Monday, 28 November 2011
We are very excited to be formally launching Elektro Diskow at our friends Mixmag's club night That Mixmag Thing at the Queen Of Hoxton in London this Friday 2nd December.
Stuart Paterson (the compiler of the album) will be DJing on the ground floor alongside Dokki Dokki and Neil Diablos, spinning a selection of Elektro classics to celebrate the CD's release.
In the basement, the one and only Timo Maas (!) will be playing - it's free, so get there nice and early! :)
More details here
Friday, 25 November 2011
Talking of House legends, what about this for a line-up! The two great titans of Chicago DJing on one bill with Adonis (of No Way Back fame) supporting at Ron's Muzic Box - just as House enters the mainstream consciousness!
Must have been quite a night ...
Thanks to Nathan T for his help in unearthing this amazing historical document!
We recently spoke to none other than Chicago House legend Larry Heard (AKA Mr Fingers) about his early musical experiences and memories of the elektro diskow period. Have a look at the exclusive Q & A hosted on our partners Mixmag's site, and while you're having a read listen to some highlights from Larry's list of electro faves mentioned in the piece (see below). Best known for his classic single Can You Feel It (one of the cornerstones of House), Larry has been producing amazing tunes for over a quarter of a century.
Larry's playlist is a thrilling mix of elektro, Italo disco and early 80s Boogie/post-disco that sets the scene for the House movement that followed.
Stay tuned for more exclusive Elektro Diskow interviews!
Click here for Exclusive Larry Heard Interview on Mixmag.net for Elektro Diskow!
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
We are very honoured to have a rare and exclusive interview with Michel Moers, singer with Belgian elektro maestros Telex. Their seminal 1979 single Moskow Diskow had a profound effect on the electronic scene both in Europe and North America providing a template for Techno, House and a plethora of genres to come.
They continued to be celebrated in underground clubs across the world throughout the 80s with dance classics like Brainwash, Peanuts, Raised By Snakes and L'Amour Toujours (featuring Sparks) and are feted by House and Techno godfathers Larry Heard and Carl Craig.
- What are the origins of Telex? How did you all meet and why did you decide to form an electronic group?
Marc (Moulin) had an alternative music project of on a label he called "Kamikaze", a well chosen name !
Most of the recording sessions were at Dan (Lacksman's) studio. I was one of the 'alternative' musicians/singers/writers.
Dan was a pioneer and already had 3 Moog modules. he had started to make pop electronic music in the 'Pop Corn' style. Marc , a jazz musician, also had a MiniMoog he used for solos and bass lines.
With us three in the same room, Marc thought we could mix our skills and do some kind of 'continental' music as opposed to music coming from abroad and mainly related to rock'n roll/ blues. This music would be electric/electronic, no guitars, and would 'speak' about our own environment,... pop music, as opposed to some kind of unstructured or experimental electronic music, rather than Wendy Carlos' titanic work.
Well, the machines were so simple at that time that the sound was well defined from the very beginning.
- You had pop hits in Europe with Twist A St Tropez and Rock Around The Clock and then you dropped the incredible Moskow Diskow (the inspiration for the album Elektro Diskow!). When I play that track to people who don’t know it they can’t believe it was made in 1979! Could you tell us a bit about how you created it?
About the covers we made:
we chose anthems to define our (musical) vocabulary and show the difference between these originals and the music we wanted to do. Twist à St Tropez was a very famous "FrenchYEYE" hit in the 60', Rock around the clock was of course THE rock ‘n’ roll tune, Ça plane pour moi became a punk anthem and La Bamba....
About Moskow Diskow:
As I said machines were really simple then, monophonic sequencers, no MIDI and Marc was an excellent keyboard player.
He started to play a bassline of straight bass/snare drum patterns, then Dan programmed electronic high hats to give the idea of a train.
Then came the idea of an old-fashioned train whistle. Trains weren’t using that sound any more, but it is like when one wants to make a watch or make time a noise, "tick-tock" - no clock or watch makes that sound any more but it’s still the best way of representing it..
Then came the lyrics, we always liked to play with clichés and at that time one of them was disco, also American snobism using french words like "fantastic", "le bag" etc, and also, among graphic designers there was the trend for russian constructivism....
Talk over with an instrumental melody indicated that the voice was in instrument and not a lead.
Put that together, and it makes Moskow Diskow!
One funny thing about that song: we tend to think it inspired Michael Jackson for Billie Jean, using the same chords. In an interview he said he got his idea when hearing a European electronic group on the radio.
We like to believe it was Telex, ;-D
- One thing that Telex brought to the Elektro Diskow scene, I think, was a feel for groove and bass. Were you disco fans?
We were disco fans for the groove it brought, not for the glittering side :-) and we adopted the simple disco bass drum pattern for many of our tunes allowing the bass and other instruments to move inside that tight frame.
As jazz musician, Marc was always searching for the groove, and as I said he played a lot of tracks himself, without any programming.
Moreover, analogue instruments gave off some kind of groove by themselves, simply because electricity was not stable and the sequencers were not very accurate.
It's funny to remember that many people at that time thought that electronic music was cold.
- Were you clubbers? Did you draw inspiration for your records from the club scene?
I was the only one going to clubs. In general, musicians do not dance ;-)
But of course we listened to many different kinds of music and Marc had a radio show which made him listen to everything he received, and then he shared with us.
