time (sheesh) to reissue this spacey ‘83 oddity, an eight-minute disco cover of the Chamber Brothers hit from 1968. Although “cover” is a loose term hereits rallying cry vocal would certainly have had quite a different context fifteen years down the road, especially when run through all that vocoder. But it’s lovely, loopy, and adventurous, working in a strident synth, searing proto-acid squeaks, and some insane, funky hand-percussion atop the electronic rhythm. All of this and three minutes shorter than the original!

The original “Instrumental Universal” and “Special Disco” mixes have aged quite well, perhaps due to their blatant eccentricity, but it would be interesting to see what a Maurice Fulton or Ewan Pearson could do if they got their hands on it. In the meanwhile, this should be an excellent selection for the more discriminating and adventurous dancefloors.

Flexx / Flexx 006
[Listen]
[Mallory ODonnell]


January 26, 2007

Beatzcast #16: Michael F. Gill

Mixes2007Italo

The Dancing Therapy mix started off as a sort of self-help mixtape for myself, but later evolved into a generally uplifting set of vocal oriented italo/synth-pop hits….

01: International Music System (I.M.S.) - Dancing Therapy - Bellaphon, 1984
No better way to start off than with this, the impetus for starting this mix. The seemingly naive lyrics about using music to escape from your troubles take more of a poignant turn here. “Fusion to the beat really clears my mind” sums up a great amount of dance music’s appeal in just one line.

02: The Creatures - Believe In Yourself (Special Remix) - Full Time, 1983
Not to be confused with the Siouxsie Sioux side-group, The Creatures’ biggest hit is a bouncy, heavy-synth number with endearing dorky vocals extolling self-esteem with perhaps too much zeal (the opening line being “Boy, don’t be so shy!”).

03: Taffy - I Love My Radio (European Mix) - Emergency, 1986
Probably my favorite latter-day Italo track, it hits many of the overblown hallmarks of the mid ’80s (faceless vocals, huge synth-drums, chipper keyboards) while refusing to remain grounded to the template. Plus as a night owl myself, I can relate to the rather silly lyrics proclaiming love to a midnight radio DJ.

04: Brand Image - Are You Loving? - Il Discotto Productions, 1983
Il Discotto Productions were a high profile Italo label that briefly catered to the sci-fi/robotic side of the genre before moving more towards the candy-sweet pop end by the mid ’80s. One of their big releases was “Are You Loving?” by the little-known Brand Image, which continues this mix’s focus on defiant/strong vocals and aggressive keyboards.

05: Alden Tyrell feat. Fred Ventura - Love Explosion 05 - Clone, 2006
“Love Explosion” was a cult hit for Alden Tyrell in the neo-italo/electro circuit ever since its release way back in 1999. It gained its popularity as an instrumental, so when Alden finally released his debut album Times Like These last year, he re-recorded it as a vocal version with well-known italo vocalist Fred Ventura. Tyrell is one of the very few neo-italo composers whose productions could nearly pass as vintage, and the fact that the vocal version is nowhere as sleek, icy, and chic as the instrumental is testament to this.

06: Fokewulf 190 - Body Heat - Market Records, 1984
“Hey! You! Take a look at me! Look me in the eyes, there is something new.” The second cut in this little trilogy of Fred Ventura tracks finds the dear Italian vocalist in a near desperate wail. While most lyrical subjects in Italo are lightweight and superficial (following in the Eurodisco tradition), the tortured passion of Ventura is very much an anomaly. I have no idea how well-known “Body Heat” (or as Ventura says, “Badi hit”) was before it ended up on one of the C-B-S Top 100 lists, but it surely is one of the most angsty and lyrically sound italo tracks I know.

07: Flexx - Love Theme From Flexxy-Ball - Hole, 1983
“Love theme” is so close to the sound of “Body Heat” that it begs to be mixed in as the final Ventura vocal track in the trilogy. It’s a bit more on the uplifting side, and is probably responsible for naming the disco-friendly mail-order site Flexx.

08: Gary Low - I Want You - CAT Record, 1983
“I Want You” was a big hit among gay clubgoers in the ’80s, and was recently heavily sampled by Miss Kitten and the Hacker for their Mental Groove single “The Beach.” It’s definitely got a summertime feel, and even if the cheeseball vocals take a while to warm up too, it remains a perennial club favorite.

