quarta-feira, maio 21, 2008

I like Italot?!

I was ready this evening to go to a concert of Santogold, here in Antwerp at Trix, but it was cancelled because she has problems with her voice. No voice, no concert. Makes sense. So, that leaves me with some extra time to kill and I decided to roast that little piggy right here at this page.
I had some unfinished business to attend to from the last time. I had planned to make it my last post on Italo disco, at least for a certain while that is, but things turned out differently. I found some interesting written information from various sources on the net about Italo disco and its history and I decided to edit it as an article and insert links to the songs that got mentioned in it. This took me quite a while, too long to add it to the last post. That’s why I’m posting the first bits of it tonight. As time goes by I will add more links but please don’t get to crazy or overexcited right now, because I guess about 20% of the tracks mentioned, will stay without a link. There’s some pretty obscure stuff out there that’s really hard to find. Every once in a while I find such a lost treasure like Fokewulf 190 which is one the holy grails of Italo but you can’t win them all.
The tracks by Fokewulf 190, named after an old airplane, I own are off course not the originals. I’m not that insane (yet) thank you, to pay hundreds of euro’s on ebay to buy those obscure singles (only 400 hundred or so made in 1984). I'm quite happy with a legal download, even if it means that I can’t play them at a party because the mp3 and wav files you can download are still not made for such purposes, which is a pity.

In the next weeks I'll be switching over to other stuff that I like. I noticed that the brasil page has not been updated in a long while, so expect some more brasilian music from the past and the present.

Lalala coming soon…

So here it goes...

Now, what’s Italo? This is a brief outline I edited from a online source that I unfortunately can’t track back

Italo disco is a very wide term that refers to various types of European disco and pop-styled electronic dance music, that evolved during the early 1980s in Italy, Germany, Spain and other parts of Europe but mainly Italy and Germany.

Italo disco music has a distinct, futuristic and spacey sound which is the result of the dominant use of synthesizers, drum machines and vocoders.

During the 1980s, the term Italo-disco was coined in Europe to describe all the non UK-based dance productions, including some Canadian ones (that explains my interest for Canadian disco like for instance Kebekelektrik on this page).
In the UK and the USA, Italo-disco was virtually unknown to the mainstream consumer and existed only underground, except for some later Italian eurobeat productions and very few German hits.

The name Italo disco originates from the Italo Boot Mix series - a megamix featuring Italian and German produced disco music - created in 1983 by Bernhard Mikulski, the founder of German-based ZYX Music.
Prior to 1983, the genre was simply referred to as 'disco music' or 'dance music' from Europe, Eurodisco that is. The presenters of the Italian music show Discoring (produced by RAI), usually referred to the Italian productions of what later would became Italo Disco as Rock Electronico and Bailandi Discoteka (disco dance).

This first version of Italo Disco sounded like a down tempo version of Space or Cosmic Disco, a short lived Eurodisco instrumental style with futuristic sound effects and lyrics heavily influenced by David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars band and which the Italian DJ Daniele Baldelli made famous in the legendary club Cosmic.

Technically speaking, Italo Disco was simply the 80s version of Eurodisco. Today, the term 'Euro Disco' refers to all disco music produced in Europe during the 70s and 80s. But during the 1980s this term was used to describe the 1970s and early 1980s European disco productions, especially those from Germany (Boney M, Eruption, Dschinghis Khan, etc). In the mid 80s, the Stock Aitken & Waterman team created a commercial music genre in the UK labelled as Eurobeat. Those first hits (Dead or Alive, Bananarama, Jason Donovan, Sonia, Kylie Minogue, etc) were heavily based on how Italo Disco sounded to the British public. Once arriving in the USA, Eurobeat helped the evolution of New York's Freestyle. In the USA, Eurobeat was then marketed as Hi-NRG.

