Tiger & Woods – A Lovely Change
Marco Passarani & Valerio Del Prete have been actively operating under the Tiger & Woods alias since the early 2010s. Opting for a lower BPM chugger sound, solidified in their Golden Bear EP, they show no shortage in the funk department. Initially keeping their identities a mystery, they have since headlined events such as Disco Express and Discopanettone. In such, the duos’ fancy for the sound that roamed Studio 54 is self-evident. ‘A Lovely Change’ is a track that reminds us why their 2011 track ‘Gin Nation’ gave them the breakthrough needed. Sharing a dazed, roseate sound both tracks paint the dancefloor with a ray of sunshine. Released on the good-vibrations aficionado Gerd Janson’s label Running Back, it falls neatly in the middle of their latest LP release AOD.
The new album, short for “Album Oriented Dance” pays homage to Tiger & Woods’ predecessors. Tracks such as ‘01:00AM‘ & are ‘The Bad Boys’ are love-letters to the genre of Italo Disco. Their most intact imprint of the project, however, is ‘A Lovely Change’. Mingling aestival percussions, balsamic ambience and standout vocals it is sure to colour the sound of many upcoming summer parties. According to Running Back’s album description, the project is glinted with cleared samples from “the Roman institution that is Claudio Donato and his Full Time and Goodymusic emporium“. In a way this is a revival to the approach that gave the Italians a foothold in the scene. Speaking with Tiny Mixtapes, the collaborators claim there to be a “huge difference between using samples and making edits“. In ‘A Lovely Change’ the vocals bring Sade’s ‘Diamond Life’ to mind, soothing the soul in a similar fashion to Soul Clap & Ahmed’s ‘Give It Up‘. For those familiar with the Balearic sounds of Alfredo Fiorito the breezy, pacific effervescence of ‘A Lovely Chance’ fosters a throwback. However, despite all the nostalgia, the production does not sound dated, with an updated concision that was absent in a lot of the 1980s Italo output. Continue reading
Palms Trax – To Paradise
The Dekmantel official site describes Palms Trax as “the undisputed people’s champion” who brings the triad of “warmth, heart and a pinch of insouciance too“. Truly, it would be difficult to the imagine the festival’s 2019 line up without Jay Donaldson’s alias being placed near top. The vicious spirit of the annual event has been synonymous with the English DJ who’s energy and life-affirming approach to mixing has made him a fan-favourite. His 2019 Dekmantel release ‘To Paradise’ is the latest chapter of Palm’s varicoloured catalogue. Reflective of the festival’s main stage sound, there is no question of a doubt that the Dutch collective have fully adopted the Englishman into the family.
Boomkat calls the track a “deep Euro house-style jacker“. Resident Advisor options for a “throwback Italo-infused house record” description. The serotonin-pumping multi-layering of shrilling melodies accompany the meeker interpretation of the drum looping you’d expect from a Rush Hour release. Considering Donaldson’s father is a “fan of Maurice Fulton“, it comes as no surprise that his soon has a knack for the good vibes that carry soul. In interview with DJ Broadcast, Palms describes Talking Heads’ ‘Remain in Light’ as being one of his favourite albums of all time. Drawing influence from the band-associated decade, an archetypical 1980s bassline becomes the focal point of ‘To Paradise’. Its ever-changing levels of intensity and chord-progression breathes it life of its own. The producer’s blues & jazz upbringing trickles down in the continues evolution of the track. Though mastered with magnificence, the analogue elements are recognisable. You can almost imagine Palms performing it live on a vintage Casio keyboard. Although, such concept for the official video of the track can only bring a smile to your face. The outro of the song fades into a sun-kissed ambient outro that spellbinds the listener for almost two minutes. In such finesse conclusion, the seventh level of heaven is reached. Continue reading
Massimiliano Pagliara – Everything That Happens Is Supposed To Happen
Establishing an equilibrium between the downtempo and the groove is feat not easily attained. Maintaining intensity at the expense of a higher BPM requires high level of prowess. Young Marco, John Talabot & DJ Koze are just some of the producers we’ve covered who deserve accolade in this respect. Although the speed of the track can arbitrary (after all Marcel Dettmann savours playing Techno at a lower BPM), certain producers make the conscious choice to release their originals in such form. Massimilano Pagliara is another, with his 2009 Live At Robert Johnson release ‘Sometimes At Night‘ establishing him as a connoisseur of slower tempo production that maintains the vibes of a memorable party. ‘Everything That Happens Is Supposed To Happen’ is a 2014 release coming from his ‘With One Another‘ LP. Paying ‘homage to the past while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of dance music into the future‘, it is a deserving introduction to a DJ who finds comfort in his own lane.
