Mannequin Records present a new press of Decadance’s “On And On (Fears Keep On)”, one of the most iconic underground Italo-wave tracks ever. Produced by Franco Rago and Gigi Farina, the masterminds behind cult Italo disco projects ‘Lectric Workers, Wanexa, Expansives, Atelier Folie, Peter Richard, and many more, the single was originally released in 1983 by Proto Records. Permeated by a dark and eerie synths, a perfectly programmed Roland TR-808, and an outstanding analog production, “On And On (Fears Keep On)” belongs to dark Italo disco or Italo wave. Remastered by Rude 66, 2018, Berlin.
2020 repress. Following their self-released debut EP, Flamingo Pier (DJ residents Luke Walker, Dominic Jones, and Bradley Craig) have crafted four dance floor-worthy tracks influenced by the boogie, disco, Afro and classic house. Slick, rolling disco synths and punchy drum machines are woven in with Afro-centric percussion and dreamy vocal chants, for an exotic disco-boogie journey from start to finish. Early support for the EP is already coming from Bill Brewster, JD Twitch (Optimo) and Ray Mang. The EP is being released to coincide with the Flamingo Pier Festival in Waiheke, New Zealand.
LaRombé is one of the most talented songwriters I have come across in my years of working for Jazzman and Athens of the North. Having gone through much of his tape archive it obvious what a powerhouse of song writing and composition this man is. LaRombé music is of the strongest calibre all the way, from his first release in 1979 to present day. All of his Soul, Disco & R&B stands the test of time. It’s easy to have one record that with luck ends up great but another thing to write record after record with great hooks you can’t leave alone. Athens of the North is very proud to present ‘From Philly’, Vinyl comes with sleeve notes featuring interview and photos.
Revolution (Live Disco Show In New York City) is the fourth and final BBE reissue of Sidiku Buari’s unique and sought-after body of African Disco albums.
Side 1 is (possibly!) ‘live’ throughout, from a 1979 show at the (possibly mythical!) La Cheer Nightclub, NYC, but very well recorded for a ‘live’ album with clean, bright top notes, sharp percussion and heavy bass-lines. Keep The Rhythm Going segues into Ofey Karambani reminiscent of the Kongos’ massive Loft Club floorfiller Anikana-O, whilst This Is Music and Disco Soccer keep up the 120-140bpm pace to complete a side that rocks enough for the lazier DJ to play from start to finish without lifting the needle!
Side 2 consists of four very varied tracks all recorded at Aire L.A.Studios, the two openers Revolution and Together We Can Rebuild It (Ghana Motherland) being polemics against government and army corruption, and a battle-cry for Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, who ruled the country for a brief period in 1979 when this recording was made, later serving as Ghana’s President from 1981 to 2001. Then there’s a perennial crowd-pleaser Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Side 2 rounding off with the super-heavy Afrobeat-Disco groover, Happy Birthday.
Originally a national athlete, winning silver and gold medals in the Senegal All Africa Games and West African Games in 1963 and a bronze in the All African in Congo Brazzaville in 1965, Sidiku Buari then moved to America on a music scholarship at The York Institute, obtained as a result of his athletic achievements. When one of York’s music teachers, Irvin Mechanic, heard him singing in the Ga language- he suggested putting a rhythm section behind the songs, recording them, and seeing what the American record buying public thought of them. Four classic albums followed in quick succession, after which Buari’s solo output abruptly ceased.
But it was an ending that held within it the seeds of greater musical achievements to come. In 1990 he was appointed to the board of the Musicians’ Union of Ghana, later becoming its President from 1999 until 2007. In 2019, he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Pan-African Republic Honorary Award Society for ‘meritorious contribution to the development of music and movie industries in Ghana’.
Rare ‘live’ album from Ghanaian Disco legend Sidiku Buari, never before reissued. In-demand from collectors across the world, this is a heavyweight Afro-Disco album. Full global press and radio campaigns.
Mystic Jungle & Whodamanny present their Afrodesia project born from a close collaboration between Periodica Records and Best Record Italy. Afrodesia took inspiration from the italian afro-movement that lasted for few years during mid-eighties expecially from those songs produced at the legendary Les Folies Studios in Milan.
In a genre that has classically been driven primarily by hot twelve-inches, it can sometimes be hard to find a disco album that delivers the goods from end to end—let alone a disco LP that could be described as “perfect.” Does such an animal even exist? We’re pretty sure it has to, and we can probably think of a few candidates ourselves.
