Saturday, August 18, 2007

Disco Diamonds In The Disco Rough.

Hello you!

There seems to be a bit of an influx of disco compilations at the moment. There's the Bill Brewster-curated Capitol Disco for the purists, but I wrote a bit about that the other week. What intrigues me more is just how many recent compilations have been in step with the current trend for proggy, space disco and re-edits. So, let's take a look at some of them...

In October, Lo Recordings are set to release Milky Disco, quite possibly one of the most unwelcomingly-monikered collections in living memory. It's called so because it has been curated by Lo's label boss, Jon Tye aka Milky Globe, so the name kind of makes sense, but you figure someone, somewhere along the line would have said, "Hang on a minute. That name isn't all that great you know".

No-one did, so Milky Disco it is. As a collection, Milky Disco is hampered by more than just its name. It manages to be a classy, nicely-sequenced primer for the uninitiated but for those with some knowledge of the swelling subgenre it tries to encapsulate, most of the tunes on offer here will be all-too-familiar. There's Sorcerer's superlative 'Surfing At Midnight', which is great and all but it first made an appearance on Tirk's Tirk 01 comp from earlier in the year, has also been out on vinyl and takes pride of place on Sorcerer's excellent White Magic album, so chances are that the heads will already have this on more than one release (I know I have).

Elsewhere there's Studio's 'Life's A Beach!', which, again, is a great selection, but you can also find it on both Studio's West Coast and Yearbook 1 albums, not to mention the remixes 12" that came out in April. You also get Padded Cell's itchy, Pigbag-esque 'Konkorde Lafayette', which was on the flip of 2006's 'Are You Anywhere?', the twinkly Italo of Daniel Wang's 'All Flowers Must Fade', which is seven - count 'em - years old now and the two year old Idjuts remix of The Emperor Machine's 'Front Man'.

But it's hard to argue with Tye's selections and Milky Disco is a frequently pleasing listen, front to back. Also, it's worth getting a hold of for the exclusives which include a new Six Cups Of Rebel (Hans-Peter Lindstrom) cut, the lolloping dub of Kerrier District & Black Mustang's 'Mad As Hell' and, best of all, the menacing throb of Quiet Village newie 'Desperate Hours'. So, shite name aside, Milky Disco does throw up some unknown pleasures in amongst the standard, well-thumbed crowdpleasers.

Daniel Wang - All Flowers Must Fade (mp3)

On the edits side of things, you can't go far wrong with the now-rare Forever In Their Debt #1 from Glasgow's L.E.S.S. Productions, affiliated with the rather fine OOFT! Music blog and Five20East LTD. It seems a bit reductive to refer to L.E.S.S.' work as disco as there's a heavy soul feel to a lot of the reworks here, partly due to the originals they choose to take on but also the gritty, funky in-house production style.

The CD itself is a fetishisable object, all black with grooves on the non-playing side, but it's what's on the disc that makes it worth getting. With just five tracks, it might seem a bit flimsy at first but give it a spin and it instantly hits you that you're sure to get a lot of play out of these. Their takes on Marvin Gaye's 'Funky Space Reincarnation', Tina Turner's 'Let's Stay Together' and Willie Hutch's 'Brothers Gonna Work It Out' work just as well as DJ tools as they do headphone listening. Mercilessly funky and cleverly edited, the best tunes here are irresistible. The less (no pun intended) said about DJ 2Three's cut-and-shut of Aaliyah's 'Rock The Boat' and 'Rudy - A Message To You' the better though.

Tina Turner - Let's Stay Together (The Revenge Rework) (mp3)

STOP PRESS!!! Piccadilly have just got Volume Two in, which features the magical re-twist of Primal Scream's 'Screamadelica'. Go get it!

L.S.B. Edits Inc. - aka Pete Herbert (Reverso 68, Frontera, Optimus) and BabyG Fernandez - weigh in with their second vinyl-only release of exclusive edits. Taking on the likes of Debbie Harry ('Call Me'), Gino Soccio ('Remember') and Mark Shreeve ('Legion'), L.S.B. choose to lean on the camp flourishes of the originals while re-tooling them for modern-day dancefloors.

They're not all successful; Fun Fun's 'Baila Bolero' is way too cheesy to be palatable, but there's a grin-inducing FUN! edge to proceedings here that can't really be knocked. If anyone knows where I can get hold of Volume I, let me know.

Gino Soccio - Remember (L.S.B. Edit) (mp3)

Trust the French to walk away with the disco compilation laurels. Prince amongst all featured here is Paris-based D-I-R-T-Y Soundsystem's Dirty Space Disco, now available on Tigersushi. Put together with love, this record compiles some hard-to-find cosmic classics alongside some new-ish edits from man-of-the-moment, Pilooski.

Listening to Dirty Space Disco you flip between exclaiming "Where has this been all my life?!" and "I've been looking for this for ages!". Highlights are Sylvester's twilit disco beauty, 'I Need Somebody To Love Tonight', the kung-fu kicking 'Hai Samurai' by Yellow Power and Pilooski's do-over of 'Stranger In The City' by Jarrow-bred '70s songsmith, John Miles, which sounds more and more like a modern classic every time I hear it. There's also Fern Kinney's evergreen 'Baby Let Me Kiss You', recently heard on Lindstrom's edition of Late Night Tales. A spacey, floaty groover, it makes the price of the disc worthy on its own, but everything here is spot-on and the sequencing perfectly manages the peaks and troughs making it one that you have to listen to from start to finish.

Fern Kinney - Baby Let Me Kiss You (mp3)

That's it for now,


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey man. digging this blog

I work with LESS production dudes and would like to send you some music. can you send yer email add to

paulmooglash at g mail dot com



9:18 pm  

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