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Saturday, January 25, 2014

David Bowie Heroes given an Italo Disco makeover Big Ben Tribe

David Bowie's 1977 art-rock single from his Brian Eno, Berlin influenced period is a highly coveted 12" promo. But who'd have thought that it would have lent itself so well to the Italo Disco makeover it was given in 1983 by The Big Ben Tribe?

Well given that it was mixed by Italo Disco Mastermind Tony Carrasco the genius behind Klein M.B.O. and many other Italo Disco classics would be reason enough to give it a serious listen. The breezy, light and accessible disco sound and the highly capable and enjoyable female vocals gave Heroes a new life. Kudos to the Big Ben Tribe for having the audacity to give a David Bowie song a whirl.

Many Hi NrG covers of standards and rock songs are total crap compared to the super high quality production Heroes was given in 1983. Unfortunately Big Ben Tribe was sort of a one hit wonder act. Though they did have several other releases including Hot Love and Tarzan Loves the Summer Nights they did not equal the Italo Disco magic of Heroes again.


The group followed Heroes up in 1984 with the campy Italo Disco tune Tarzan Loves the Summer Nights.  It's a super collectible hard to find twelve inch from the seminal italo disco label Gong.  I've included it in my zip of Heroes.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Italo Disco Classic TANTRA celso valli's crowning glory Hills of Katmandu

Though the output of the act Tantra was only between 1979 and 1982 the impact of their sound is nonetheless unforgettable.  Italian Disco Genius Celso Valli was the man responsible for so many acts but Tantra must be considered his crowning glory.
  The Hills of Katmandu is simply his Stairway to Heaven.  It first appeared in 1979 and then in various forms and remixes after that.  It's one of the crucial bridge tracks because it's not only disco and space disco but it's considered an early example of Hi NRG and a seminal Italo Disco masterpiece.  In the zips I've provided a variety of versions including a Hot Tracks edit and great remix by the Australian DJ Paul Goodyear, twelve inch versions, album versions and more. 

Lest you might think that Tantra is a one song act it's simply not the case.  But the fact that Hills was able to fly all the way up to #2 on the Billboard Disco Charts in 1980 (the most transitional year of disco music) was definitely a feat to be considered.  

Get Happy and Ma-Cum-Ba had some happy dancers but then the genius Patrick Cowley got his hands on Hills of Katmandu and this extended the life of the classic even longer, not to mention the fact that a Spanish version was also recorded to satisfy worldwide demand. 

I couldn't resist posting this fab photo of Patrick in my city at the Colosseum.  To think that back then it was a major cruising spot and people could walk around in it even at night! 

If you'd like to explore the Celso Valli sound further I suggest you check out Macho, Passengers, and especially Azoto to name a few.