Cultures of Soul Records presents Sparkle’s self-titled album which many disco aficionados would put into this category.
Sparkle was a female vocal trio from Connecticut, assembled by the producer Harold Sargent, erstwhile drummer of the sterling funk band Wood, Brass & Steel, and creator of manifold drum breaks that would go on to be sampled for decades. Originally released in 1979, the album and the group are fittingly titled as the music is a scintillating, radiant collection of shimmering disco and dazzling funk, performed by Too Much Too Soon—the multiracial R&B band that featured Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, the writing/production team that would discover Rihanna and power her career to global dominance fifteen years later.
Also on hand is musical prodigy Rahni Harris, whose Sargent-assisted club classic “Six Million Steps” is also included on the album.
The result is an album that by far exceeds the sum of its parts, delivering a truly transcendent disco experience. The album goes in a gatefold jacket with extensive liner notes and unreleased photos of group.
Sometimes a single is released that reaches such dizzying heights of success that it becomes a pinnacle of the decade they’re indelibly tied to. Groove Is In The Heart by dance-house trio Deee-Lite is one such single. The infectiously quirky, and eminently danceable track is prominently based around samples of Bring Down The Birds by Herbie Hancock, and Get Up by Vernon Burch, among many others, (Courtesy of dual producers DJs Dmitry and Towa Tei) paired with top-tier guest contributions from JB’s veterans Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley, background vocals from Parliament-Funkadelic’s own Bootsy Collins, and even a guest rap from Q-Tip, not to mention frontwoman Lady Miss Kier’s own siren-like vocals. All disparate and disconnected elements, but ones that would come together to form dancehall greatness, and chart-topping success worldwide for Deee-Lite. Groove Is In The Heart managed to reach #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, but excelled at its best on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, where it reached to the #1 spot. On top of its success in America it was a smash internationally, climbing the heights of the charts in the UK, Canada, Australia, and a vareity of other countries. It remained in heavy rotation for much of 1990 on MTV as well. As the decades went on, Groove Is In The Heart would be ranked among the greatest dance tracks of all time, as well as one of the greatest songs of the 1990s by VH1, Pitchfork, Buzzfeed, and many more. Groove Is In The Heart was a potent single for Deee-Lite to lead with, but the album bearing it was nothing to slouch at either. The group’s debut record, 1990’s World Clique was released to major commercial and critical success, owing just as much to its addictive hybrid of seductive retro aesthetics, modern dancefloor flair, and esoteric, socially conscious messaging, on the back of celebratory club staples like Power Of Love, Good Beat, E.S.P., and of course Groove Is In The Heart. World Clique would reach top 20 charts in the US, UK, and Canada in sales, as well as earn rave reviews from NME, Chicago Sun-Times, Rolling Stone, and Slant Magazine, who called it an “essential pop album.”
Never Before Reissued On Vinyl! After the smash success of Deee-lite’s debut record World Clique, and their now-iconic dance club hit Groove Is In The Heart, anticipation was high for a follow-up from the New York-based dance music trio of vocalist Miss Lady Kier, and producers DJ Towa Tei and Super DJ Dmitri. For their sophomore record Infinity Within, Deee-Lite opted to venture in a different direction of sorts. The club-embracing disco-funk sounds and groovy vibes of World Clique were ever present,but while that record contained themes of global togetherness, Infinity Within took a more socially aware route, with politically charged themes of environmentalism, (To show their bonafidese, Infinity Within was one of the first titles to be issued in an ecologically friendly Eco-pak.) sexual liberation, voting rights, and critique of the juidicial system. Taking major inspiration from the ancient Chinese divination text I Ching, Miss Lady Kier would later explain that Infinity Within was a natural progression for the group, not a departure.
