Saturday, November 02, 2013

Hypothetical mixtape: November 2012

It is now November 2013. This list relates to November 2012.

I should probably give up.

And yet ...

Here we go yet again. A month dedicated, as it turns out, to dance.

1. "Hippo Mancy", by Tom Janusch. The entire 1970s disco scene displayed in miniature. Like a snow dome. Groovy.

2. "Contours Sway", by Larry Gus. DFA signing (now with an album out) with the ingenious approach of taking an actual (or fake: who can tell these days?) disco number and chopping and screwing it until it sounds like a song trapped in a blender. (A compliment.)

3. "I'm A Man (full length version)", by Macho. Italo disco. Imagine a mid-point, perhaps, between Earth Wind and Fire and "I Feel Love". Or, y'know, don't. Listen to this instead. You weren't really planning on doing anything else for the next 18 minutes.

4. "I Love America", by Patrick Juvet. One thing about disco is, if you only knew it from the songs they played on the radio, you really did have a skewed and unflattering view of it. They say that size doesn't matter. They are wrong. Twelve inches is disco's true measure. Reducing something like "I Love America" to three or four minutes really negates the point of the song and leaves the young and impressionable listener (viz., me) having strongly negative views of what is, in its 12-inch iteration, as fine a song as the disco era came up with. (Well, almost.) It's like going down a rabbit hole from which you can never escape. For 13 minutes, anyway.

5. "I Wanna Give You Tomorrow (disco version)", by Benny Troy. I don't care who you are, there will always be disco songs that you haven't heard before. Benny Troy comes on as a slightly restless/anxious Barry White. Oh those blessed strings. From 1975, when things were more fresh, new, exciting and (maybe) innocent.

6. "Dreaming A Dream (Goes Dancin)", by Crown Heights Affair.  I think you can probably guess what is going on here.

7. "Stardance", by John Forde. Many of the finest exponents of disco did not hail from England. (I'm not sure where you would place the Bee Gees vis a vis that last statement.) John Forde hailed from England. The word "cosmic" can't help but come to mind: this song seems to have its head in the stratosphere and its feet on the dancefloor. Or: did John Forde invent prog-disco?

8. "Ain't No Time For Tears (Sacred Rhythm Version)", by Ashra. Not disco per se, but this does share the idea of strength through repetition. And rhythm. What we have here is Joe Claussell taking some well schmick Manuel Gottsching guitar triangulations and superimposing them onto a salsa beat. And the result is insane. Hola!

9. "Keep It Together (Factory Floor Remix)", by How To Destroy Angels. As with "Are 'Friends' Electric?", say, this remix, if you put it out on the dance floor, might clear half the patrons, but those who remain will be pogoing their little hearts out. There is something very end-of-the-seventies Sheffield about Factory Floor which I find very appealing. They are, on the face of things, cold and industrial, but it is done with a deft hand that draws you in. As we sit here now, they have an album out. On DFA.

10.  "We Came To (house mix)", by The Crystal Ark. Did somebody mention DFA? It is disappointing that last year's Crystal Ark album didn't get more traction than it did. Gavin Russom's homemade synths and Viva Ruiz's vocals are a good pairing, and the album is a lot more interesting, and varied, than most people seem to have assumed it would be. This is a different mix of a song from the album. It may not be the long-awaited return of Black Leotard Front, but it's all good.