THE BEGINNING

Even one-time-skiffler Jack Penate has gone Balearic. Disco is truly back!

Even one-time-skiffler Jack Penate has gone Balearic. Disco is truly back!

It’s been the sound of Dalston basements for a year or so now, but it’s about to break the mainstream once more: Disco and Balearic are officially back in a big way, and we’re gonna be hearing a lot more from them this year, as its influence on London and the UK’s party culture, DJs, producers and even indie acts becomes more pronounced.

In truth, disco never really went away, but for many the word still conjured up images of people doing the Carwash and wearing flairs and oversized pimp hats. It was something your aunt danced to at weddings. The rich history of New York disco championed by pioneers such as Larry Levan, Francois K and Greg Wilson had been forgotten, until DFA brought it back to the indie masses in the early part of the decade. Whilst that whetted people’s appetites, it wasn’t really until Disco Bloodbath and Horsemeat Disco blew up that people began to take the original music on its own merits. What has now proved a further catalyst is the re-discovery of Balearic beats, the soundtrack to Ibiza’s origin as the world’s dance capital, which have been championed by Bloodbath and likeminded troupes such as The Cosmic Truth.

This month sees the release of Azuli’s ‘Future Disco’ compilation. With the inclusion of Greg Wilson, Aeroplane and Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve, it captures perfectly a sound that works on dancefloors and for beach listening. Aeroplane have become the hottest remixers around at the moment, with their inherently musical approach to reworking tracks, making classics of songs that were merely good before: Grace Jones’ ‘William’s Blood’, Sebastian Tellier’s ‘Kilometer’ and Friendly Fires’ ‘Paris’, all appear on the comp. Erol Alkan’s Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve contribute their remix of Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Ulysses’, which generated as much excitement as the return of Franz themselves. Always canny in picking producers who capture the sound of the moment (for example Justice’s mix of ‘The Fallen’ from their second album), Franz also enlisted Disco Bloodbath.

Greg Wilson is perhaps the godfather of all of this: the first DJ ever to demonstrate ‘mixing’ on TV when he appeared on The Tube in the late-seventies, he returned to DJing in 2003 after a 19-year hiatus, and has once again become a key figure with what he terms as ‘electro-funk’, capturing pop, disco, hip hop and funk from the late-70s onwards – an appreciation of great mid-tempo dance music that unites him and all the other nu-disco/nu-balearic acolytes. Amongst these you can count Mylo, whose new material is said to have a distinctly Balearic disco flavour, and Jack Penate, whose new single ‘Tonight’s Today’ is a Balearic ‘yacht rock’ classic in the making. Keep an eye on the basements near you: chances are there’s a disco revolution happening in them right now.

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Originally published in issue 4 of Loud And Quiet, March 200

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