Thursday, 26 January 2012

What Should be in the All Time Nu Disco Top 10 ?

I was recently asked to do an interview feature for the PRS M Magazine looking at the Nu Disco scene and its roots, where it was headed and to feature an all time Top 10. It was an iteresting and challenging task and one I took quite seriously. Steve Cole supplied the questions which I answered and then I put the 10 tracks forward. 
A redraft was then required as I had included a few edits and it was probably better to look at original work based on the readership and potential licensing issues, therefore I rather hurriedly submitted the final cut which was then published. You can read the published piece here: LINK 
Seeing as Iwent to quite a lot of trouble thinking about and then answering the questions Steve posed,  I thought I would publish the interview and subsequent notes here and open the Top 10 up to you guys. What should've been in there?  Feel free to post comments and we can go through the results form there.
SC: The term 'Nu-Disco' seems to cover a host of varied and eclectic music, but is there an underlying spirit or way that you could define the genre?

PC: Tricky one, I think groove led is quite a good way to think about Nu-Disco. I would say a lot of the tracks whether they are peak-time or downtempo share that groove led quality. Some live sounding instruments and drums also feature in a lot of the productions too. It's a funny one to define as I'm not sure where the term popped up from in the first place. Probably a music journalist?!
SC: Do you think the Nu Disco scene has evolved from House music?

PC: Most definitely house, acid as well as the Belgian new-beat scene, soul, funk, indie crossover bands  and of course good old disco itself.
SC: Were you into the House music scene and if so, what made you start to look towards disco for inspiration?

PC: I have been into House, Techno and some of it's related genres for over two decades, the dance scene suddenly began to become so minimal back in the 2004/5 and Electro & Funky House just sounded so dated and contrived to me. I am a fan of live music and like a lot of indie bands. What happened was a lot of the tracks really standing out for me were by bands, Whitey, Bloc Party, Libertines, CSS, The Gossip and there were normally some excellent and highly playable remixes with the releases. The Glimmers, Soulwax, Spank Rock, Phones, Filthy Dukes and Kissy Sell Out were all doing edits and remixes of tracks that were far more appealing to my ears. It was around this time I first started to hear the term Nu-Disco bandied around and often placed upon the artists I was into.

The actual disco influenced stuff came a bit later down the line with some great stuff from the Unabombers, Crazy P, Metro Area & Toby Tobias finding its way into my hands and onto the turntable.

The Rizla Invisible players arena at Bestival in 2007 really exposed me to a load more music and seeing the crowd reaction to tracks that were being played by Greg Wilson was inspiring. Imagination, Cheryl Lynn, Kate Bush, Missy Elliot, Chaka Khan and 1gnition all blew the roof off. That's when I started to really dig a bit deeper into the 70's disco, soul and funk scene.

SC: Why did you start up Disco Deviant and how important have blogs been in developing the music?

PC: It was a case of needing to have a platform to share and comment on music we were into as well as promoting our nights via the blog we connected with people locally and further afield. Ooft, Feel My Bicep, Disco Delicious have been a constant source of inspiration and as well as some superb tip offs they often produce some blinding edits and remixes often free to their readers. I would say these blogs have been the foundation on which a lot of DJ gigs, labels, releases, club nights and remix commissions were built.

It has given the scene a shape, direction and currency if you like. SoundCloud has been just as influential for the same reasons.

SC: Have you noticed changes in Nu Disco over the past few years?

PC: To be completely honest I was never keen on using the term for a few years almost refusing to acknowledge it. It felt so temporary and also confusing. New genres such as Indie Dance / Nu Disco seemed so seperate from the original Funk / Soul / Disco scene which is where my attention had turned, there were so many tracks being hurriedly tagged as Nu Disco and a lack of quality control in the productions being released. I kind of preferred the term Disco but I saw over time there were more and more artists and productions that were helping define a genre more clearly.

As far as producers go I would cite Toby Tobias as one of the pioneers of Nu Disco, his 2008 album Space Shuffle on Rekids crystallizing the London Nu Disco sound.

However New Yorkers, Metro Area released their album Metro Area in 2002 and it still sounds completely fresh today and has influences from Detroit techno, Chicago House and big Disco string sections.
Genius production and a classic album with many of it's tracks played to this day in clubs around the world.

