A Brief History Of Euro Cheese

Jasper V of Turkish psychedelic outfit Altın Gün charts a history of novelty Euro synth-pop and cheesy no-hit wonders.

As much as I like Turkish folk rock, Bollywood, Indonesian music and other exotic genres I’ve also always had a fascination for artists that only made one record, for synthesizers and for music that balances on the edge of being too cheesy, but still has something that gives it an edge and depth.

For me European musicians attempting hit parade success using new technologies in the seventies, eighties and early nineties resulted in some very interesting recordings. These are songs that come from a musical world and approach that doesn’t exist anymore.

Almost all of the songs I share below or in my mix are not on Spotify since they were mostly only released as 7″s. In a way it surprises me how little compilations there are with obscure Euro synth pop, because there’s so many brilliant songs completely deserving of a reissue.

Altın Gün‘s new album ‘YOL’ will be released on 26th February on Glitterbeat Records.

Lion – You’ve Got A Woman

Not really cheesy but this song is what sparked my interest in obscure Euro pop 7inches and the start of my search for more. Like almost all acts in this list Lion only made one single and this was the b-side. The A side is a very forgettable almost schlager-like hit attempt which makes the genius of this production extra fascinating.

Like myself this group/project is Dutch, but funnily enough the first time I heard it was when an American group played it to me while giving me a lift to Amsterdam after a festival.

In the meantime this has been reissued by The Numero Group and became something of a small cult hit.

Rosalba – Cos’è L’Amore

Another b-side. Italian disco but not the typical Italo Disco sound. For me it has warm and minimal beauty to it that a lot of other Italian disco records from the early eighties don’t have. This one feels really pure and inspired to me.

Fatima – Douz, Douz

Amazing French disco with Arabic vocals by the mysterious Fatima. The A-side is a mediocre French chanson so again the b-side is where it’s at. This one I almost alway play when I DJ. It has a really strong drive but also sounds eerie and exotic.

Marbella – Mon Corps Chateau De Sable

Do I hear some final countdown? Amazing sun drenched French novelty synth pop. Very much on the edge of how much cheese even I can handle but balancing perfectly.

I have the 7inch which is a bit shorter but only the 12″ version is on YouTube. I’ve included the (in my opinion superior) 7inch version in my mix.

Giovanni T – Balla Mozzarella

A very funghi slice of German novelty house pop from the early nineties. Has gained cult status because of the hilarious ‘no budget’ video.

I’ve included a couple more 90s synth/house pop tracks in my mix. For me the late eighties and early 90s are a very interesting transition time in both club and pop music. The 7inch was slowly replaced by 12inches and CDs and the remix became almost a standard thing for every release.

La Doppia Faccia – Alibi
Sunny Boy – Love Affaire
All Trouveé – Darling (instrumental)
Chris Linn – There’s No Hope In Dope
Grupul Stereo – Coloana Infinită
Chantal Balmy – Imagine
Kevin Morane – Ivre De Vie (instrumentale)
Les 36’15 – Zoulous!
Cléa – Filou
Sahara Band – Habibi
Barbara Marchand – I Whisper Role Over
Rosalba – Cos’è L’Amore
Angie – Lady-Angie (Orchestral)
Chris Owen – What’s Up (Late Night Mix)
Danny Boy – Disko Mix (instr. 7″version)
Nathalie Letertre – Reveur (Instrumental)
Marbella – Mon Corps Chateau De Sable (7″ version)
Loreleï – Je Ferai Tout… (7″ version)

Altın Gün‘s new album ‘YOL’ will be released on 26th February on Glitterbeat Records.

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