2019 repress; Double LP version, part 1. 15 tracks on 180 gram gatefold 2LP with liner notes. Artists: Chakachas, Mad Unity, René Costy, Alex Scorier, Open Sky Unit, Plus, André Brasseur, Les Hélions, Chicken Curry & His Pop Percussion Orchestra, Placebo, Black Blood, S.S.O. (feat. Douglas Lucas & The Sugar Sisters, Nico Gomez & His Afro Percussion Inc., and Chocolat’s. The best Belgian dance tracks from the beginning of the ’70s. Dire times, they were, full of poverty and hardship. To make a living out of popular music was a near-impossibility in a small country like Belgium. This precarious situation, though, proved to be a blessing in disguise for creative minds. When it’s hard to get your hands on some money, trying out as many things as you can seems the logical thing to do. On the other hand, if there’s hardly any money to be gained anyway, you may just as well play what you bloody well like. That’s what Belgians like to do anyway. Moreover, living in a country where virtually every musical wave passes through also inspires. In the early ’70s, those waves were (Afro-)funk, soul, and Latin. The situation as a whole was a favorable one for some visionary musical entrepreneurs. Jean and Roland Kluger created a musical dynasty, American-style, with successful acts like Chakachas and Two Man Sound. Their rival, Marcel De Keukeleire, scored worldwide hits with Amadeo, Chocolat’s, and “The Birdy Song.” Relying on zealous energy and a shamelessly commercial logic, every effort was aimed at success, so they jumped on as many international bandwagons as they could and tried out their own variants on the local market. Nearly every style in the post-war scene is represented here: Hein Huysmans’ jazz-funk, the jazzy prog-rock of Cos, or the fusion of Open Sky Unit. And of course there’s Marc Moulin, a name that needs little or no introduction. This is the missing link between the variety orchestras of the ’60s and the electronic triumphs of Telex in the late ’70s and early ’80s. These tracks offer the same sense of adventure and slightly surreal pigheadedness that are also present in the best Belgian contributions to dance music. Think Front 242, Technotronic, or Soulwax/2manydjs. This is the ground they built upon.
Double LP version. Gatefold sleeve. The motor hasn’t had time to cool down and the belt drive is feeling the fatigue. But Charles Maurice is the kind of DJ who just can’t let a turntable rest. After steaming up the slipmat with three sexy compilations of French Boogie, Charles Maurice is back with Volume 4. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, while France was still firmly tuned into variety-show pop, a few enlightened ears and souls picked up the hypnotic beat of funk from across the Atlantic. These first warrior monks spread the good word in discotheques, jumped on newly available frequencies to fill the airwaves and — in some cases — took up instruments themselves to unabashedly build on the U.S. model. In a short decade stretching from the late ’70s to the late ’80s — just a blip on the scale of music history — they turned out material in abundance. Lush productions with colorful covers, groovy typeface, and creative photo shoots, but first and foremost, they made music weaned on, spoon-fed and imbued with funk. Music defined by a groove with a robotic beat (Djeneba) that clearly hears hip-hop banging on the door, where layers of synthesizers, handclaps (Eric Chotteau), horns, and African percussion line up and follow the all-powerful lead of the swelling slap bass (Cyrill). This is music that tells everyday stories, both humorous and lovelorn (Serge Delisle), often packed with pheromones just waiting to be released on the dance floor or sofa (Chris O’Hara). Shaped by synthetic textures, these productions are also spiced with Caribbean and Creole arrangements that reflect the West Indies’ critical contribution to French Boogie (Wai Kop, Acayouman). With his immaculate tailoring, slicked-back hair and clipped moustache, Maurice has once again transformed himself into a hi-fi stylus to explore the groove traced by this specifically French musical style. From 45 to 33 rpm, he has traveled the black spiral to bring a new selection that proudly features a number of rarely-heard pieces and even an unreleased track by Marco Attali. True to form, Monsieur Charles carefully crafted this fourth volume from his personal collection of impeccably restored and mastered vinyl recordings. Charles Maurice: where French elegance meets uncompromising musical taste. Also features: Dwight Druick, David Simon, Shen Et Les Shendys, and Aries.
Various Artists “Cosmic Discotheque Vol. 2: 12 Junkshop Afro Disco Funk Gems From the 70s” (Naughty Rhythm)
Welcome back to the magic world of Cosmic Discotheque! This brand-new second volume in the series will take you in an amazing journey through the Afro side of the ’70s disco productions. Certainly, bands like Osibisa, Kongas, and Barrabas with their special mix of Afro-jazz-funk and tribal-freak-rock, helped to spread this unprecedented blend of sounds, that along with classic disco music, were in fact the most danced rhythms throughout the European dancefloors of the era. As in the first volume, Naughty Rhythm Records keep focusing on less known artists and unearthed little gems selected from forgotten dusty singles B sides. Exotic atmospheres and highly hypnotic tribal rhythms are the main ingredients of this Cosmic Discotheque Vol. 2. Twelve Afro-disco singles, all so infectious that it’s impossible not to dance to. Stuff that you will be definitely looking for at the next local flea market. Features African People, Beryl Cunningham, Songhoi Band, Ramasandiran Somusundaram, M’bamina, Max B, Tribe, The Starlights, Tumblack, Luky Pistoia, Kinkies, and Black Blood.