Greg Wilson- Credit to The Edit in 2005 showcases his pioneering editing techniques from the late 70's and early 80's and put a more organic disco sound firmly on the playlist of many DJ's and taste makers worldwide.
They are 3 albums which I feel have paved the way for myself and others obviously there are a lot more but for the sake of the interview these cover 3 different styles which all make up today's Nu Disco scene.

I think in the past few years the net has widened and more of the Chicago House and Acid influences are being incorporated, as well as some more experimental and forward thinking productions. I would also name check Harvey, Andrew Weatherall, Hercules & Love Affair, Todd Terje, Chamboche, Rayko, Alphabet City, Prins Thomas, and Tensnake as a few worth checking out to hear a progression and diversity in the scene.

SC: A lot of Nu-Disco records are slow by House music standards, what do you think has caused that change in tempo?

PC: Again this is to do with Groove taking the lead and working well on the dance floor. You don't have to beat your audience about the head with bass and synth stabs to illicit a big reaction. There are lots of tracks that I would class as floor fillers that check in around 100bpm. I've been playing a re-edit of Night's on Broadway by Candi Staton most of this year it's a 100 Bpm and gets a huge reaction everytime.

I must admit in my teens and early 20's this wasn't for me, anything beneath 120 was a bit of a struggle. Now however there is often a decent a cross section of young and older (mainly older) going for the Nu Disco sound. Even house has pitched it down with a lot of Crosstown Rebels & Hot Creations releases sampling disco and setting a tempo of 118-120 Bpm. I think it's cool. Gives the music more depth.
The mass consumption of Alcohol and Ketamine are also a factor worth considering.

SC: Do you think Nu-Disco has influenced a more eclectic sound in dance music than that of a few years ago?

PC: Without a doubt, as I said it was Funky House, Electro or Minimal being played in a lot of Brighton clubs in 2004/5 and the more specialist nights had to fight to find a venue and an audience. Dubstep was coming through and finding a home at D&B/Breaks nights quite quickly.

Disco & NuDisco had to carve it's own scene out and a lot of us found pubs were more prepared to have us play and with the licensing changes it seemed our audience were happier there to.
In Brighton a few of us were trying to unite and Ali Broadcast came up with Go Bang! a series of free events across the city over May. We saw some really successful events over the course of that month with an open and Eclectic policy of Groove Led Music meant we all came together and played at DIY and bespoke parties outside of the club circuit. leant

This has been the case in many cities and there are a lot of decent tracks played in pubs and there are a lot of 'plubs' now with decent line ups week in, week out. This has definitely led to more diverse tempo, genres, styles, DJs and producers sharing the DJ booth.

SC:How do you see the music created by those on the Nu-Disco scene evolving?

PC:I co-run The Unity Agency which has a lot of the 'Nu-Disco' artists on the roster. They each have a different sound and style and a lot of them are fusing house, disco and some bassier elements into their productions. Andy Ash releases on number of labels right now and his sound is hard to pin down, yet he sits in the nu-disco bracket. Same goes for Wolf Music who are constantly pushing things forward.

A lot of the producers have move on from edits and are putting original work out, Rayko & Alphabet City seem to have an attachment to 80's Boogie,  Matthew Kyle is a bit more R&B flavoured at times.

Also noticed that house from the early 90's is being sampled more and more and DJ's are playing more and more of it. It is almost always referred to as Deep House as if to make a distinction between the classic and credible underground vibes they are into and the mass market pop 'House' David Guetta and his ilk are producing.

I hear more DJ's describe their sound as Deep House & Disco than Nu- Disco to be fair. However their productions are almost always sold from the Nu-Disco / Disco or Indie Dance / Nu Disco genres online.
SC: Have you heard Nu Disco styles creep into pop music (if you listen to it)?

PC: Aeroplane, Soulwax were massively influential and have been released on majors. Other producers are commissioned anonymously to work for pop acts.
Certain artist eg. Hercules & Love Affair, LCD Soundsystem, Grace Jones, Friendly Fires, The XX. Plus remixes from Toby Tobias, Pete Herbert, Bicep, Danny Daze, Jamie Jones, Dimitri from Paris, Greg Wilson are creeping onto the radio and in turn selling more.