The term Eurobeat was also used in Japan (around 1987) to describe all Italo Disco and Eurobeat imports. Italo Disco became very successful in Japan and when 80s Eurodisco ended and the music switched to Eurohouse and New Beat, Super Eurobeat saw the light and was especially produced for the Japanese market, as a kind of Japanese successor of Italo Disco (called Eurobeat by Japanese fans). These Super Eurobeat productions frequently had meaningless and sometimes incomprehensible lyrics. During the 90s, another spinoff successor appeared called Eurobeat Flash. Both Super Eurobeat and Eurobeat Flash are virtually unknown outside Japan.

During the 90s, disco Polo created in Poland was heavily based on the Italo Disco sound. Italo-Disco (in the German variation of Dieter Bohlen) also continued until the early 00s in Russia.

On early Italo disco productions, the vocals were usually in English, performed by non-native English speaking singers. After 1985, other European languages became common, especially Italian, French, Spanish and even Greek. At the same time, most of the German-produced Italo disco hits had both English and German-speaking versions.

The German variation of Italo disco, very popular during the 80s, was danced in the so-called discofox style. In the German Speaking European countries, this variation of Italo disco mixed on the dancefloors with the German Schlager style, that around 1988 started to sound very close to the German variation of Italo disco. About that time, older Germans, Austrians and Swiss, started calling both Schlager and the German Italo Disco hits Discofox, because they used to dance them both with the same discofox style. The German variation of Italo Disco, took the nick-name Discofox since then. For the rest of Europe, the term discofox for the German variation of italo-disco, never existed.

The History Of Italo Disco from and another source which is the myspace site of a great Italo disco radio.


Emerging from Val Gardena, Italy, producer and keyboard player Mr. Giorgio Moroder began to experiment on a new toy in the music world: an electronic synthesizer. He started to create loops and synth-hooks using basic equipment from Moog and Korg. His first LP From Here To Eternity, The Chase and the rest of the score for the 1978 film Midnight Express established him as a popular hitmaker and left a permanent mark in the ears of young Italians who would later go on to create their own electronic music, eventually to be known as 'Italo Disco'.
These Italian producers were also influenced by film soundtracks that used new electronic sounds. Just 2 years earlier in 1976, of John Carpenter started his illustrious career as a moviemaker and composer of electronic music using excessive use of droids and drum machines. The original motion picture soundtrack to Assault On Precinct 13 would go on to become a major influence for many Italians who discovered the power of a drum machine, as heard in the opening theme of the movie.
Around the same time, an Italian band by the name of Goblin emerged and began creating electronic-themed soundtracks for all of Dario Argento's Italian horror films, setting up another major influence for early Italo Disco artists. Some of the more memorable and early scores were for the movies Deep Red and Suspiria (1976 and 1978, respectively). Goblin's scores and Argento's style would cause many other Italian movie directors to use electronic elements in their Giallo and horror-styled films - thus starting a new era for electronic music (the first being disco several years earlier). Eventually the dark sound of these scores would fuse with disco music and we'd reach Italo Disco.

But first...


... Giorgio Moroder's first full LP was released. From Here To Eternity, featuring the self-titled first single that became an instant success, was what started everything! This would go down as a pioneer album that would forever change electronic music.
Less than a year later, Chase was released, becoming Giorgio's biggest hit ever, once again strenghtening his appeal as a leader in the electronic department.
Nearly simultaneously, Italian producer, Jean-Marc Cerrone released a series of albums - the most famous being, Supernature and Love In C Minor. Simply outstanding works using a synthesizer would make Mr. Cerrone, a native of France become another major influence for all Italo Disco music to follow.

Soon after Moroder and Cerrone hit the airwaves, the rest was history. Lucrethia & The Azoto 14,008 releases the Dance Skinsation LP to help jumpstart the Vedette Records label - leading the way for Italians to produce disco music themselves. In 1978, La Bionda emerges with one of the songs many consider to be Italo Disco's very first song: One For You, One For Me.

à suivre...


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