Here comes the Best train with a payload of disco delights from the depths of time, and this is one trip you don’t want to miss. “Il Veliero” is a club classic immortalized in so many great versions, from Lucio Battisti’s original version to the epic cover by The Chaplin Band, but here’s LAMA’s English language version “Love On The Rocks” from 1983, which gives the infectious melancholy an electro injection. On the flip things take a more ominous turn with the gothic Italo tint of “Nineteen Ninety Three” – camp and dark hearted in equal measure, and utterly magnificent
New pop-up Keeps Going takes us on an intercontinental genre spanning ride through the tempos. Eight nuggets lovingly re-touched, tweaked, tucked and tailored for the floor, shore and record bore by the gentle hand of Any Gram. It’s bell ringing! It’s hammock swinging! Stick it in your fumando and inhale!
Dig This Way Records and Sleeve Records have combined forces for this one, to make the impossibile, possible: a reissue of Dibson & Essody’s ‘Justice’. Originally recorded in ’82 and stamped on the distinguished Nigerian label Wilfilms, this extremely rare, revelation of music was meant for sharing and the two labels will be doing just that. Reworked and remastered, this 7 track dance floor masterpiece is coming to a turntable near you. Following the 1960 Nigerian liberation from Western colonization, Nigeria began to use music to vibrate everyone into a place of harmony and community. The majority of pressings that came out from within the Nigerian state paired disco, funk infused beats with strong, political lyrical statements. In this release from Dibson & Essody, the political undertones of ‘Justice’ blended with the smoldering grooves of ‘Music Lovers’ and ‘Let Your Body Move’ classify this disco under the monumental must-haves of Nigeria from the early 1980s. The audio is taken from two copies of the original LP and restored by Davide Bassi at Press Rewind Studio in Italy.
Be With Records present a reissue of Samuel Jonathan Johnson’s My Music, originally released in 1978. My Music is a stellar spiritual soul/jazz-funk gem, recorded by keyboardist-singer Samuel Jonathan Johnson in 1978. The epitome of a cult classic, it didn’t do much upon its release but steadily found an audience over the decades that followed. This is music that shares the jazzy R&B DNA of contemporaries like Roy Ayers and is an intoxicating blend of mellow moments and more groove-heavy tracks. Spacey keys and lush production give it a luxurious, enveloping warmth. My Music opens with the gorgeous title track: an indulgent slow jam opus. Introducing you to Johnson’s compelling musical vision, it features a rich mélange of production techniques. Dripping in strings, horns, backing singers, popping funk bass lines and swooshing synth waves, it’s an unusually structured cosmic two-stepper that has an irrepressible groove. Accordingly, it’s been a favorite with the diggers and it was sampled by The Alchemist for Jadakiss’s “We Gonna Make It”. The up-tempo “Sweet Love” bubbles over with joy, its uplifting lyrics backed by infectious bass and jazzy Fender Rhodes lines. It follows a cover of “What The World Need’s Now Is Love”, taken at a funereal pace that transforms it into a heartfelt plea for love and understanding. After a full-minute-long opening of lush cinematic strings and horns, “Because I Love You” makes space for Samuel’s voice, accompanied by some keys and just a sprinkle of guitar. It builds back up and then mellows its way out to a jazz lounge finish (in all the right ways). The feel-good ebullience of the Stevie Wonder-esque “It Ain’t Easy” closes out the LP’s first side. The second side bursts open with the heavy bounce and disco-funk basslines of “You”, a slightly off-beat string-laden dancer with insistent horns and a piano-assisted groove. Next up is “Just Us”, a legendary steppers track that could be heard oozing out of deep soul radios and funk sound systems back in the late ’80s. “Yesterdays and Tomorrow” is a moving original ballad that is followed by an exquisite high-stepping paean to mom in the form of “Thank You Mother Dear”. The thumping easy-glide of “Reason For The Reason” brings the album to a close. Mastered by Simon Francis and cut by Pete Norman. Sleeve artwork restored by Be With Records. 140 gram vinyl.
