In the beginning there was… the Munich Music Machine: when Giorgio Moroder entered the US billboard charts in 1977 with Donna Summers erotic epos titled, “I Feel Love”, a new music style was born. A combination of influences from Motown & Philly Soul to German Electronica & Kraut Rock Giorgio Moroder helped shape a new sound, a sound that still can be considered as one of the blueprints for today´s electronic dance music: the bass drum & bass sound with repetitive synthesizer loops as still used in thousands of techno and house productions today.
The new sound of the Munich machine soon became mainstream, “Saturday Night Fever“ was the last call of the kitschy hedonistic Disco before New Wave & Punk became the soundtrack of the urban Hipsters across Western Europe. Underground Disco Culture like in NYC`s THE LOFT or the PARADISE GARAGE hardly caught on in Europe. With the exception of the Northern Soul scene in the UK or Danielle Baldelli´s pre-cosmic music club nights at Baia degli Angeli in Italy, dance music had to wait a couple of years for a new phoenix rising. In the early 80´s Disco almost became a bad word for music lovers.
However, looking back in time from today’s perspective some of it begins to make sense... When you´re digging deep in the crates of late 1970´s Underground Disco, Kraut Electronica, Proto Techno, Euro Boogie or New Wave Funk you can find plenty of un-classics that still sound fresh today and show you the roots and influences of the likes of Metro Area, Prins Thomas and many more. Most of these titles were fairly unknown when they were released, some became almost famous, and this is what this compilation is about. Lost space Disco gems and soulful Euro Boogie, the good side of the early 80´s in Europe.
“The Other Side of Heaven“, by Latvian Disco Rock outfit ZODIAC DISCO ALLIANCE, opens the comp; a space Disco voyage par excellence with some lovely Arp synthy parts from their 2nd album “Music in the Universe” that created a serious electronic music hype in the USSR. Thanks to Ilya Rasskazow in Moscow who got me in touch with these electronic music pioneers from Riga that still perform today. Russia always had a strong love for the Euro side of Disco and a couple of remarkable Electronic Disco albums were released on the national record label Meldoija for the local market only. With the drop of the Iron Curtain some of these albums flooded into the second record shops in the West: Go find!
Some of the greatest soulful Disco productions in Europe were recorded in Italy in the late 70´s. Before the more electronic Italiano Disco style started, some amazing US Boogie & Disco influenced tunes were recorded in the studios between Milano & Rome. SELECTION´s “Rebel on the Run” can be found on the 12” “Ride the Beam” and their highly sought after self titled album on Fulltime Records from 1983.
One of the best European Modern Soul songs ever, JAGG`S “Take Time” (Delirium Records) was recorded in the US but mostly sold in Italy. It became a certified Disco anthem published only on the typical & new media of Italy’s booming Disco scene of that time, the mixed DJ LP (V.A. Danceteria; DJ Mix – Faber Cucchetti, S.P.Q.R.). The popular Italian pirate radio stations promoted this sound a lot and some even managed to broadcast their program over the Alps to Bavaria were they soon acquired some dedicated listeners.
HIPPOLYTES amazing jazzy Boogie Disco cut “Blow You Out Tonight” can be found on their Greece only distributed LP “Dynamic funk” (thanks to Black Athena for the trade!) that hardly shows up on the net, while “Que tal America?” by the Belgian duo TWO MAN SOUND is probably one of the best known Euro Disco titles ever; An instant classic at Larry Levans paradise Garage nights on the Big Apple.
The percussive instrumental “Sundance” by German Music Professor CURT CRESS from his 1981 LP “Avanti” sounds like a mixture between Liquid Liquid and George Kranz. Some of his tunes were included by Italian cosmic music DJ Beppe Loda in his legendary typhoon club mixtapes. These, in the cosmic music scene, highly popular mixtapes never contained a tracklisting, sometimes one had to wait & search for years to find info’s on special titles. Today Curt Cress produces mostly soundtracks in his studio near Munich.
On “Glückskugel”, me and my partner Marc Frank aka PANOPTIKUM pay homage to one of the most unknown pioneers of techno: Bruno Spöerri, from Switzerland, produced some groundbreaking electronic music. Andy Votel´s Finders Keepers label recently re-issued some of his tunes on the album “Glückskugel”. The original track “Glückskugel” was composed by Bruno as TV theme for the Swiss national Lottery, but as it was considered by the officials to be too hectic, thus it got rejected. Respect to the originator! Feel free to visit Bruno at www.computerjazz.ch.
LEB HARMONY`s´s “Feeling Love” is one of the examples of Italiano Disco with strong influences from the sound of the Munich music machine with some beautiful lush space Disco keys. Their album “Disco Boogie” was only released in Canada, France and Italy on the collectable Chic Records label.
“Don´t Stay Till Breakfast” is the outstanding tune on the self titled STRÖER LP, a private press album on the German Flame Records label. I discovered the album some years ago in my 2nd favorite record shop in Vienna for 1 Euro; I still can´t believe that “Don´t Stay Till Breakfast” was recorded back in 1978 in Munich as it sounds like the perfect blueprint for the whole Nu Jazz sound. A true lost classic. Like Curt Cress, H.P. Stöer is still running a studio and became famous for producing movie scores.
ALAN HAWKSHAW is well known to all beat-headz around the globe for his late 60´s Mohawks productions that got sampled galore in the hip hop universe. “The Speed of Sound” is hailing from one of his late 70´s albums for the UK library label Bruton, a great sample source for all producers.
Panoptikum`s tune “Elaste”, is our own little exclusive tribute to this compilation. We hope you like it.
We take it slower on the last round… Star Trek by the VULCANS on Trojan is a lovely moog reggae instrumental by keyboarder Ken Elliot with a very unique vintage sound, whilst TONY ALLEN & AFROBEAT 2000´s “N.E.P.A. Dance Dub” sounds like a brand-new Moritz von Oswald remake straight out of the Basic Channel dub chambers in Berlin, although it was recorded way back in 1984 (12” on the UK Earthworks label ) btw, N.E.P.A. means “Never expect power always”. Fela, I can hear you!
Finally, another classic: Rufus & Chaka Khan´s “Ain´t Nobody” in the Hallucinogenic remix is one of Frankie Knuckles finest remixer moments – a true end of the night anthem from 1991. A new decade has just begun.