My Guiltiest Pleasure

30 08 2011

It might just be what you expected, you creep, hoarding innumerable dusky italo gems yourself inside the hidden niches of your deep, dark, depraved mind. Yes, you have stolen my thoughts. These melodic, minimalist dance anthems were made for us to relish in unparalleled ecstasy, you knowing whore. The embarrassing relic of which I speak is the impeccable 1983 italo-disco classic “Hypnotic Tango”, by the band My Mine, from Perugia, Italy. (I was playing with my Barbie Dolls and watching Cyndi Lauper dance barefoot on MTV at the time.) Is it just me, or is the chorus absolutely infectious? I will not apologise for adorning each Youtube video of the song I can find with tokens of my adoration. Neither should you. It seems as though everybody who likes this stuff is either Latin American or Eastern European. Sigh. The trials of being cosmopolitan.

Please enjoy the comical version first, if simply to quench your thirst for the mockery of that which you yourself secretly desire:


And now you can unfetter that old, faggish heart of yours, crushed as it is into a hard, pressure-cooked stone by aeons of ugly homophobia, to savour the original version as it was meant to be savoured: with a nice lemon liqueur and a lonely, neglected turntable:

Now that you are smeared in a thick coat of shame, let us continue. What we will now do is re-create the same horrific and beautiful effect, bangs, mousse, and shoulder-pads intact, in a live video featuring strange clowns and not-so-naïve New Romantic hooligans cavorting in a sea of crazed faces. It’s so Almodovar it’s silly:

Ah. Exactly. You are mesmerized. Now that you have slavered over the gorgeous gem that is “Hypnotic Tango”, let me assault you with a live version of the song in which you can bury your teeth, eyes, and ears. Yum, yum. This is pure, unabashed space-disco, ladies, and he’s dancing for you and the gents:

Ah. Yes. All that messy tomfoolery. How did we lose it? How did we abandon eccentricity? Perhaps it was a backlash against Thatcher and Reagan, who were in power at the time. Perhaps conservatives antagonised the already-flourishing music and fashion movement of the late ’70s and early ’80s, causing it to blossom into something more carnivalesque than we could ever imagine in our wildest acid trip. O, the ebb and flow of weirdness. For some reason, while conservatives held power in both Britain and America, there was a strict counter-culture that said the exact opposite in fashion, make-up, hair, and dance beat. Eventually these may have blurred together through commercialism, but I think it originated in the norm versus punk and new wave culture.

And now hipsters are reinventing italo-disco like it’s the shit—and they should, because it is. That is why we have bad-ass record labels like Italians Do It Better and fly bands like Glass Candy, Desire, Chromatics, and Cosmetics—to pick up where seminal artists like Giorgio Moroder left off and to carry on the legacy of elegant cosmic disco tunes, but with a fresh, modern, psychedelic twist. Just listen to how forward-sounding the synthesised bassline of “Hypnotic Tango” is; it totally presages the frenetic trance sound of the late 1990s—and now it takes on a loping, somewhat lustier shape in the early 2010s indie disco scene, ready to leap in leopard skin on to the dancefloor.

The genius of the nu disco artists is that they re-marry dance beats with melody, meaningful lyrics, and live band performance while creating a fresh new sonic texture using innovative technology. The result is that you can dance to a cool, modern song on the dancefloor and sing to it at the same time without having to be on drugs. Thank goodness we have little gems like “Hypnotic Tango” to inspire a generation bred on lacklustre brain-garbage.

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