Wewantsounds present a reissue of Donna McGhee’s Make It Last Forever, originally released in 1978. Donna McGhee has been one of the key female singers of the New York disco scene, gracing several cult albums with her superb singing. The Brooklyn native began her career singing gospel in her grandmother’s choir from an early age. Her first break in the industry came when she was spotted by bass player Johnny Flippin, who invited her to join his band. The group was none other than The Fatback Band led by drummer Bill Curtis. This was 1975 and the album was Raising Hell. McGhee’s vocals can be heard throughout the album, including the dancefloor classic “(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop”. She stayed with the group for another few years recording Night Fever in 1976 and touring across country. Following an encounter with producer Greg Carmichael, Donna McGhee jumped ship and started working with the prolific producer and his partner Patrick Adams. A string of collaborations followed with singles and albums: Donna can indeed be heard singing with Bumblebee Unlimited, Universal Robot Band, and on Phreek’s classic self-titled album from 1978, singing on the track “May My Love Be With You”. In 1978, After Greg Carmichael set up his own label, Red Greg Records, he and Adams decided to get McGhee in the recording studio and produce her first solo album. With the pair playing most of the instruments, they got five tracks out of the session. The result, Make It Last Forever is an all-time Adams/Carmichael classic: funky disco arrangements with a touch of synths over a pulsating groove magnified by McGhee’s superb sexy singing. All five tracks have become classics in their own right. “I’m A Love Bug” was a remake of Bumblebee Unlimited’s cult favourite from 1976, “Love Bug” (also released on Carmichael’s Red Greg label) while “Make It Last Forever” was later re-recorded by Inner Life (featuring Jocelyn Brown). “Do As I Do” and “Mr. Blindman” keep the groove going and finally, we have “It Ain’t No Big Thing”. The remake of a 1976 single by Personal Touch, produced by Adams for his PAP label and arranged by Leroy Burgess, it is one of the highlights of the album and is a superb catchy composition which has now become a true underground disco standard. An essential disco album. Newly remastered audio.
The Word is one of the better-kept secrets of 1980s Austrian disco music. Yet once you put the needle on this record, you notice that it sounds oddly familiar. The awe-inspiring signature piece “Lobster” has the same analogue, slow-moving aesthetic as Zenit’s timeless “Waiting” that was featured on Edition Hawara’s first release. The same goes for the three other wonderfully unconventional, proto-electronic songs: “Easy”, “All my life” and the eponymous “the word”. And there are even more commonalities with Zenit’s LP: The vocals are Linda Sharrock’s, who here teamed up with Karl “Charly” Ratzer and Peter Ponger, the twin brother of legendary Falco producer Robert Ponger. The result of this collaboration is, well, also quite legendary. How this kind of sound emerged in Vienna in 1984 is still a bit of a mystery, but clearly all the stars were aligned when Sharrock, Ratzer and Ponger were jamming in the studio. We at Edition Hawara are very proud to share this secret with you. Just as there are very few lobsters in landlocked Vienna, there are very few records like this out there.
Here at Athens of the North you know we love Disco, what you might not know is that my friend David Haffner (not only the deepest of disco heads but a great D.J as well) helped us license many of the rare Disco 45s on the label. It is about time David gets the shine he deserves so we asked him to compile some of the songs he helped licence for the label alongside new songs which we have here’Disco With A Feeling’.
So what is ‘Disco With A Feeling’? It’s hard to quantify a sound, but our definition would include 70s Soul or Modern Soul 45s that fit into the disco sound, soulful and magical. The whole LP is straight up dance-floor fire, no matter who you are or where you’re from – a soul boy, disco lady, or a house head you are going to feel the heat of these club smashers.
Officially licensed and remastered reissue!
Tempo Dischi’s second release is one of electronic music’s seminal albums; 1978 Italian space disco album: Automat by Automat.
A year after the release of Oxygène by Jean Michel Jarre, a milestone for electronic music, “Automat” was released in Italy, a timeless record that has influenced the years to come. Released in 1978 by EMI Italia, the album has been produced by two veteran italian songwriters and composers, Romano Musumarra and Claudio Gizzi after meeting Mario Maggi, one of the major innovators in the manufacturing of electronic instruments in Italy. Maggi invented the first programmable monophonic synthesizer ever made: the MCS70. Its sounds have been the basis for the production of the whole Automat album. That synth was used only for this record and remained a prototype, leaving a halo of mystery behind this record.
