Monday, 11 February 2008

Peace dance

There was much merriment at Tricky Disco Towers when we heard about ‘Computer Incarnations For World Peace 2’, Sonar Kolektiv’s timely follow-up to last year’s superb collection of obscure prog disco and experimental electronic oddities. This time round, compiler Gerd Jansen has swapped vintage ’70s and ’80s electro oddities for contemporary nu-disco, cosmic and Balearica. In this regard, ‘Computer Incarnations…2’ is more of a companion piece than a straight follow-up.

Still, the tracklist is certainly tasty, with the mouth-watering prospect of rare and unreleased material from the likes of Todd Terje, Prins Thomas, Chateau Flight (who will be making their Bristol debut at best before: at the end of March), Maurice Fulton (coming our way in April) and recent TAPE guest Mark E.

Since it landed on our desks this morning, we’ve had the finished CD on almost constant rotation. As you’d expect, it’s a lovely collection – once again Gerd Jansen has put together a set that will appeal to both disco newbies and fully paid-up Balearic beards (only the most obsessive of nerds will have the vast majority of material here). Craftily, he’s found space for some relatively big records – in nu-disco/Balearic circles, at least – in the shape of Smith & Mudd’s ‘Shulme’, Ray Mang’s ‘To & Fro’, Danny Wang & Brennan Green’s largely forgotten 2002 remix of Crazy P’s ‘Keep On’, and Woolfy’s brilliant ‘Odyssey’, one of the best things released by Rong in 2007.

These underground “beard anthems” nestle side by side with a selection of real exclusives – a string of unreleased and suitably obscure cuts that are worth the admission price alone. Mark E’s ‘Fighter’ is the sort of track the bespectacled Brummie is becoming renwoned for – long, loping, atmospheric and subtly euphoric. It’s not in the same league as his forthcoming release on Internasjonal (the brilliant ‘Good Times’), but it’s still pretty darn hot.

Another of the exclusives comes from Tricky Disco’s fave Swiss producer, Alex Storrer AKA Lexx. His ‘Mahogany’ instrumental feels like a logical extension of his recent uber-Balearic ‘Axis Shift’ single, all bubbling German house synths, subtle disco guitars, sunset kys, dubby basslines and music box melodies. Wonderful stuff.

Perhaps the most high profile of the unreleased tracks is that by Versat'ile Records’ Chateau Flight. Ironically, it’s perhaps the most pedestrian of the lot. Trippy, chugging and hypnotic with appregiated synth meldoies aplenty, it sounds like cosmic disco for the afterhours generation. It's not bad by any means, but they've done better.

Away from the exclusives and “big hitters”, there are plenty of highlights. Todd Terje & Prins Thomas’s ‘Reinbågan’ is arguably the compilation’s stand out track. For those who don’t own one of the 60 12” copies supposedly in existence (that includes us, by the way), it’s a fantastic dub disco cover of Cloud One’s disco classic ‘Don’t Let My Rainbow Pass Me By’ complete with anthemic piano flourishes, deliciously dubby beats and On-U-Sound style harmonica. Thankfully it’s one of the tracks Sonar Kollektiv have picked for the ‘Compter Incarnations For World Peace 2’ 12” sampler, so all us vinyl junkies can finally own a copy. Hurrah!

Almost as good – and also destined for the 12” sampler – is Project Sandro’s ‘Blazer’, a marimba-tastic nu-disco epic that’s so Scandolearic it should move to Oslo and call itself Rune. I have to admit not coming across it before, though apparently it came out in 2005 on L.A’s Sentrall Records. Incidentally, another Sentrall track appears on ‘Computer Incarnations… 2’ – Maurice Fulton’s typically dreamy/walking bass-heavy remix of Rollmottle’s ‘Take A Break’. It’s good, too, though followers of Fulton may feel a little short-changed; he might be a genius, but he might want to thinking about writing some new basslines.

Throw in a dash of Balearic disco-pop from Frontera (their chill out comp-friendly cover of the classic ‘Walking In The Rain’) and San Serac and a wonderful Al Usher tune (‘Lullaby For Robert’, which I somehow managed to miss when it was released a couple of years back) and you’ve got another essential collection of electronic disco oddities. Good work Gerd.

Expect to see ‘Computer Incarnations For World Peace 2’ in record shops around April time.

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