DISCO DISCHARGE-DISCO EXOTICA.
DISCO DISCHARGE-DISCO EXOTICA.
Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica is the second installment of Harmless Records’ Disco Discharge compilation series of 2012. This is the fourth year of the highly successful and critically acclaimed compilation series, that first hit the shops back in 2009. After four compilations in 2009, another four followed in 2010, and then 2011. So, now celebrating their fourth year of releasing some of the finest disco compilations, crammed full of disco delights for the discerning disco dilettante. The first Disco Discharge compilation released in 2012 was Disco Discharge-American Hot, released on 26th March 2012, which I’ve previously reviewed. It didn’t disappoint, keeping up the high standard of releases I’ve come to expect from the Disco Discharge series. Often, after thirteen compilations, the quality of music of starts to suffer, if a compilation series lasts that long. However, this isn’t the case with the Disco Discharge series. Quite the opposite. Compiler Mr Pinks seems to forever be on the look out for delectable, disco delights. A combination of hidden gems and a few familiar tracks ensure that the Disco Discharge series continues to contain the quality of music I’ve come to expect from one of the best disco compilation series’ on the market. To celebrate the success of this series, Harmless Records have announce the launch of a new label, Disco Recharge, which will soon be releasing Disco Discharge regulars Voyage’s 1977 debut album Voyage. That’s all still to come. Before that, I’ll tell you all about the twenty tracks that can be found on the two discs of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica, which will be released on 9th April 2012 on Harmless Records.
Disc One of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica like Disc Two, features ten full-length tracks, with a mixture of familiar tracks, classics and hidden gems. Among the familiar tracks are Liquid Gold’s Substitute, Patrick Hernandez’s 1979 smash-hit Born To Be Alive, Sylvia Love’s Extraterrestial Lover and Disco Circus’ In A Gadda De Vida/Garden of Eden. That’s not forgetting the fourteen minute cover of the dinosaur rock track House of the Rising Sun. Klein and MBO’s Dirty Talk features here,with the European Connection Mix chosen, and is a classic of the Italo-disco genre. Hidden gems include Who’s Who’s’ Dancin’ Machine, Pussyfoot’s Lay Your Love On the Line and The Chaplin Band’s Extraterrestial Lover. As you’ll realize by now, Disc One of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica doesn’t disappoint. However, what are the best tracks from Disc One of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica?
My first choice from Disc One of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica is Liquid Gold’s Substitute, released in 1980 on the POLO label. Adrian Baker and Eddie Seago cowrote the track, while Adrian Baker produced the track. Liquid Gold were a UK band and Substitute is proof that sometimes, UK artists could produce a glorious disco track. Although better known for their other hit single Dance Yourself Dizzy, this to me, is one of the highlights of their career. Opening with keyboards, percussion and cascading strings, the funkiest of bass lines enter, before guitars and drums join. Dramatic swirling strings signal the enter of Ellie Hope’s lead vocal, accompanied by punchy backing vocals. Her voice is sweet and emotive later becoming powerful and impassioned. Meanwhile the rhythm section add drama and a frisson of funk, as strings contribute a lush sound. For over six minutes, Liquid Gold prove beyond all reasonable doubt that America and Europe hadn’t the monopoly on producing quality disco music.
Klein and MBO’s Dirty Talk was originally released in 1982, on their 1982 album Dirty Talk, released on the Zanza Records. The version included on Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica is the European Connection version, from that 1982 album. It’s a truly innovative, influential track that influenced New Order’s Blue Monday. Hysterical laughter pounding beats and a wash of synths accompany an almost sensual, whispery vocal. Add to this, a myriad punchy beats, hissing hi-hats, percussion and soaring vocals as this hypnotic, futuristic sounding track begins to reveal its subtleties, nuances and hidden charms over eight and a half minutes. Of course, without the vocal the track wouldn’t have been as good. The vocal combined with the synths and drum machines to me, equals a truly is innovative, influential track, one that thirty years later, has a timeless sound. European Connection is one of my favorite versions, it always has been, and this slice of Italo-disco is one of the real highlights of the compilation.