We never really checked our songs in clubs, ... when the 3 of us smiled, that was the test.
- Were you aware of the effect records like Moskow Diskow and later tunes like Brainwash were having in clubs both in Europe and the States?
We were not. From the beginning, we thought our music was disposable though more important than us as people. We tried not to appear or make concerts. So, even if we made TV shows (because there were no videos at that time) it was not our favourite activity, being introverts, the 3 of us :-). We spent most of our time in the studio.
Well, we were aware of royalty statements and press articles but this did not really show us how influential we were.
Even with our last record, 5 years ago, for many weeks our site was visited more than 1000 times a day but this does not mean we sold many records!
- Did you know about the emerging New Beat movement in Ghent, Belgium ?
Yes, and we were asked to make some remixes of our tunes in that direction, .... a waste of time :-)
In fact, some of our songs just worked as they were, like Radio Radio.
- Another great facet of Telex was your sense of humour (on tracks like We Are All Getting Old). Was this a conscious thing?
Humour was part of the goal. We were brought up in a surrealist country, Belgium, where humour is probably the only way to survive :-)
We've been invaded by everybody, being the centre of Europe', on the way of every conquerors. One needs to be able to keep one’s distance to resist :-)
In that sense we were quite inspired by the 'cartoon' humourist environment we lived in since our youth, mainly with Hergé, Jijé, Franquin; E.P Jacobs.
About We Are All Getting Old: my grandmother was complaining she was "getting" old, I answered she only started before me but that we were all getting old.
It sounded interesting to make a song about a forbidden subject in pop music: not being young.
- Telex inspired many of the young musicians coming out of Detroit and Chicago in the late 80s. How did you view the new House sounds?
With a lot of warmth. It was interesting to see how electronic music was really getting groovy, how electronic instruments were becoming more related to the body, almost like guitars or saxophones could have been before.
In fact we had been imported into the USA in '85 mainly with the track Peanuts which had a lot of airplay. We received three offers to make an LP, one I do not remember, but one from Atlantic, and one from Tamla Motown.
People thought we were black. Unfortunately we chose Atlantic, who were launching a new electronic division which turned out to be not very succesful.
- You famously called a Telex Best Of ‘ I Don’t Like Remixes’ – do you really hate remixes? Are there any mixes of your records or other people’s that you like?
Well, this was the era of top models and DJ's, who we felt were the most superficial and less innovative cultural figures of our times.
In many remixes of our tunes we could not even hear any trace of our music and we thought that this way of recycling was a waste.
Of course there are excellent remixers bringing new strength and ideas and not everybody is on our blacklist. Carl Craig is the first name that comes to my mind.
- Do you hear echoes of your music in today’s records? Are there any contemporary artists that stand out for you?
Many sounds are the same, even in other kinds of music but more efficient because of technical progress with compression etc, and maybe more 'dead' also because cut and paste culture produces ‘clones’...... more related to us La Roux, Mirwais... More than the music, the appearance of the Young Professionals in their video D.I.S.C.O reminded me a lot of our humorous side.
Big thanks to Ian at EMI Belgium for his help in organising this interview!
Thursday, 10 November 2011
A rare and satisfyingly raw live 1983 performance of Yazoo's transatlantic dancefloor stormer (Track 1 Disk 2 of Elektro Diskow!) Situation from UK TV show The Tube. All 5 tracks from this session including a fantastic run through of Don't Go are also on Youtube.
A fantastic and long (9 part but so worth it!) documentary chronicling the development of club culture from its beginnings in New York. From the earliest days at David Mancuso's Loft through to Studio 54 and the 80s heyday of the Paradise Garage, Danceteria and the Roxy, NYC was at the forefront of shaping the idea of clubbing and the nightclub.
Legendary figures like Frankie Knuckles give insights into the genesis of New York clubland, whose influence is still felt today. Central to this was the eclecticism of both playlist and clientele with DJing colossi such as Larry Levan and Jellybean weaving the latest European electronic sounds in alongside Disco in its post and mutant forms. For more on the legacy of Larry Levan and the Garage, have a look at the Going Back To My Roots blog's excellent post on LL.
Tuesday, 1 November 2011
It is nearly 30 years to the day give or take a week or so that one of the most important pop albums ever was released, the Human League's masterpiece Dare. The LP influenced not only the mainstream (becoming a blueprint for electronic music in the decade that followed) but also the burgeoning dance underground. The iconic singles The Sound Of The Crowd, Open Your Heart, Love Action and the worldwide smash Don't You Want Me were not only mainstays of the charts they also hit hard in the clubs of Detroit, Chicago (Ron Hardy used to play his own edit of Love Action at the Muzic Box) and throughout Europe.
The echoes of Martin Rushent's immaculate landmark production can still be heard today from the darkest recesses of clubland to the shiniest modern pop single.
Rushent, who sadly passed away earlier this year, also created the world's first remix album in the shape of Dare's sister album Love & Dancing (its version of The Things Dreams Are Made Of features on Elektro Diskow). A painstakingly created piece of manual tape splicing work, the album featured dubby re-edits of tracks from Dare. The record was a smash hit in its own right, reaching no.3 in the UK and going Platinum in the process.
Sound Of The Crowd (on Top Of The Pops)
Love Action (On Australian TV)
League Unlimited Orchestra - The Things Dreams Are Made Of