SC: Would it be possible for you to send me a 'Top Ten' of Nu Disco tracks? I know they're almost impossible to do, and nothing is definitive but it would be great to get an expert voice in there.

1. 1gnition - Secret Sunday Lover (Greg Wilson Remix)
2  Feverish (The Revenge remix) - Chamboche
3  Badabing (Diskjokke remix) - Martin Brodin
4  Don't Let Go (PH edit) - Tony Orlando
5  Angel in my Pocket (Leftside Wobble remix) - Changes
6  Blind - Hercules & Love Affair
7  Tomorrows Bringing (Zoo Look dub) - Toby Tobias
8  Nights on Broadway - (Rayko edit) - Candi Staton
9  Tears (Stallions remix) - Phenomenal Handclap Band
10 Banquet (Glimmers remix) - Bloc Party

Bubbling under
We Are - Atlantic Conveyor
He Not In (Greg Wilson mix) - Chicken Lips
Macasu (MCDE Loft Party remix) - Toby Tobias
Alphabet City - I'd Like to

 SC: I just wondered, if it wasn't too onerous, if you could tweak the top ten? Is there anyway you could do one with 'official' releases? The edits are obviously the building blocks of the scene, but it'd be great to get a chart of original compositions as my piece is about championing the creativity of the scene.What do you think?

PC: Here we go - more original material than before. All killers too. 3 Scando, 3 from UK, 3 US & 1 from Aus/UK make up the top ten and it is a pretty fair representation of my cd wallet in general.

Secret Sunday Lover (Greg Wilson Remix) - 1gnition

Buy at Juno Download (Mp3/WAV)

Feverish (The Revenge remix) - Chamboche

Buy at Juno Download (Mp3/WAV)

Tomorrows Bringing (Zoo Look dub) - Toby Tobias

Ragysh - Todd Terje

Buy at Juno Download (Mp3/WAV)

Miura / Dance Reaction - Metro Area

Blind - Hercules & Love Affair

Buy at Juno Download (Mp3/WAV)

Lang Tung Ting - Prins Thomas

Buy at Juno Download (Mp3/WAV)

Badabing (Diskjokke remix) - Martin Brodin

Buy at Juno Download (Mp3/WAV)

Tears (Stallions remix) - Phenomenal Handclap Band

Buy at Juno Download (Mp3/WAV)

We Are - Atlantic Conveyor

Please feel free to add comments, any glaring omissions and your own Nu Disco Top 10 in the comments section. It's not as easy as it sounds.


Go Bang Brighton said...

Here goes

-Atlantic Conveyor - We Are
-Do It To The Max - 6th Borough Project
-Do It To The Funk - Raw DMX (GW)
-Stop Space Return - Crazy P
-Headspace Lullaby - Black Science Orchestra
-Riot On Broadway-London Heavy Disco Review
-In The Trees-Faze Action
-Anything from the Compost Black Label around 2006-07 onwards
-Lady T - Crazy P (Hot Toddy Mix)
-Frog Scene - DJ Harvey

Not definitive by no means but all seemed to work it down the pub.


Go Bang Brighton said...

Here goes, not definitive but from memory

-Do It To The Max - 6th BP
-Do It To The Funk - RAW DMX (GW)
-Headspace Lullaby - Black Science Orchestra
-Lady T - Crazy P (Hot Toddy Mix)
-Stop Space Return (acid version) Crazy P
-In The Trees- Faze Action
-Anything on Compost Black (around 2006-2008)
-Frog Scene - Black Cock Recordings
-Riot On Broadway - London Heavy Disco Review
-Signal Damage - Padded Cell

These all seemed to work down the pub before the noise abatement orders were issued


Steve KIW said...

