Articles tagged with italo

No Tears January

No Tears – Our Friends Electric

January 29

“It’s cold outside
And the paint’s peeling off of my walls
There’s a man outside
In a long coat, gray hat, smoking a cigarette…”

Stop watching the paint peel off your walls!  Come in from the cold!  You too, man in the long coat (at least you’re dressed weather appropriate).  Come join your Friends Electric, Ed and Brett as they play your cold wave, new wave and dark disco favorites —At Friends and Lovers in Crown Heights.  It’s Free!!

“Heaven of My Life” (Tony Johns & Dynamicron edit) – Change

October 11

“Heaven of My Life” (Tony Johns & Dynamicron edit) – Change

It’s my almost my anniversary with my boo so I’m a little more predisposed to songs about apples of one’s eye, angels of one’s heart, loves that one needs and, most importantly, heavens of one’s life. I’ve previously espoused of my love of Tony Johns‘ disco edits, a couple months ago I posted an edit he did of Cybotron’s Clear that was particularly awesome. Recently he teamed up with Spain’s purveyor of killer rock edits, Dynamicron, for this tasty tasty edit of Change’s italo boogie joyride “Heaven of My Life.” I’ve heard quite a few Change edits in my day but never this particular selection. In its original form the track is a great late night driving music that you can kinda boogie to, but the duo has added a goldilocks amount of oomph, bringing it up to the caliber of a lovely floor filler. Go find many more goodies on Tony Johns‘ and Dynamicron‘s respective pages on Soundcloud, they believe in free love or at least plenty of free downloads, so god bless ’em.

/// Brian Blackout

July 5


Turas – Amnesie

We’re thick in the sounds of Summer, and here’s one of my favorite Summer gems. This track has a great little arpeggiated synth bass augmented by some slap bass guitar. It’s filled to the brim with shimmery synths and ready to be cranked on your road trip of choice. Turas appears to be some kind of musical italo disco superhero. Based on this tune, his superpower is evidently to transport everyone to the beach for a super funky dance party. They forget to mention that his sidekick is Spuds Mackenzie. Grab this track and prepare to be transported.

While we’re on the subject of italo, here’s a dubbed out song to soundtrack your beach trips, courtesy of Expatmichael, an American living in Rome. Hipnosis are better known to disco nerds for their Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre covers. This track is an original, but is about as proggy and atmospheric as italo disco gets. Expatmichael posts loads of choice finds, I highly encourage you to follow him for more good stuff.

/// Brian Blackout

July 3


Pino D’Angio – “Una Notte Da Impazzire”

Surprisingly, given this oversaturated info-age we live in, I’ve haven’t been able to turn up much in the way of facts on Pino D’Angio. This track, which translates as “A Night To Go Crazy,” landed on my doorstep by way of a mix CD club I joined briefly with a bunch of mostly-strangers, trading discs through the mail with oblique hand-drawn covers and impressively obscure playlists. After some Google sleuthing, I’ve established this much- the man likes to casually chat his way through songs, usually while smoking, making me wonder if he’s Italy’s disco answer to Serge Gainsbourg. Pino’s biggest hit (which he also chats and smokes through) is “Ma Quale Idea” from 1980, and after that he seems to have migrated to the world of film composing. The track is fun, laid-back and full of self-conscious cool. Trying a little too hard? Maybe, but I think it only adds to his charm.

– Spoolwork

May 31

Venice Beach are a couple of Parisian DJs whose star is rising. A lot of folks are excited about their remix work of electro and indie musicians like Metronomy, M83, and Sebastian Tellier, but they also excel at taking classic dance tracks and tweaking them a bit for a modern dancefloor.

Based on their sound, it’s no surprise that these guys are big italo fans, and they’ve made several nice (and freely downloadable) versions of tracks like Mr. Flagio’s “Take a Chance,” Clio’s “Faces,” and a fun stop-start take on B.W.H.’s “Stop.” It was hard to pick just one to blog about, but I was most impressed with their version of Dharma’s “Plastic Doll.”

I’m not all that familiar with the original “Plastic Doll.” Typical of a lot of italo, it deftly combines robotic proto-house rhythms and soaring synthpop histrionics. Throw in some some disaffected, heavily accented vocals that culminate in a keening wail in a killer chorus. Venice Beach begin by housing up the kick drums and snares, loop things a bit, and then really get crazy with running little bits of the original through a lot of echo. The effect is stunning, and the track now nicely bridges between 80s production and modern electropop. It’s also a free download so head over to the Venice Beach soundcloud and pick up a few nice odds and ends.

Dharma – Plastic Doll (Venice Beach Rework)

/// Brian Blackout

May 3

Another week, another italo disco jam from me. This one is off of Rayko‘s recent Rare Wiri Heroes release on his own label, and is a reworking of Mike Oldfield‘s “Foreign Affair.” You may know Mike Oldfield from his most famous work, “Tubular Bells,” (a.k.a. the theme from the Exorcist) which has been covered at least a couple times during the italo era. “Foreign Affair” has had its share of covers too (this Balearic one is ridiculous, for example) but this sounds to be a straight reworking of the original vocal track.

