tisdagen den 22:e januari 2013
Mindless Boogie was a true trendsetter in the early years of the disco edit-boom. With a concept that set aside traditional genres and re-edits as simply DJ tools, they went looking for the right vibe no matter what the BPM counter said.
The label was run between 2006 and 2010 by Dirk De Ruyck (who also worked with Eskimo Recordings) & Tonic out of the small city of Ghent, Belgium. Size doesn't matter though, since Ghent has been a source of great dance music dating back to the New Beat-movement of the 1980's. Besides hosting some now classic edits by big names such as Prins Thomas, Lexx, In Flagranti & Todd Terje (under the pseudonym Wade Nichols, which was the real name of gay porn-actor turned disco singer Dennis Parker), the label made their name with some great edits by Tonic himself. Under three different names (Tonic, Skinny Joey & Rubber Room) and altogether six 12"-releases he stirred up an interest for both the leftfield as well as the mainstream (especially the discovery of everything Hot Chocolate made EXCEPT "You Sexy Thing"). The choice of original tracks was always the genius of Mindless Boogie.
Tonic recently put up an archive of his works on Soundcloud:
torsdagen den 27:e december 2012
The mainstream popcultural blog PSL (a part of SVT) has even picked up on the duos dance music in a recent feature.
The 200 copies limited 12" will be released sometime around the 12th of January. Keep an eye out on the release over at Juno.
Tomorrow night in a town called Malmö, The Todd is here. Me + Josefina Biderholt (of Prejka) in the bar, playing slo-mo cosmodelic midnight-shaded glitterati & gutter-kraut disco. Poster made by Ivar Lantz of Fasaan Recordings.
tisdagen den 11:e december 2012
The new documentary (or video essay if you will) by Jamie Kastner on the (secret) history of disco as the title indicates, is making its way around the cinema circuit in fast pace. The position of the film (stated in the press release) is that disco has been "gravely misunderstood" and that "revisionist historians now argue the era was in fact an important time of protest: liberating gays, blacks and women". They key historian referred to is Alice Echols, author of Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture. Peter Shapiro, author of Turn The Beat Around: The Secret History Of Disco, is also featured and interviewed in the film. And while most of the films narrative takes its facts straight from these in my opinion very reliable sources, Kastners ambitions with the film as a whole obscures these facts in favour of a quite complex - but in no way uninteresting - stance regarding both the story and the craft of documentary-film making. By claiming that the film is a "comical investigation" and a "satirical exploration" Kastner relieves himself of taking any kind of position, and instead plays a kind of critical bystander, leaving almost everything up to the viewer. Yet the main arguments and sentiments of Echols & Shapiros research are without hesitation used as the backbone to promote the film, which Kastner explains to CBCNews: “rather than challenge these theories in any kind of direct or head-on way, I decided to take a more playful, roundabout, ironic approach that was, in tone, agreeing with them 150 per cent”. This could explain the senseless choice of topics and interviewees that make up the rest of the film: why, for instance, Nicky Siano is the only DJ featured (no mention whatsoever of Mancuso, Levan or Grasso).
This satirical approach to Echols & Shapiro also makes for some rather tasteless paradoxes, as in the feature about Kool & The Gang for instance. We see Robert Bell shrug his shoulders while explaining the shift in sound from Jungle Boogie to Ladies Night, a scene purposefully pointing out the demise of musical quality as the record companys steered their artists into disco. In an interview by Bill Brewster for DJHistory, Echols however points out that one of her strongest points was to challenge the assumption that disco and rock (as well as other "serious" genres like funk & soul) were antagonistic. Many artists (like David Bowie, Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Luther Vandross, Sly Stone) had no problem breaking these invisible boundaries (which were usually set in the minds of journalists). Kool & The Gang is an exception not because of the overwhelming force of the disco-crazed industry, but simply because they got bad and trusted their company too much.
Another example is that of Saturday Night Fever, the 1979 movie that exposed the world to disco in an unprecedented scale. The movie is of course mentioned in Kastners film, but not the secret history of it as described by Shapiro. The script for Saturday Night Fever was in fact based on an article written by british journalist Nik Cohn and published 1976 in New York Magazine. However, the whole story was a hoax since Kohn knew nothing about disco and had just moved to New York. He simply took an old article of his about the Northern Soul-scene of England and changed some details to fit the scenery of 1976 New York. The movie thus introduced disco to the world as a white, straight & sexist cultural phenomenon with Kohn as its alibi, making way for the following perversion of disco culture with Studio 54 as its beacon of light.
For someone already in the know, this is a therefore a quite meager and unfocused tale of the history of disco, but none the less it's a story well worth telling, as most people would still fully disregard disco as a meaningless fad. The Guardian review deems Kastners proposals "an unexpected school of thought" and warns viewers that the "thesis of revolution (...) be treated with the scepticism it initially deserves". For CBCNews Kastners film "offers a stunning new revelation", which is also their ironic way of dismissing Kastners methods of mixing fiction with fact as unprofessional for documentary-film makers in a feeble attempt to protect the average viewer that they deem too stupid to understand the difference. The Star even calls Echols an "egghead" for her feminist interpretation of Donna Summers Love To Love You Baby. Way to go guys. In a media-consensus like that, I guess we're supposed to be lucky for films like that of Kastners.
Simon Eliasson, 2012.
torsdagen den 6:e december 2012
Long-time friend of the Academy, the Amen Brother Disco Band, has finally entered the realm of black plastic paradise with a 12" of some heavy edits on AMBRO 001.
And thus, a new label is born at the hands of Dubliner-in-exile Niall Kirk. The palette here is full of dusty, greasy stompers rolling along the desert plains with a mean & funky attitude. "Underground psychedelic soul" as Piccadilly Records puts it. I would say that this is a big step to re-organize (or wreak havoc if you will) on any record collection that separates disco from afro & psychedelic rock. They just wouldn't know where to put this one.
torsdagen den 29:e november 2012
Ric Piccolo has been exploring his native crates before on the PampasDiscoShock mixtape series, and will soon be featured on the third volume of Heavy Rotation together with Frisbee Records regulars Albion & spAceLex.
The Diavol release is as usual digital & free (it's a brave new world) and comes with a kick-ass video and artwork by Enrico Nagel. Get it here: http://diavol.bandcamp.com/