The album moves in the furrows of an atypical space disco, with abstract classical arias alternating with more sustained rhythms, which combine electronic experiments, progressive psychedelic journeys with cinematic themes. The A Side, composed by Gizzi is an electronic disco-tinged suite divided into three parts (The Rise, The Advance, The Genius). Ater a brief spatial intro, the insistent arpeggio expands into a soundtrack theme with a sumptuous melody, which slowly fades away to make room for a progressive psychedelic journey. The B Side, composed by Musumarra, is made by three tracks, including ‘Droid‘, one of the most representative songs of the electronic music of the early eighties. A magic sequence between the bassline, the electro drums, and the spatial disco theme with a futuristic and cinematic mood. This is a record that has influenced the music of our days and after 40 years may still sound contemporary.
Should you find yourself taking a Thames-side stroll in the shadow of the City of London, keep an eye out for the headphone-clad figure of Ilan Pdahtzur. While be-suited bankers and frustrated office workers scurry home to their families, Ilan can frequently be found casting admiring glances towards the blinking lights of towering skyscrapers while filling his ears with the synthesizer-driven sounds of lesser-known 1980s dance music.
Ilan, an avid but little-known record collector best known for sharing the artwork of obscure and under-appreciated early-to-mid ’80s club cuts on his popular Instagram feed, has been digging for vibrant, kaleidoscopic records since his teens. Now, thanks to Spacetalk, he’s been given a chance to offer a glimpse into his neon-lit nocturnal musical world. The result is Night City Life, a killer collection of 1980s synthesizer songs inspired by Ilan’s admiration for the glow of London’s late night skyline. Over the course of 13 essential tunes, Ilan escorts us on a vibrant sprint through rare Italo-disco, steamy South African synth-boogie, fizzing American freestyle, oddball Austrian electrofunk and so much more.
There are naturally a fair few sought-after cuts present, but also a fine selection of under-appreciated gems that for one reason or other have been all but ignored since they were released three and a half decades ago. In fact, some selections are so obscure that barely any information exists about them online. Check for example Preludio’s “Mysterious Nights”, an evocative fusion of slow electronic grooves, dreamy chords and twinkling piano motifs previously buried on a lesser-known album of unremarkable German synth-pop, or the dollar-bin brilliance of Fragile’s sweet synth-pop gem “We’ve Got Tonight, Boy”, a cut that Ilan says is capable of “wrapping itself like tendrils around your soul”. He’s not wrong.
At the other end of the scale you’ll find the ultra-rare Italo-disco breeziness of Friend of Mine’s incredible “Just Your Pride” and Mac & Monica’s soulful 1986 South African synth-boogie cut “You’re So Good To Me”, copies of which regularly change hands for hundreds of pounds online. Ilan originally reached out to the men behind the record last year to tell them how one of their other forgotten gems had been played on a Boiler Room session; naturally, they were thrilled.
There’s plenty to admire elsewhere on the compilation, too, from the waves of analogue synths, bubbly melodies and bobbing beats of the instrumental dub version of Brian Tatcher’s “Hot Love” – a cold-war era cut inspired by the idea of love blossoming in the midst of a nuclear meltdown – to the Bobby Orlando-esque freestyle bustle of Janelle’s “Don’t Be Shy (Dub)” and the sparkling post-boogie brilliance of Jarmaz’s “Night City Life (Disco Remix)”, a track Ilan has listened to countless times while admiring the midnight skyline of his home city.
