At first glance, the connections between club culture in Italy and the U.S. may not be evident. But scrounge a little deeper and you’ll begin to see the links – from disco’s domination of Europe to the Mediterranean’s piano-laden pop that laid the foundations for New Jersey’s 1990s ascendency. One notable intercontinental link is Italo-disco, a dance genre originating from Italy which dominated much of Europe’s airwaves from the end of the 1970s. Following on from the global explosion of U.S. disco, the Italian imports that were shipped across the pond heavily shaped America’s dance music climate. It’s no lie that the Italo-disco sound directly influenced what would then become Chicago house.
In a very special Collections episode last week, we bore witness to legendary Italian DJ Daniele Baldelli‘s long-running love of records (a modest 65,000 of them in his own personal collection) and the stories that came with them. The inspiration was such that we decided to take it even further. Rummaging back through the record sleeves, we’ve decided to take another look back at the finest American-Italian imports to find the seeds of Italo-disco’s recent revival.
For this, we had to call on Jacques Renault. There is little of U.S. dance music that Renault hasn’t experienced first hand. He bore witness to the zenith of New York house and disco and also experienced Italo-disco’s golden age in the States — both of which are crucial periods in dance music. His name is now embedded in New York’s club lifestyle, co-running the Let’s Play House parties and namesake imprint directly from his adopted hometown.
This Thursday, Boiler Room and FIAT hop across the pond to New York, to celebrate this transatlantic link of dance music. Jacques Renault will be joined by Classixx, The Juan MacLean going b2b with Nancy Whang and Honey Soundsystem. In the run-up, an ode to Italo-disco from a key mover and shaker of New York therefore only seemed right. Read on to discover the tracks that still mean something to Renault today.
“Going through my records to prepare for this Italo-inspired mix was a trip down memory lane; I loved it. I thought it would help if I narrowed my options of what to include by picking out records that I bought in various NYC record stores before the Discogs days. If that wasn’t enough, I cranked it to eleven and selected only Italian pressings, with the exception of my U.S. copy of “Feel the Drive.” I’m sure any Italo enthusiast will know all of these tunes, so the point wasn’t to wow you with how desirable the tracks are, but rather give you a snapshot of what Italo I did find in the early 2000s that still means something to me today.”
Marzio Dance D.J. and Gang “Adventure (Theme Version)”
Doctor’s Cat “Feel The Drive”
B B Band “All Night Long”
Cyber People “Void”
Moonbase “Waiting For A Train (Jacques Renault Edit)”
Gina & The Flexix “I Wanna Believe”
Plastic Mode “Mi Amor”
Faxe “Time For Change”
Lama “Love On The Rocks”
Kano “Another Life”
Danny Keith “Keep On Music”
Records bought from: A-1 Records, Academy on 10th, Bleeker Bob’s Golden Oldies, Bleeker Street Records, Gimme Gimme Records, Kim’s on St. Marks, Sonic Groove on Carmine
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