Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Kicking things off this fall is a round-up of contemporary disco, italo and house that I’ve been feeling as of late. I have tried to mention records which I haven’t seen pop up much in the electronic press but which I believe deserve some serious attention. I’ll be following this up with a section on RETRO records I’ve been digging lately too… Once that’s up I’ll hopefully be uploading an all vinyl mix that incorporates some of these choice cuts and other sick stuff. My hope is that after reading this, some heads out there will decide to check some of these out! Also, please comment… I’d love to engage and discuss some of my choices and what others are rating at the moment.

Karizma – Necessary Madness / Drumz Nightmare
· I’d heard the name Karizma being thrown around house music circles for the last year. Several heads had mentioned he was coming out of Baltimore so I had ignorantly assumed he was more on the ‘bodymore’ type sound. For some reason or the other I slept on him until recently. Big mistake! Hearing ‘Drumz Nightmare’ on Joy Orbison’s excellent Doldrums mix got me on the hunt for his output. This two-tracker on British label R2 (of Floating Points fame), is a fantastically versatile 12’’. While both tracks would initially suggest a greater proximity to dub-step or “bass music”, their sparse and slowly building introductory sections and rich melodic content make them easily mixable in any adventurous house music set. In particular, “Drumz Nightmare” should be able to drop some jaws on the dance-floor. Combining staccato percussion with layered strings and acoustic guitar melodies, it really sounds like nothing else out there at the moment.

Marcellus – Unirhythm Green
· The mighty Marcellus Pittman returns! While the new Three Chairs EP is meant to be dropping stateside any day now, this will tide the deep Detroit heads over for a little longer. The A-side is a hypnotic drum machine work out sure to hypnotize you on your home hi-fi and push the bass bins at the club to the limit. Perhaps a bit sparse on first listen, the track reveals its rhythmic complexity upon repeat spins. The B-side gets down in a similar hypnotic fashion but with added melody for a housier vibe. Get this limited 12’’ ‘before it disappears. My copy is stamped 491 and theres only 500 so get on it... clock is ticking!

Hunee – Tour de Force EP
· I reviewed this for RA a few weeks ago so there really isn’t much more for me to say here except that this record has proven very resilient to the passing of time… Yes, it’s only been out about a month but in dance music circles that’s akin to 10 years. Like the Karizma, this has a good cross-over of styles, in this case, a blend between Cosmic Disco and House. Highly recommended for those that like their music unashamedly melodic. William Burnett, the East Village Radio DJ who is running this label has clearly got some nice A&R skills having gone 2-for-2 in terms of quality releases thus far. This week I dropped by his radio show where he played one of the tracks from the next WT records release. Heavy on the synths and with a dark feel, it reminded me a bit of vintage Black Strobe or Legowelt... Something to definitely look forward to!

The Revenge – Night Flight
· I first heard of Scottish disco producer Graeme Clark through his RA podcast. Having been on a disco binge as of late I was quite taken aback by his modern take on the genre. His edits are glisteningly ‘clean’ compared to the more classic operators of the genre such as Harvey or Gregg Wilson. While I generally have a reverence / obsession for anything ‘old school’ in the dance music world, I have to hand it to Graeme on this latest batch of edits. In particular, ‘Night Flight’ is a sublime late night jam. Editing Stevie Wonder’s 80s semi-ballad “Love Light in Flight”, the Revenge loops a tiny fragment of the original for 4 delicious minutes before Stevie Wonder enters the fray with some gloriously cheese-ball 80s love jam lyrics: Make me feel like I'm in paradise! Give me what I'm missing. Send me to the highest highs...take mup and away...". Beautiful stuff. The other edits on this are also seriously groovy and worth your time. Can’t wait to hear the Revenge spin Mr. Saturday night in NYC this November. Will make sure to drop a tidy review here.

Mark du Mosche & David Vunk - Dreams EP
· Italo Disco is likely one of the hardest types of electronic music to compose. Its outright embrace of cheesy lyrics and catchy synthesizer melodies means producers have to walk a difficult tight rope- One step in the wrong direction and a track will sound far too corny to be taken seriously. On this release for Lunar Disko, Dutch artist David Vunk has hit the nail on the head with regards to updating the Italo sound. Vintage drum machine and synth sounds abound on both his tracks, managing to evoke the wide-eyed sci-fi vibe of classic italo releases by Mr. Flagio and Charlie. Mark du Mosche’s contributions on the A-side are more restrained but still highly original: cinematic-style italo-disco which reminds me a bit of Giorgio Moroder’s soundtrack work. This is a very original EP which has sadly been overlooked by a lot of the wider electronic dance music community. Get it while it’s still out there…


  1. That Marcellus Pittman is already WAY sold out. No copies anywhere! And believe me...I tried. The only copy I found anywhere for sale is at Discogs...for about 100 euros!

  2. Wow dude... I can't believe it went up that much. That is insane! Its a nice record but not worth those kinds of amounts ;) Thx for the comments!

  3. Got #101 for the Marcellus record. Its nice. Thanks for the other recommends, def will be checking them out and reading the blog.