If you’re not familiar with Rayko, this most excellent Spaniard has one of the most active Soundcloud pages I have ever seen, covering everything from boogie to blue-eyed soul, and you can find a lot of his recent reworks on vinyl from folks like Kojak Giant Sounds.

The original “Foreign Affair” makes you feel you’re running along a moonlit beach, glancing back with every step to check for approaching zombies. For this version, Rayko swaps out the original’s sinister arpeggiated synth work with a more amiable and danceable chug. When paired with the some sing-song vocals about finding that special international tropical beach that you’re looking for, it banishes the zombies and evokes images of sun-dappled tides flowing in across your feet. If you’re anything like me, you’re counting down the days until you hit the beach, so this is probably only going to make it harder to wait. No free DL unfortunately, but you can pick the digital download up easily on Junodownload.

/// Brian Blackout

April 26

I’ve had a long and torrid love affair with italo disco. From trying to figure out where Felix da Housecat and Metro Area got their inspirations to trying to ask Tuscan record merchants if they had anything from the 80s in broken Italian, I’ve long sought to know its once mysterious ways. 2012 finds a great deal of italo floating around, freely grabbable on the information superhighway, and great swathes of soundcloud dedicated to italo edits.

Raf’s “Self Control” was one of the first italo songs I heard, and still one of my favorites. Famously covered by Laura Branigan and turned into a top 10 single here in the US in 1984, it’s an easy in to italo disco for most casual fans. It even had one of the kitschiest videos of the italo era. Italian whiz Bottin (of Nang and Italians Do It Better fame) has gotten his dirty paws on the track and tickled the beast into a fiercer dancefloor creature, writhing through silky waves of synthesizer, propelled by skeletal snare hits. Bottin steals the best bits of the extended cut of the song while lopping off the bizarrely cheesy rap found in that version.

Bottin popped on my radar this week already, before I stumbled upon this excellent edit. His recently produced cover of LCD Soundsystem’s You Wanted a Hit, entirely in Italian and the style of italo, is one of the best things I’ve heard in ages. Go check out his soundcloud for more goodness, grab a download of this Self Control edit, and then pick up “Volevi una Hit” when it comes out on vinyl in early May.

/// Brian Blackout

April 5

Lately I’ve been reading The Record Players, the newest book by Frank Brewster and Bill Broughton of Last Night a DJ Saved My Life fame. I’m knee deep in the origins of Chicago House, the world of folks like Ron Hardy, Frankie Knuckles, and Farley Jackmaster Funk. Most folks credit part of the house sound originating with the Hot Mix 5, five prominent radio DJs (including Farley) who made italo disco‘s synthy arpeggiated grooves a staple of Chicagoans musical diet in the mid 80s.

In Flagranti, longtime purveyors of kitsch and sleaze, have decided to pay homage to that moment when italo morphed into house in one of their newest video singles, Gridlock. From early house, it pulls in the relentless looping percussion and a thunderous four on the floor pulse. From italo comes a tropical LinnDrum assault that’ll get your blood pumping for hot sticky weather. They wrap things up nicely with a dope sample from Hot Mix 5’s Ralphi Rosario calling out to the radio world, and a quirky little video of an artist drawing a Chicago cityscape (EDIT: YDHT2S experts assert this is probably Wesley Willis, even radder). Consider it a history lesson and a dance lesson all in one.

You can pick up a copy of the single at Juno (it’s an exclusive there) along with all of their excellent new singles, like this week’s selection, Physical Maturity, which is more than a little NSFW, but totally banging on the breakbeat rhythms.

/// Brian Blackout

March 12

I can remember the first time I ever heard “Dancer” by Gino Soccio. It a disco epiphany that won’t leave my mind anytime soon; my brain completely melted beneath the swelling builds that lead up to belting vocals that I feel directly led to the existence of modern-day disco bands like Escort. In a word: Gino Soccio is a master.

“Michael” by Bufi & La Royale gives me a lot of the same feelings, except the output of the build is completely different. While there aren’t any vocals really threading the track, the punchy instrumentals are there to take you on a ride, where the vehicle is a terrific four-by-four beat inspired by GS himself.

Listen, and groove.

– Mister Disco

March 5

When you’re playing a game of Mario (pick one, any time period, as this analogy is going to be same regardless) and you headbutt an iconic golden question mark to unearth one of the game’s fire flowers, the immediate reaction is a pretty universal one: take me to all the Goombas, because I’m going to seriously fuck them up with all the digital brimstone my upgraded plumber can muster.

That is, until a Lakitu ruins your day, shrinking your man to Danny Devito-like proportions.

The immediate power surge that takes place when you score a Mario fire flower isn’t so far away from the feeling that Italian duo Fire Flowerz captures in its tracks. They certainly aren’t ones for subtlety, electing to not use drawn-out swells to get to the point. Within a few seconds of any given Fire Flowerz track, you’re dancing at your cubicle and your co-workers are wondering what the hell’s wrong with you.

You can check out some more new cuts on the group’s “Offensive Language” EP  here.

– Mister Disco