Review: For those with an interest in the lefttield side of European disco, the recent renaissance of legendary Italian DJ Daniele Baldelli has been an exciting development. For those outside of Northern Italy, Baldelli remained a marginal figure for many years. Although he - and, it could be argued, compatriot Beppe Loda - invented the "cosmic disco" sound in the late 1970s and early 80s, it's only in the last decade that the sound has been celebrated across the globe. This collaborative EP with fellow Italian spinner DJ Rocca is his first release since 2009. It sees the duo give contemporary nudisco a fresh new twist, adding obvious Italo, cosmic and old skool electro influences. Nowhere is this more evident than on lead track "RoBa Che Scotta", where the veteran duo add simplistic, stargazing melodies to a rough, appregiated groove. There's beauty within the heavy analogue beats and bassline, but they never lose sight of the dancefloor. Ichisan provides a slightly grubbier, disco-centric rework for those who dig straight-up nudisco. The EP finishes with the title track. Similarly melodic and intergalactic in its construction, 'Space Scribble' has an endearing, child-like quality thanks to a sprightly mix of original electro beats, swirling chords and analogue synth riffery. It's a great end to Baldelli's best EP yet.
Review: The ten millionth release from Nang Records this year proves to be just as essential as their previous output. (There may be a certain degree of exaggeration in that sentence). The Tirk offshoot once again flexes their digging muscles, throwing the spotlight on Italian producers Beppe Loda and MC1. "Counter" originally surfaced on a Nang compilation earlier this year but it was deemed worthy of extra attention by the label's decision makers, and rightly so. Beppe Loda imbues the glistening analogue burn of the original with some added synth drama on his appropriately named "Electro Monster Remix". Some mystery and intrigue is injected into proceedings via the slow burning acid bubble of Randome's remix with his/her/their true identity a scurrilous secret. To round things off, Italy's most contemporary proponent of analogue bliss, Bottin, assists Mexican apprentice Avanti in delivering a remix that glistens and shines in all the right places.
Review: The good ship Nang navigates back towards the prosperous musical archives snappily known as Tinpong for a second round of musical excellence from Venetian Bottin and Swiss vocalist Joy Frempong. Last seen giving a Duran Duran classic a high BPM makeover, the Jabberwock release is the first original material culled from the duo's studio antics recorded over a three year period from 2003 onwards. The title track itself is a low slung 80s leaning vocal disco slinkathon very much in the vein of Tom Tom Club, and comes accompanied by a near unrecognisable remix from Rudy's Midnight Machine (aka Robin Faze Action) which discards with the niceties for a full on jackin' dancefloor excursion. Elsewhere tracks such as "Cut Up" and "Diggin' Side" hint at a real versatility to be found in the remainder of the Tinpong archives.
Review: 2010 has been good to Venetian producer Bottin with releases on Eskimo, Bear Funk, Gomma and Perseo to complement remixes for the likes of Sally Shapiro, Telonius and Ali Love as well as a mix CD for Nang Records. It's the latter who dig into the Bottin archives (nee hard drives) and release this, the first fruits of an old collaborative project with Swiss vocalist Joy Frempong under the name Tinpong. "New Religion" is a skippy 140 BPM cover of the early 80s Duran Duran standard which improves on the original by the simple virtue of Frempong's breathy vocal delivery which is preferable to Simon Le Bon's. Brixtonite Marcus Marr rips apart the original and reassembles the parts as a truly impressive late night disco number, replete with a wonderfully broad sounding bassline. Not to be outdone, L.S.B. don and general UK disco standard Pete Herbert steps up with a delightful dub version that sets a dancefloor pace and leaves the most lasting effect.
Review: Having released little more than a trio of well-received 12" singles, Italian producer Claudio Brioski delivers a debut album for London-based nu-disco heavyweights Nang. Sitting somewhere between the pulsating dancefloor tackle of fellow countryman Bottin and the vintage synthesizer doodles of Emperor Machine, Hype Nothing is a pleasing trawl through off-centre nu-disco pastures. Musically, it also touches on glistening synth-pop - see the jaunty vocal cuts "Last Day Here" and "Panic"- and moody Italo revivalism ("Scandal Echo", the Robotnik-ish "Radio Anatomy"), while retaining an effortless air of nerdy synthesizer fetishism. That's some feat.
Review: Perma horizontally inclined duo Pete Gooding and Chris Coco return to Nang for a second round of Balearic leaning bliss. "Believe" sees the duo enlist the hushed vocal talents of Peter Coyle - front man of long running Liverpudlian troupe Lotus Eaters - and he seems perfectly suited to the blissed out digital skank which might just borrow a little something from Timmy Thomas. Complementing the original are some fine remixes from Volta Cab and Ajello, with the Russian adding to his growing reputation, laying some icily chilled ethereal soundscapes over ever changing percussive rhythms and a truly warm bassline. Ajello add some much needed energy as their Plumb Center Mix showcases what they do best - twisting the vocal flex through the spaces between the pumping percussion, gurgling analogue flourishes and Italocentric basslines.
Pass Me By (feat Robert Owens - Pete Herbert remix) (5:12)
Made In The Shade (4:39)
Washed Up (5:33)
Sun Fish (5:19)
Night Boat (6:36)
Ruby Star (3:26)
Review: It's been well over a decade since Pete Herbert last released an album. On that occasion, he was collaborating with Phil Mison, as Frontera. This tine round, Herbert has been joined in the studio by keyboard wizard Martin Denev. Made in the Shade naturally encapsulates all that's good about both producers' work - think colourful synthesizers, loved-up pianos, dreamy chords, rich analogue synth-bass, Italo-disco style arpeggio lines, disco cowbells and an saucer-eyed Balearic mindset - while delivering a string of superb, sun-fired tracks. Highlights come thick and fast, from the classic Italo-house surge of "Washed Up" and T-Coy-does-nu-disco cheeriness of "Night Boat", to the soul-flecked tingle of Robert Owens hook-up "Pass Me By" and groovy, acid-flecked deepness of proto-house shuffler "Time".
Pass Me By (Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca vocal remix) (6:00)
Pass Me By (6:04)
Pass Me By (Dr Packer remix) (6:30)
Pass Me By (Pete Herbert remix) (5:28)
Review: This is big: a collaboration between Balearic nu-disco heavyweight Pete Herbert and "the voice of house" himself, Robert Owens. In its original form, "Pass Me By" is bubbly and attractive, with Owens' adding deep, soulful and emotion-rich vocals to a sparkling, synth-heavy backing track that effortlessly joins the dots between freestyle, proto-house and Italo-disco. The equally impressive remix package is headed up by a fine rework from Daniele Baldelli and DJ Rocca: a chugging, undulating cosmic disco revision that's surprisingly more organic in feel. Elsewhere, Aussie adventurer Dr Packer gives it an electrofunk flavoured house makeover and Pete Herbert turns in a fluid, Balearic-inspired rework full of heady synth lines and tumbling pianos.
Review: Slovenian duo, Ichisan & Nakova drop their debut full length on Greg Wilson's Nang imprint. On Yugo Tempo, the duo infuse the sounds of modern electronic disco with the melodies and rhythms they found in the more traditional music genres that surrounded them in their youth. Merging the disciplines of wonky, ethnic and Balearic disco into one record, we hear indigenous melodies, Tarantino-esque guitar lines and aluminium suitcases full of atmosphere. A curious yet wholly entertaining work from the duo, this debut album is well worth checking out whatever your musical preference.