Mighty Real: Morning Music
||"Saturday Night-Sunday Morning" Thelma Houston
||"The Promise" When in Rome
When most people think of the post-disco dance movement in New
York during the '80s, most naturally think of the Paradise Garage.
Resident DJ Larry Levan's eclectic blend of electro-funk, boogie,
and the early experiments in house kept disco vital long after
it was considered dead by most of America. However, the Garage
did not represent everything that was happening in New York's
discotheques during the '80s. In places like the Saint, Tracks,
and the River Club there was a "whiter" style of gay
dance music that had a distinctly new wave flavor. At the Saint,
in particular, DJs like Robbie Leslie championed a new style of
dance music that was a mix of Euro-synth, hi-NRG, new wave, and
Italo disco--ingredients which are now quite timely considering
the '80s synth-dance revival. This comp surveys some of those
early jams that laid the groundwork for what would later evolve
into trance, electroclash, and the nu-NRG trade sounds of the
UK. (yikes!) But these songs were also a huge influence on the
new romantic movement that was happening in the UK as well, with
bands like Yaz, OMD, Heaven 17 and Human League borrowing the
spit-shine sparkle of the arpeggiated pop synths percolating throughout
these floaty jams, which added that little extra something that
gave them their hits.
For those who count themselves as devotees of the Garage, the
Loft, Better Days, and Zanzibar this comp might not satisfy. Warning!
These tracks are not R&B tinged booty-shakers that can trace
their lineage back to the early days of Philly soul. Far from
it, these cuts sound more like Erasure than disco. This might
be fine for many, but when I showed the track listing to a Garage-head
friend who still carries his membership ID in his wallet at all
times, he scoffed and said the selections were straight up "racist."
Hahaha! Well, probably not...but with the exception of a few tracks
by Thelma Houston, Narada Michael Walden and Jean Carn, all of
the selections are by white artists. Amongst the highlights are
two works by Giorgio Moroder, one with Sparks, the other with
Limahl of Kajagoogoo fame. The Limahl track is the one that has
me tripping out. It's a saccharine ballad that was the theme to
the children's fantasy flick, The Neverending Story. Wow!
Remember that one? The one with the big ass flying monkey-dragon!
I saw that in the theatres back when I was in 7th grade. I remember
that song. Little did I know that it was a 6 AM favorite for dudes
coming off of their MDMA and poppers after a decadent night at
the disco. Also included is the rare 12-inch version of the best
Depeche Mode rip-off ever, When in Rome's brilliant "The