Anyone growing up in 1979 couldn’t help but hear Patrick Hernandez’s Born To Be Alive, which gave the French singer a huge hit. Produced by Patrick Vanloo, and released on the Aquarius label and was the title of his 1979 album. With pounding drums, synths and hissing hi-hats, the track literally explodes into life. Handclaps, guitars and blazing horns combine before Patrick’s joyous vocal enters. With booming backing vocals punctuating the track, a piano and horns drift in and out of the arrangement as this hugely catchy track unfolds. Resistance is impossible, you just can’t help but get swept away by the track. Much as you try, finally you succumb and find yourself singing along. Hours later, you can’t get the song out of your head. That’s why the track racked up fifty-two gold and platinum discs, from fifty separate countries. Sadly, after this, Patrick only released on further album, Crazy Day’s Misery Nights.
One of the hidden gems on Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica is Pussyfoot’s Lay Your Love On The Line, with the original 12” single chosen. Released in 1979 on EMI, and co-written, arranged and produced by Mickey Flinn, the track features Donna Jones vocal. The track was entered into the Song For Europe contest, coming fourth. It’s a track that features a big production, and equally big, powerful, emotive vocal from Linda. She’s accompanied by a combination of pounding drums, keyboards and guitars that don’t spare the power chords, are key to the arrangement’s sound. Her vocal has a sweet sound, but is powerful, laden with emotion and passion. Behind her, the rhythm section, guitar, keyboards and percussion produce a much more Euro Discoo sound rather than a classic American disco sound. Regardless of whether its origins are European or American, this track’s addition on Disc One of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica is a welcome one.
Although I’ve only mentioned four of the tracks on Disc One of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica, I could just as easily have mentioned any one of the ten tracks. I wanted to include a familiar track, a classic and a hidden gem. Obviously, Klein and MBO’s Dirty Talk is a stonewall classic, so that choice was easy. Choosing a familiar track was quite easy, given how big a hit Patrick Hernandez’s Born To Be Alive had been. Liquid Gold’s Substitute was another track that qualified as a familiar track, and proved the occasionally, the British could produce a great disco track. Choosing a hidden gem wasn’t as easy. I was torn between a trio of tracks that included Who’s Who’s Dancin’ Machine, Sylvia Love’s Extraterrestrial Lover and the track I chose Pussyfoot’s Lay Your Love On The Line. That it was so difficult choosing just one track demonstrates the consistency of music on Disc One of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica. Will this be the case on Disc Two of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica?
On Disc Two of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica, the tracks can again be separated into distinct categories, with the disc a combination of familiar tracks and hidden gems. Voggue’s Dancin’ the Night Away is one of the familiar faces, while Gina Soccio and Patrick Juvet are two other artists who’ve previously featured on other Disco Discharge compilations. Among the hidden gems are tracks like Jeanette’s Don’t Say Goodnight To the Lady of Spain, Azoto’s Soft Emotion, Passengers’ I’ll Be Standing Beside You and Bette Middler’s Hurricane. That’s not forgetting a cover version of Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour by an artists you’d never guess…..Boney M. One artist features on both discs, the Chaplin Band with Il Veliero their contribution to Disc Two. Overall, there’s an intriguing selection of some quality music on Disc Two of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica. However, what are the highlights of Disc Two of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica?
Voggue’s Dancin’ The Night Away was released by Mercury in 1981 and featured the vocals of Angela Songui and Chantal Condor. Produced by Michael Daigle, two Philly Sound veterans feature on this track. Richard Rome contributes keyboards while the luscious string sound of the Don Renaldo Ensemble dances around the arrangement. Add to this the sweet and beautiful sound of Angela and Chantal’s vocals, some blazing horns, a tight rhythm section and plentiful supply of percussion and you’ve the recipe for a classic disco track, one with a healthy sprinkling of Philly magic. What more can you ask for?