Reading articles like this make me realise I'm getting older! Sometime around 1997 I had a letter printed in the Evening Standard (yep, I had a very dull day job) about the disco-house sound of the time (responding to an article by Laura Craik on Daft Punk) and pointing out that, actually, we had our own folk such as Dave Lee, Crispin J Glover and Ashley Beedle doing much the same thing. This was around the same time as the likes of DJ Sneak, with their disco loops, were bringing the Chicago sound to a wider audience over here. Some of the early Sneak, Derrick Carter, Cajmere stuff, and dubs on labels such as Relief and Cajual, could be dropped today and sound fresh (that said, some of it is really dated; primarily because of the basic productions). Even the vogue for re-edits began as a 90s phenomenon, back then there were the Fruit Loops 12s and similar taking disco breaks and tweaking them and then there were labels like Black Cock churning out gems. Without waffling, what I'm trying to say is that nu-disco, or groove-based stuff, isn't that new (or nu) ... here's a top ten from me...

1. PaperMusic Volume One - Downtime - Paper 12"
2. Faze Action - In the trees - Nuphonic 12"
3. Metro Area - Dance reaction - DFA 12"
4. Visti & Meyland - Stars - BearFunk 12"
5. Idjut Boys - Whoktish - U Star 12"
6. DJ Kaos - Love the nite away - Rong 12"
7. Quiet Village - Drax - Whatever We Want 12"
8. The Revenge - Forever in their debt - Home Taping 12"
9. Time and Space Machine - Mushroom family - Tirk 12"
10 Tiedye - Nothing else matters - Italians Do It Better 12"

One more: 11. Wastepaper - Origami - Paper 12"
And an encore: 12 Shaboom - Bessie - Paper 12"

These are off the top of my head. Sure there should probably be a Todd Terje or a Mark E track or two in a top 20. And the likes of Lindstrom, Peter Visti, Kasper Bjorke etc have made some seriously decent stuff but these are ones I've been playing (in some cases for 15 years or more - Paper Recordings were miles ahead at the time and their back catalogue needs checking, includes early Rub N Tug (Dirty Jesus!), Crazy P when they still had an 'enis', and many others that went on to be at the forefront of this nu-disco thingy.

Steve x

Paul B said...

Nice re-take from the Brighton pair.
Metro Area and Faze Action feature in a few of these then and Crazy P (enis) are still trucking. Ron Basejam & Hot Toddy giving them a fresh approach.

Like the idea of going back a bit and Steve's reactionary ES letter many moons ago.

I am listening to Ballerina by Lindstrom & Prins Thomas right now and it probably shoulda featured somewhere. Terje's absence also seems a bit far fetched on reflection.

Perhaps a 20 is indeed called for.

Ali did you crowbar Harvey in just so you could sleep at night?

Paul B said...

Ah Ragysh is in mine actually...that's good

Go Bang Brighton said...

Re: Harvey - No way, love Frog Scene to bits, very funky

Love Steve's post which kind of tracks the progression pre "nu"

I remember a night in 2003 at The Hanbury Ballrooms which we were part of. The resident / promoter was called John White, the night was called 100 Watt

This is where I first saw the term "nu disco"

Lots of Nuphonic stuff got played as I remember, just wish I could remember the titles :(

Maybe a Top 50/100 would work better here.

Nice to see Faze Action getting props in all our suggestions, still a BIG tune now.


Ali x

Matt B said...

tough.. but i'll have a go.

in no particular order, some of the more recent edits from the scene we love so much.

1,Martin Brew - 'Galactico' GW version,
2,The Revenge - Cadillac
3,Tensnake - Holding Back My Love
4,Reverso 68 - Earthly Powers
5,Pete Herbert - Don't let Go
6,Aeroplane - Caramellas
6 Talking Heads - Psycho Killer GW edit
7,Tiger & Woods - Deflowered
8,Todd Terje - Kul i Pul
9,Tantra - A Place Called Tarot (Idjut Boys Edit)
10,The Detroit Experiment - Think Twice (origional)

left out some massive records!! may have to do another list at later date.


Matt B said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Matt B said...

1,Martin Brew - Galctico (gw edit)
2,Tensnake - Holding Back My Love
3,Aeroplane - Caramellas
4,Talking Heads - Psycho Killer (GW Edit)
5,Tiger & Woods - Deflowered
6,Pete Herbert - Don't Let Go
7,The Detroit Experiment - Think Twice (origional)
8,Reverso 68 - Earthly Powers
9,Todd Terje - Kul i Pul
10,The Revenge - Cadillac

left off some massive records. could do another few top ten lists!