The symphonies of Pagliara are often characterised by their Mediterranean flair. ‘Harmonize‘ is a prime example of his use of mellifluent strings that carry the legacy of Italo Dream House. His love for vintage drum machines is put on display here as the loops sounds unrefined by processing. The analogue bassline used looks to be revived in his recent release ‘Feel Like‘, coming from his latest LP. The DJ professes to becoming “addicted to machines” upon buying his ‘first analog synth, a Roland SH-101‘. Massimiliano’s track titles are often poetic in tone, with ‘Flying Away From You‘ & ‘As The Night Breathes’ being some of the names amongst a richly lyrical list. The elegiac melody of ‘Everything That Happens Is Supposed To Happen’ reflects such undertone. The cadence and the contagious rhythm, however, prevents the track from being desolate. As the Juno main chord pads enter with relentless rhythm, the listener becomes fully immersed in the musical world of Massimiliano Pagliara. Continue reading
Skatebård – The Bells of Mist
Norwegian DJ and producer Bård Aasen Lødemel has had a long-lasting career that traces back to 2002. Deep House Amsterdam have defined his sounds as a combination of “Emotional techno, neo-italo, electro from an alternative future and a Scando-cosmic reinterpretation of pure Detroitian house“.The online community has noted that his strong facial hair draws comparison to Hip Hop artist Action Bronson. He’s also been described as being Santa Claus who brings tunes instead of presents, or Gimli on his day off. While often DJs carry a persona that feels detached of emotion while mixing, Bård’s body language emits bliss. Something that also this emanates in his production. Associated with a sound that’s ethereal yet groove-inducing, His 2016 Boiler Room set brought spaced-out electro grooves. The track that kicked-off the vibes was The Bells of Mist, his own production that epitomises his gossamer sound. Skatebård certainly brings a gift in this track
Bård’s sound transformed over the years, losing its tints of techno along the way. His first EP ‘Skateboarding Was A Crime (In 1989)’ featured zealous tracks like ‘Sgnelkab‘. However, since the late 2000s, he has pushed a sound that is an amalgamation of Norsk Disco & Italo Disco. The Bells of Mist incorporates a distinct ambience that communions with the late 1970’s producer Cerrone’s arp bassline. For a man who hails from the land of the viciously conquering Vikings, the concave pads used bring a sense of harmony. As the track title suggests, the heavy use of reverb creates an atmosphere of brume. A 111BPM contributes to the overall feelingness of haze akin to a mellow dream, in which the dancer loses themselves in. Speaking to Ransom Note the DJ claimed to ‘see a lot of the colour red, meaning I try to make music that is “warm” in a way‘. Here, the warmness comes from the echoing bells that oscillate, substituting for a topline synth. Synths are given an opportunity to introduce themselves to the presiding ambience at the breakdown of the track, before the bassline and the drums join the jamboree. The tracks unique selling point is the ability to throw a party at a leisurely pace. Continue reading
Decadance – On And On (Fears Keep On) (Italoconnection Mix)
If you study the history of Chicago House scene long enough you’ll find that pioneers such Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles were densely influenced by Italo Disco. The sub genre swayed the parties of mainland Europe throughout 1980s. A clear crossover can be heard by such and the Chicago scene explosion that followed and conquered the rest of the world.
You’ll find clear similarities, three elements in particular. A thumping kick, topline melodies and often, a resilient bassline that adds resilient drive to the track. What separates Italo from the music of Robert Owens and Larry Heard is the manner of the vocals. Chicago House masters used (at times chopped) vocals to concuct rhythm and a call for a collective dance or spiritual unity. Italo Disco songs, on the other hand, offered romanticism, in the form of emotionally-vulnerable singing. These are songs of love and heartbreak, as shown in ‘On and On’. Continue reading