09: Pineapples - Come On Closer (Extended Club Mix) - Danse, 1983
What can I say about this recently reissued track, probably one of my favorite singles of all-time, and one of the most beloved, uplifting italo tracks around? Its likely that the bizarre cocktail lounge croon of Douglas Coop elevates it from perky synthpop to a feel-good anthem, but explaining the rest of its magic is impossible: you just have to hear it for yourself.

10: Trilogy - Not Love - Il Discotto Productions, 1982
Another Il Discotto Production, and another favorite of mine that seems to be overlooked. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the vocal version of “Not Love” used over the instrumental. It’s a shame, because the vocal really buys into the melodrama of the arrangement, and nearly seems confrontational.

11: Ottawan - D.I.S.C.O. (Instrumental) - Carrere, 1979
Ok, OK, the original is a total novelty (and even uses the same bassline of their previous hit, “Hands Up”) but I was surprised how much calmer the instrumental version is after hearing it. It also provides a nice vocal break until the next track…

12: Jimmy Ross - Fall Into A Trance (Remix) - Quality/RFC Records, 1982
…where the vocals are back to being zealous again. Jimmy Ross was one of the few italo vocalists who put more of an American soul influence in his music, so it sort of helps that his English is so slurred and heavy handed: it often makes him sound out of breath with emotion. “Fall Into a Trance” was his second biggest hit next to the boogie disco of “First True Love Affair,” which was later remixed by Larry Levan. There’s a compilation CD on Unidisc of Ross’ entire work that is recommended if you want to hear more.

13: Alexander Robotnick - Intro for Live Performance - Creme Organization, 2005
Mr. Robotnick has been going through a revival lately, with two rarities compilations coming out in the past few years. “Intro for Live Performance” is from the second volume, put out last year by Creme, and while it may seem odd for someone to walk onstage to anything this noir-ish, it’s probably one of the most minimal tracks in his oeuvre.

14: Ministry - I Wanted To Tell Her - Arista, 1983
Ministry might be a surprising name here, but their first album “With Sympathy” was a dead ringer for a lot of the Human League-esque new wave going on at the time. “I Wanted to Tell Her” combines this upbeat synth approach with a bit of the funk A Certain Ratio was doing, and has a great vocal to boot

15: Memory Control One (MC1) - Basic - Crash, 1984
This 1984 synth-pop single by the newly-feted Beppe Loda and Francesco Boscolo always sounds so triumphant to me, like it should soundtrack an athlete’s victory lap or the end of a sports movie. Hence, I’m placing it here as something of a coda to the mix, a sort of stand-alone resolution to the theoretical therapy of all the previous tracks.


January 19, 2007

Charts: January 19 2007

Michael F. Gill
Sylvester I Need You (Dims Maxi Disco Blend) [ITH Records]
Remute Bounce 23 [Trapez]
V/A - This Is Rong Music [Rong Music]
Lil Louis - I Called You (The Story Continues) [Epic]
E-Dancer - Oombah [Planet E]
Midnightrats - Goalmaker [Magic Circus]
Macho Cat Garage - Ghetto Blues [Viewlexx]
V/A - Make Me What [Minisketch]
Benfay - Pink Silk Panties (Bang Goes Remix) [Stattmusik]
The Nova Dream Sequence - Interpretations [Compost]

Todd Hutlock
Depeche Mode - People Are People (Underground Resistance Remix) [Mute]
Tomas Andersson - Mot Matsalen! [Bpitch Control]
Radio Slave - Weeeze [Rekids]
Theo Parrish - Falling Up (Technasia Rmx) [Third Ear/Syncrophone]
Hot Chip - Over And Over (Naum Gabo Remix) [Astralwerks/DFA]
False - Kickball [Plus 8]
Thomas Fehlmann - Dusted [Kompakt]
Pier Bucci - Lnuit (Dominik Eulberg Mix) [Crosstown Rebels]
Booka Shade - In White Rooms (Shinedoe Remix) [Get Physical]
Nitzer Ebb - Control Im Here (Superchumbo Dub) [NovaMute]


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