Massara ‎– Margherita

All the key elements of an italo-disco record are in the first video posted, if one is frank, it’s a little on the cheddary side (cheesy), the synchronised dance moves and fashion harks back to a time when music was fun.

The magical thing about the wave of italo disco records that came out of Europe in the late seventies to mid eighties, was that they almost always contained instrumentals – to what usually were awfully sung songs – nine times out of ten they were better than the main record on side a, these were known as the b sides of 12″ record’s.

 

 

Kruder and Dorfmeister – The K&D Sessions

Peter Kruder and Richard Dorfmeister completely took the world by storm with their classic 1998 release “The K&D Sessions”. I had first become aware of Kruder and Dorfmeister several years earlier, listening to Gilles Peterson on his Kiss FM show in London in around 1993 with their track “High Noon” that was completely massive at the time. R-170440-1260579320_jpeg Fast forward a few years, I heard their  DJ-Kicks mix CD through  a friend at University, I could not find a copy as much as I tried back then, certainly another release worth trying to get a copy of. R-2951-1310897587_jpeg Listeners of this mix CD were scarcely surprised with their next main offering “The K&D Sessions”, as the DJ Kicks mix CD only made listeners rapacious for more of their music. By the time “The K&D Sessions” came out mix CD’s were “one a penny”, they were expensive but there were a lot of truly dreadful releases that were complete “bubblegum” – lasting fleetingly, if at all. The challenge anyone under the age of twenty has in listening to an album like “The K&D Sessions” today is that they generally don’t have the attention span to really listen to the music from start to finish, if they do, they lack the context and almost religiosity required to listen to an album from the start to finish without skipping, skimming or shuffling. This isn’t a criticism, it’s just that finding music through the internet is more about individual tracks rather than albums, especially with dance music. Listening to a classic album like “The K&D Sessions”  on a website like youtube track by track in any order, is like reading a book backwards and choosing the chapters at random, the recommendation with this release is to listen to it from start to finish. k7 will be releasing this on Vinyl, CD, WAV and MP3 in April and have already started taking orders.

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Unfortunately their first early bird quantities are already sold out (from their website).

That was fast! We’ve already sold out of our initial early bird web store quantity. Fear not though, we have more vinyl on the way, and should be back in stock by end of day Friday 20th of February.

What Kruder & Dorfmeister managed to pull off here was to create a musical landscape unlike no other, much like a good book with a story to tell, it’s a wonderfully programmed, engaging and outstanding showcase of artistry. I guess as the saying goes, “snooze, you lose!”.            

William Onyeabor

William Onyeabor has emerged as one of the most important people in electronic music, making records reputedly as good as the ones coming out of New York at the same time in the mid seventies to early eighties, the golden age of dance music.

William is singular in exciting both musicians and the general public alike. One really does feel quite fortunate to live at a time when music like this has been found, documented and shared using the wonders of modern technology as in the following “cannot recommend highly enough”  mini-documentary.

The brilliant news about the album release, is that it contains all his albums in one package.

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I know the album has been out for a little over a year, but it seems a lot of articles in blogs and news websites seem to have “obtained” their information from the video in this post.

Basement mixes #7 and #8

A true labour of love, containing records one has really been after for a number of years. Like a lot of the basement mixes, the difficulty is seldom in trying to attain a good mix. Most of the difficulty and effort is in the time and expense in trying to get the original Vinyl records.

I DJed as a career for a little while in the mid to late nineties. I always enjoyed playing bars particularly, because one is usually at the mercy of whoever walks in, you could never plan elaborate sets, because if the people didn’t like what you were playing, they left or let you know about it, so you never really planned anything except to try and take a large variety of different music in case you got caught short (no convenience of memory sticks or external hard-drives, the worst feeling was having a gig where the venue is full, things-are-kicking-off and you have the crowd going, but run out of records). Obviously house music was a big thing for one at the time, but to be honest, it never really worked that well in pubs and bars except at the weekend. Licensing wasn’t what it is today where venues could open all hours, every day of the week, so come Saturday night you had to have your act together and entertain. I learnt to be a professional then, and DJed at a lot of nights some might gasp at. My student events were always packed, even if it meant playing Dexys Midnight Runners “Come on Eileen”,  “Summer Nights” from the musical Grease, “Loaded” by Primal Scream (probably the record I played the most out back then), “One Step Beyond” by Madness and other pure crowd pleasers, it was always fun and definitely not boring, and certainly better than staying in. Other nights allowed one to experiment more with disco, funk, soul, jazz, rock, classical, folk, hip-hop, blues etc.

