Review: Many of you may be familiar with "San Sebastian", the 1979 Mediterranean disco slammer that was by far and away the biggest dancefloor hit for Celso Valli's Azoto project. Less well known is the album that it was taken from, Disco Fizz, which here gets a fresh vinyl reissue courtesy of the diggers at Mondo Groove. In some ways, it's typical of Italian disco of the period, taking cues from both electronic European disco (think Giorgio Moroder, Gino Soccio etc.), the hybrid synth-disco/orchestral disco of Rinder and Lewis (see bonkers but brilliant closer "Exalt-Exalt") and driving U.S disco anthems (the previously mentioned "Sal Salvador"). Intrestingly, opener "Fire Fly" sounds like a blueprint for later synth-pop influenced Italo-disco records.
Review: Daniele Baldelli: Unquestionably one of DJ culture's longest-standing and furthest-thinking selectors drops the penultimate edition of his epic "Cosmic Temple" series with three more exception slabs of creative disco fusion. "Kata Sandi" is a cloud-leaping homage to the new romantic with just a dash of futurism with the trippy roboticised voice processing, "Esaedro" goes for a much more direct dancefloor approach with strong references to Moroder in the initial groove before daringly flipping to a much warmer, smoother jazz dynamic mid-way. Finally "Dioxide" closes the show on a freakier note as a beautifully processed human voice elements are twist inside out with an almost animated energy. Quintessential Baldelli.
Review: Daniele Badlelli's Cosmic Temple series reaches its fourth chapter, and as usual the Italian legend is in a typically mixed-up mood. Somewhat surprisingly, opener "Joka Joka" sounds like an Afro-cosmic take on Acid Jazz (think jaunty clavs, Tony Allen rhythms, hearty African vocals and goatee-sporting saxophone solos). On the flip, Baldelli goes back to his roots with the sharp guitar solos, kosmiche synths and metronomic, Italo-disco grooves of "Vhanessa", before pitching things down to minus eight with the outer-space synth chug of "Archetipo". With its' delay-laden drum hits, heady sound effects and killer analogue bassline, it's the closest thing on the EP to the cosmic disco blueprint.
Review: Cosmic don Baldelli commences a new six part project that will culminate in a mix and some beautiful six-piece 12" sleeve art collage. Igniting as he means to go on, each cut shakes and struts with distinctive aspects of Daniele's signature style: "Thyratron" is a ballroom jazz anthem-in-waiting with lavish piano splatters over an insistent disco chug, "Diffrazione" takes us much deeper into Baldelli's psyche with soaring, heavily processed guitars and synths freaking out over a pulsating bulbous bass bed while "Inner Light" brings us back into reality with a mildly Nordic piece of pop-oriented disco, all sensual, breathy vocals and a twinkling synth groove. Bring on the next chapter.
Review: Federico De Caroli's Deca project has been waving the flag for Italy's ambient and mystique concrete scene since the mid 1980's. The man's albums, which span a wild and diverse set of experimental sounds, are a rarity these days; this particular reissue, Deca's debut from 1986, is going for near L300 on Discogs, so count this your lucky day. Mass, as the name curiously implies, is a rip-roaring fest of a journey through the deepest and most cavernous of coldwave sounds. With its high-speed pace on the drums and a grainy, grey-scaled coating to round it off, it feels like rave music way before the term was coined. Proto-techno also doesn't it do any justice because tunes like "Inseminoid" or "The Door" go much further than that, heading way out into unknown territories which then became second nature to artists like AFX about a decade later. If you're into your dance music on the industrial side, and if you like it cooked raw, then this will please you endlessly. Be quick, though!
Review: Despite earning his reputation as a composer of religious music and cinematic soundtracks in the 1970s, Marcello Giombini was also something of an electronic music pioneer. He began to use synthesizers heavily in his work from the early '70s onwards, embracing early music computers at the dawn of the 1980s. It was in this period that he recorded Computer Disco, an album featuring a suite of all-electronic dancefloor instrumentals created using some of the earliest music computers. All these years on, it remains a thrilling release; a stripped-back, Italo-disco-era take on Kraftwerk or Yellow Magic Orchestra featuring all manner of intergalactic melodies, spacey synth sounds and off-kilter drum rhythms.
Review: The follow-up to legendary Marcello Giombini's cult Computer Disco album, I Adore Commodore was created to sex up the new home computer and relate its music to the clubs. Complete with a sassy video, the album sees the electronic pioneer reconstruct and recompose soundtracks of the games at the time on a Commodore 64. The results are incredible and pack much more of a punch than the processing power might suggest. The spiralling arpeggio and slapbass of "Jupiter Lander", the fright night theatrical funk of "Space Invaders" and the seafront silliness of "Depth Charge" are just some of the whimsical, funky highlights across an untarnished time capsule album that will bring back many memories for those around the 40 mark.
Review: Since its' release in 1981, this quirky debut album from Louis' Band - a short-lived studio outfit put together by arranger and producer Louis Vanni - has become a sought-after item amongst record collectors. Happily, Mondo Groove has decided to make it available digitally for the first time. It's an eccentric but hugely entertaining affair, featuring a range of tunes that variously touches on jazz-funk, AOR disco, flute-laden instrumental soul, synth-laden rock-and-roll revivalism, sax-laden sleaziness, and the kind of oddball, library music style fair that some may consider 'Balearic'. Given that original vinyl copies are hugely difficult to find, this digital edition is well worth picking up.
Artificial Intelligence (Daniele Baldelli & Marco Dionigi remix) (4:53)
Artificial Intelligence (DJ Ralf remix) (9:40)
Review: Paolo Tarsi, enigmatic Italian producer of electronic and chamber music, follows up an impressive full length on Rebirth last year with "Artificial Intelligence EP" for Cattolica-based imprint Mondo Groove. Dark Italo disco on Giallo kind of vibes throughout - the EP presents three remixes of the title track by Italian pop outsider Andrea Tich, Daniele Baldelli and Marco Dionig with their slow, lo-slung and cosmic rework and DJ Ralf (founder of Laterra) who brings things to a close with a hypnotic polyrhythmic version that rides on an acidic house groove.