Bette Midler contributes her 1979 track Hurricane to Disc Two of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica’s highlights with Hurricane. Co-written by Bette and Randy Kerber, this was a track from her 1979 Thighs and Whispers album. This was released at a time when many artists and actors were attempting to rejuvenate their careers via a disco hit. Unlike many of them, Bette is a talented singer. Produced by Arif Mardin, the track opens with aptly, a hurricane blowing. Then pounding beats, shivering strings, percussion and piano giving way to Bette’s vocal. Her vocal is a mixture of tenderness, emotion and quickly power. Backing vocalists accompany Bette, while subtle horns drop in and out of the arrangement. All of this is combined with a pounding disco beat and a tempo of 120 beats per minute, results in accomplished slice of disco from The Divine Miss M.
Gino Soccio is responsible for one of the best tracks on the whole compilation, Dance To Dance. This is a track from her 1979 album Outline, released on Celebration Records and produced by Mix Machine. Dance To Dance gave Gino a huge hit single on the US Billboard Disco Charts in 1979. Written by Gino, and sung against an arrangement that reaches 128 beats per minute, this is seven minutes of majestic music. Opening with a whispery vocal, percussion and piano, it’s all change when pounding beats enter, along with punchy, blazing horns. Central to the track is a combination of Gino’s vocal and an excellent arrangement. The rhythm section drive the track along, while horns, percussion and keyboards accompany Gino’s vocal. It’s shrouded in echo, while punchy horns punctuate the arrangement. When all this combined, the result is a fantastic track, one of the real highlights of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica.
The final track from Disc Two of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica I’ve chosen is by Dutch producer Theo Vaness. Sentimentally It’s You is a track from his 1979 album on Prelude Records Bad Bad Boy. The track has a real combination of sound, with Euro Disco and Hi-NRG fusing as one. This fusion of styles has a tempo of 137 beats per minute, demonstrating the move away from the classic disco sound, towards the harder, faster Hi-NRG style. No longer is 127 Disco Heaven, but the style and sound was for much quicker tracks. Here, a combination of synths, keyboards and quick, crunchy drumbeats accompany the vocal as the track unfolds. Quickly the tempo rises, with 127 Disco Heaven left way behind. What makes the track for me, is the vocal. It’s emotively delivered, with a vampy style, while punchy backing vocals augment it. By the end of the track, you realize just why this track and Theo’s other 1979 hit As Long As It’s Love proved to be such popular, European dance-floor anthems.
Similar to Disc One of Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica, Disc Two delivers a consistent and eclectic selection of disco music. Whether it’s Euro Disco, Hi-NRG or the more traditional, classic disco sound you prefer, then there’s something for everyone here. That’s not forgetting Klein and MBO’s slice of Italo Disco Dirty Talk on Disc One. Such an eclectic selection of disco is what you’d expect from compiler Mr Pinks. Again, he’s dug deeper than he’s ever dug before, succeeding in unearthing a selection of hidden gems and golden disco nuggets. In doing so, Mr Pinks doesn’t neglect the more familiar tracks, with Liquid Gold’s Substitute, Patrick Hernandez’s Born To Be Alive, Klein and MBO’s Dirty Talk and Voggue’s Dancin’ the Night Away some of the familiar friends that we’re reintroduced to on Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica. Hidden gems include Pussyfoot’s Lay Your Love On the Line, Jeanette’s Don’t Say Goodnight To the Lady of Spain and Bette Midler’s Hurricane. Many of the tracks on Discharge-Disco Exotica are a move away from the earlier classic disco sound, with the focus on the sounds and styles that would replace it, after the Disco Sucks movement tried to destroy disco. This saw Euro Disco, Italo Disco and Hi-NRG become the favored sounds of disco lovers. However, over thirty years after the Disco Sucks movement tried to destroy disco, the music is even more popular than before and is why quality disco compilations like Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica are welcomed by lovers of disco everywhere. On what’s the fourteenth installment of the Disco Discharge series, Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica doesn’t disappoint, featuring twenty disco delights which will keep you hooked until the next instalment, Disco Discharge-Europa hits the shops on 23rd April 2012. Let’s hope that it’s as good as Disco Discharge-Disco Exotica. Standout Tracks: Liquid Gold Substitute, Klein and MBO Dirty Talk and Voggue Dancin’ the Night Away and Gino Soccio Dance To Dance.
DISCO DISCHARGE-DISCO EXOTICA.