Wewantsounds present a reissue of Yukihiro Takahashi’s debut solo album Saravah!, originally released in 1978. One of the key Japanese albums of the ’70s, it was released at a key time when, following his tenure with Sadistic Mika Band, Takahashi had just joined the nascent line up of Yellow Magic Orchestra. A sophisticated mix of disco funk, synth pop, ambient, French exotica, and bossa nova, the album has the stylish feel of a night out clubbing in Paris circa 1978. It’s the missing link between the city pop scene of the late ’70s and the synth sound of YMO which was about to revolutionize the world. The month before recording the YMO debut album that would help alter the course of music, Yukihiro Takahashi entered the studio with his fellow band-members Ryuichi Sakamoto and Haruomi Hosono to record Saravah! together with the cream of the Japanese scene. He drew his inspiration from globe-trotting French musician Pierre Barouh who had introduced Bossa Nova in France in 1966 with “Samba Saravah” (featured in soundtrack the Oscar winner A Man And A Woman which he co-wrote) and subsequently launched Saravah Records. Saravah! starts off with a couple of French and Italian exotica classics (“Volare” and “C’est Si Bon”) with delicious touches of synth while “Saravah!” is a nod to Pierre Barouh, a languid bossa nova with beautiful soulful strings arranged by Ryuichi Sakamoto. The album gets hotter with “La Rosa”, a superb mid-tempo ambient funk featuring Shigeru Suzuki’s fluid guitar. Next is an amazing exotica-synth version of the standard “Mood Indigo”, announcing the midi revolution that was to come before things get funkier shortly after with Ryuichi Sakamoto’s superb up-tempo disco instrumental “Elastic Dummy” featuring soulful strings and horns with solos by Sakamoto and guitarist Tsunehide Matsuki. The album then moves on to the ambient synth pop of “Sunset” before switching back to disco funk with “Back Street Midnight Queen” which, like “Elastic Dummy”, has become a dancefloor cult classic. Saravah! ends on a perfect note with the beautiful “Present” a perfectly crafted pop song which Takahashi wanted to do in a city pop mode, featuring a superb melody and high-class arrangements.. Newly remastered by renowned engineer Mitsuo Koike. Features original artwork with photos by Masayoshi Sukita (David Bowie’s Heroes (1977)); includes four-page insert and a new Introduction by Benjamin Barouh (of Saravah Records).
Mechanical Fantasy Box is Cowley’s homoerotic journal, or as he called it, “graphic accounts of one man’s sex life.” The journal begins in 1974 and ends in 1980 on his 30th birthday. It chronicles his slow rise to fame from lighting technician at The City Disco to crafting a ground-breaking 16-minute remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” to performing with Sylvester at the SF Opera House. Vivid descriptions are told of cruising in ‘70s SoMA sex venues to primal highs in Buena Vista Park and composing pornophonics in his Castro apartment. The entries are introspective and show a very out-front, alive person going through the throes of gay liberation post-Stonewall. French-born artist and Berlin resident Gwenaël Rattke works in collage, silkscreen, photography and Xerox graphics. Rattke’s collage works borrow from the visual codes of the 60s and 70s. Intricate, ornamental and excessive, they present “an imagined past fired with beauty and sexual freedom.” For this book Rattke created 25 original illustrations inspired by selected entries, 3 street maps documenting locations mentioned herein and 4 collages of photos, ephemera and notes Patrick stuffed inside the journal. We’ve included Patrick’s doodles too, as well as introductory essays by Josh Cheon, Theresa McGinley and Jorge Socarrás.
A winsome and dizzying spin on disco pop, recorded in westernized Iran during the last moments before the 1979 revolution. All but criminalized in the wake of Ayatollah Khomeni’s theocratic repression, Hamlet Minassian’s solo masterpiece is a testament to the Middle East’s forgotten dance music culture. This six-song, 44-minute LP hybridizes Euro attitude and Armenian traditional songs to create long, hypnotic proto-house, seemingly beamed in from another dimension.
Emotional Rescue announces the second EP of music from one of the label’s favourites as part of a non-defined series where two of their (un)classic songs are remastered, reappraised and reinterpreted with new versions by a contemporary artist for reinterpretation today.
Thomas Leer is a respected and revered musician in both experimental and electronic circles. Having moved from Scotland to London in the late 70s, he moved away from playing in punk based bands, to debut his self-financed ‘Private Planes’ 7” in 1978, before releasing the cult-album ‘The Bridge’, with Robert Rental, the following year.
Signing to Cherry Red, he released the heralded ‘4 Movements’ in 1981 and followed with ‘All About You’ in 1982, and it is from these 2 EPs that this release is sourced. The release starts with Saving Grace from the latter, a long famous “Cosmic classic”; it’s mid-tempo, spacey, lifting repetition is the perfect soundtrack for those Baldelli trips straight to the stars.
This is backed with Tight As A Drum, a quintessential Leer production, where Teutonic drums is overlaid with sequencers and synth tones to elevate the song to some kind of disorientating outer-dimensional dub, while his lucid, spoken word vocals instill degradation and reinvention.
Asking Bullion to offer his own take on these two songs was the perfect pairing. A revered artist in his own time, the warmth and depth of his versions takes the originals to his own inner world; sampling, rewiring, reprogramming, resigning and replaying. An EP for the floor, the head and the heart.