Monday, July 24, 2006

Disco satori

Another kind of dancing this time, as I plug Disco Delivery, a music blog out of Calgary dedicated to classic examples of that most derided of genres. I thought I knew my 1970s disco, but to my delight Disco Delivery makes me feel like a rank amateur. You'll have to read every entry and discover the songs on your own, but so far I've been really blown me away by Beautiful Bend, one of the many projects of Russian-born producer Boris Midney. I won't rehash what Tommy (no last name) wrote, and only will add that "Ah-Do It" has got to be the most intoxicating track I've heard in a while. Its single-minded thrust is broken only by a short melody line played on an electric piano—it's like Motorik disco. Adorning it are hypnotically repetitive vocals, bumping percussion, life-affirming horns, sweeping strings and…is it really a harp here? Is that a wah-wah guitar squeak there? There's a lot going on, but it never feels it's too much.

Actually, "Ah-Do It" is only one of the most intoxicating tracks I've heard in a while: The other is Tom Moulton's mix of Claudja Barry's "Love for the Sake of Love," also posted on Disco Delivery. (Tom Moulton was one of the DJ-producers who shaped New York's nightlife in the 1970s. More info on him in Tim Lawrence's Love Saves the Day—A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970–1979.) The song's dreamy sensuality is carried by strings beamed in from an outer galaxy and a moodily restrained vocal by Barry. Love here is not a matter of the flesh; it's a disembodied emotion that's more about gauzy wistfulness than anything else. At 5:52, things bloom into quiet euphoria. We're light-years away from the current take on disco, whether it's made by synthetic Italo clones or the manly likes of the DFA: The kind of disco on these two tracks is both highly theatrical and floatingly self-reflective as it basks in its own soft-lit glow. (Side note: While these songs sound fantastic on headphones, I'm really curious to hear what they'd be like on a good PA.)

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