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I don’t know the specifics of Amato going under in 2007  but think the rise of the internet, and the profuse number of file sharing sites that were sharing music illegally that affected the music industry so negatively, I don’t think anyone saw that coming. A lot of labels here in the UK decided to go digital soon after, Masters at Work though performing live less and less had been DJing digitally for around ten years, countless times you would overhear people in record shops discussing them DJing off CD, the sound mixers at the time supported digital mixing poorly, the world had become obsessed with mixing digitally that required a real mastery of the equipment you were using, there was no software to do it for you, controlling a varying mix using CD was still quite hard, though not impossible (none of the hot records were ever available on CD though!).

I was DJing seven days a week at one stage and much as one was committed to Vinyl, I just could not afford to buy everything on Vinyl, especially the imports. When playing indie or alternative nights, it just was more convenient to use CD.

Trance and Hard house took over in a major way at the end of the nineties, with Records like ATB “Till I Come” and Robert Miles “Children” being at the top of the charts, house music in its traditional form was in the doldrums, with DJ’s like Frankie Knuckles giving up on music production altogether after around 30 years.

DJing was pretty cut-throat those days, and not really accepted as a “profession” so one resolved to move back into a normal occupation where you were guaranteed a salary at the end of the month, as opposed to the vicious circle of getting a residency in a Bar or Club (spending all your wages on trying to get an ideal musical catalogue for the venue, if it was a bit more indie, or a bit more funk and disco etc.) for them to get rid of you with no notice. I guess a word to the wise here is to not get too close to your competitors, as usually it was a DJ buddy that gets your gig and replaces you.

I hung up my turntables in the early noughties and stopped playing house, but did continue to pursue my love of Vinyl, just not always House. I was a fan of Kiss FM in the early nineties, but hardly heard any Gilles Peterson when I moved up north, just the odd mixtape. London was The WAG, Dingwalls, Smollensky’s on The Strand etc. so was cock-a-hoop when BBC Radio 1 started broadcasting the Worldwide Show. I particularly enjoyed his Brownswood Basement mixes where he played rare and collectable 1st issue 45’s and 33’s, I just could not believe the Renee Geyer record – a bit like Bobby Caldwell “What You Won’t Do For Love” last record in the Basement #1 mix – where the audience is oftentimes surprised to learn the singer is actually White.

Compiling these mixes has required an incalculable amount of time spent in second-hand record shops, vinyl warehouses, and record fayres up and down the country.

They simply don’t come better than this, both mixes contain rare, sought after, and hard to find classics, so one hopes you enjoy these Special “Vinyl Only” mixes, recorded on two Technics SL1210’s and a mixer

Ten City – Foundation

Next up is Ten City and the classic Foundation – the third cassette tape that my hard earned pocket money was spent on – Together with the Adeva record posted earlier, the tracks on both albums would come to define “Garage” what some call “Soulful House” nowadays.

The album is singular in that it also came to define deep house. Mr Fingers classic “Can You Feel It” from 1986 is what I regard as the Genesis event for Deep House, it is almost the National Anthem for quality dance music, and a great litmus test for assessing whether someone will like deep house, I’m yet to meet someone that does not like that record. For me it is the track “Suspicious” that is precocious, but being produced by none other than Marshall Jefferson (sometimes known as the father of house music) should we be surprised?

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Devotion is a track that DJs like Danny Tenaglia have in their all time favourites list and it’s easy to see why , falsetto voiced Perfection comes from Byron Stingily who is imperious throughout the album.

The anticipation for this album was enormous, as it came out over a year and a half after tracks like “Right Back To You” and “That’s The Way Love Is” started getting action from DJs on the radio everywhere. Both tracks were huge hits globally, though it is worth getting the 12″ versions as well if you can e.g. the b side to “Right Back To You” contains “One Kiss Will Make It Better (House Mix)” a beyond magnificent record.

Some of Chicago’s finest!