While London mourns the loss of Dance Tunnel this month, at least we can seek comfort in knowledge that, under the tutelage of Dan Beaumont, this sad chapter won’t be the last in the book. Venue owner, NTS host and DJ, he’s been a long-standing, upstanding custodian of dance music in London and, while we may not know what the longterm future holds for him, we shouldn’t lose sight of his talents as a selector. Before his Italo set at the Feelings Summer Fête next month, Dan picks out 10 favourites from an undeniably melodic sound.
Dan plays the Feelings Summer Fête on 10th September, alongside Joe Claussell, DJ Alfredo and Mike Dunn.
“Italo Disco is a perfect combination of catchy melodies, crisp disco percussion and just the correct amount of additional weirdness (nonsensical lyrics, spacey noises, trancey middle eights etc). It’s also a key influence in the development of Chicago house. All my favorites tend to be from the poppier end of the spectrum and are full of great melodies that can be a much needed tonic if you’ve spent a few hours at the rave dancing to drums.”
Ryan Paris –’Dolce Vita’
Italo disco’s blockbuster moment – this is no secret weapon but a bone fide international smash. It’s such a perfect pop song, I can remember being young, hearing it on the radio and thinking there was something very sophisticated about it. The way the melodies and percussion meander around each other is dreamy. The chord progression gives it a wistful feeling that seems to be a common thread with these records. The lyrics are totally meaningless but I think we can live with that.
Raf – ‘Self Control’
Another pop banger via Laura Branigan’s cover version. I usually try and mix out of this before the dodgy rap at the end.
Kano – ‘I Need Love’
Kano (not the grime dude FYI) was responsible for some great records. A recurring theme with these records is insanely euphoric choruses that refuse to leave your brain.
Peter Richard – ‘Walking In The Neon’
Definitely a contender for ‘best arpeggio’ ever in an Italo record (admittedly some pretty stiff competition for this).
Funky Family – ‘Funky Is On’ [album art pictured in cover photo]
This record starts with what sounds like someone pouring a drink and gets pretty spacey pretty quick. It sustains an amazing atmosphere and has a classically Italo, euphoric chorus which is great for dancefloor drama.
Helen – ‘Witch’
A super oddball verse gives way to a soaring chorus that makes you feel a bit giddy. Standard. This record makes a lot of sense in nightclubs. The original pressing is annoyingly expensive on discogs, but fortunately it got a reissue by the peerless Dark Entries imprint.
Pineapples – ‘Come On Closer’
Again – this is just a brilliant, brilliant pop record that also happens to sound great in nightclubs. It’s such an amazingly constructed song – full of amazing riffs just bouncing off each other. The composer, Roberto Ferrante, is responsible for a bunch of brilliant records that have similar musical qualities (Like ‘Eyes’ by Clio).
Matia Bazar – ‘Ti Sento’
So much drama in this one… and the key change at the end really does the business. Also the vocal is Italian which is nice.
Doctor’s Cat – ‘Watch Out (Instrumental)’
This one’s pretty ravey, mostly because it’s full of synthesizers pretending to be sirens. The vocal version is a bit too fruity for me but it’s the instrumental that really gives all the amazing melodies some breathing space. ‘Feel the Drive’ is another staple.
M & G – ‘When I Let You Down’
A definitive Italo banger. Sounds like Depeche Mode on (even more) drugs. The vocals in the chorus sound like spooky children in the best possible way. I will forever associate this with the Cybernetic Broadcasting System in the mid noughties.