by Rix Roundtree-Harrison
When my copy of Italo Disco: The New Generation 3 arrived I could not immediately listen to it as I had to go to my mother's house to tear down the old storage shed in the backyard. While I was knocking down the old shed I was thinking how desperate I was to finish this chore so that I could listen to Italo: TNG 3. Dreams of the exciting Italo sounds that I knew awaited me on Italo: TNG 3 left my mind when in the shed I suddenly came across a mysterious cardboard box. I opened this box and was surprised to find that it was full of LP records; old record albums that had been the property of my long deceased Aunt T.
Aunt T loved music and had a very extensive collection of music. After Aunt T's passing I thought I had inherited all of her old records. So you can imagine my surprise when I found a box of Aunt T's records. I wondered how I missed these, but was thrilled to find them. I took the records home and I gave them a thorough inspection and discovered that these albums from 1954 to 1959 were in excellent condition.
Aware of her love of Hank Williams, Jo Stafford, Dinah Washington and Louis Prima I'd always known that Aunt T's musical taste were diverse. But thanks to finding this box of records I received an even better glimpse into Aunt T's musical taste. Among these classic albums were records by Tommy Dorsey, The New Glenn Miller Band, Duke Ellington (no surprise there as they once had an affair), and Louis Armstrong. Also among these records were albums by The Three Suns, and Dave Garroway, both were names I'd heard periodically throughout time, but didn't know who they were. Then there was an album by Walter Shumann, a name that I was not at all familiar with. There was also the 1959 original motion picture soundtrack to Porgy and Bess. Then I discovered two albums that simply blew me away, there was an album of cowboy songs and an album of hula songs. Guess what else was in that box? Etta James' legendary 1960 album "At Last," and a Mahalia Jackson Christmas album form 1961. My Aunt T liked it all pop, jazz, country, big band, spirituals, instrumentals, cowboy and hula music. Like me my Aunt T really did have diverse musical taste. But Aunt T’s musical tastes were obviously more diverse than mine as I have nothing that can compare with a hula record. The closet I come to this is with my copy of the campy discofied sound of the Ritchie Family's 1976 "Arabian Nights" album, where they make disco versions of "Lawrence of Arabia," "In A Persian Market," and "Istanbul Not Constantinople."
My Aunt T liked disco too, so I’m certain that if she were alive today Aunt T would understand my love of Italo Disco, actually, I think she would love it too. I believe my Aunt T would like Italo because it is a musical genre that contains no profanity; it is neither crude nor overtly sexual nor is it loaded with cultural slang and euphemisms. Italo is clean, classy, simple yet complex. Italo is sometimes dark and haunting and at others times blindingly brilliant. It is danceable, melodic, harmonious, exciting, engaging, and with its use of synthesizers, keyboards, computers, electronics, and embracing of technology it is and will forever be thoroughly modern.
Don't let the name Italo fool you as it is not strictly an Italian export, it is a musical style. Italo comes from Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Belarus, Romania, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, Holland, Greece, Bulgaria, the Benelux countries, Russia, and even Mexico.
Just as jazz had its many living legends back in the 1950s, today Italo has a plethora of its own living legends including Thomas Anders, Sandra, , Albert One, C. C. Catch, Joy Peters, Brian Ice, Lian Ross, and Fancy still making music and shining in the Italo spotlight. It's heartwarming to see Italo legends still enjoying careers in the Italo music industry where they are accepted along with new comers like ItaLove, the Sweeps, Elen Cora, The Crosslines, Italobox, Modern Tracking, International, Eurotix, and a whole boatload of other new generation Italo music makers you will find on Italo Disco: New Generation, volumes 1 through 3.
Italo: TNG 3 is chocked full of new hits and hit makers like "If It Doesn't Rain" by Sally Shapiro, Tom Hooker & Miki Chieregato’s "No Elevation,” "She's Mine" by Reale Accademia, and "Galactic Dream" an excellent bit of space synth from Synthesis.
Talk about new hits and old hits, the rhythm track of Alden Tyrell & Fred Ventura 's hot "Don't Stop" is so damn good. Alden Tyrell & Fred Ventura prove that they are well educated in Italo because if they had to pick a classic Italo tune as their blueprint to create their own masterpiece they could not have made a better choice than to use Joe Yellow’s classic Italo sizzler "Lover To Lover," as their template to make an excellent song. When I listen to it I start dancing and I......don’t stop.
"Don’t Stop” reminds me of Joe Yellow but Victor Ark’s vocals in "One More Time" remind me of Italo legend Mike Maureen. But it's those rousing almost gospel like backing vocals plastered atop pulsing disco beats that is the song's hook.
The always interesting ItaLove adroitly walk that fine line between powerful pop and Italo disco. Just as they did with their monster hits "Follow Me To Mexico," and "L'Amour," they’ve created yet another perfectly addictive concoction with "Strangers In The Night."
"Japan Kiss" by Joey Mauro lives up to its name as the song is like being softly caressed and kissed by warm electricity that makes your body tingle. With its oriental electronic flavor it's so irresistibly engaging that I found my fingers paying playing along on my imaginary air keyboard.
DJ Savage, the master manufacturer of Italo gives us “Love Fly Your Way,” in which he buries the listener in layers of urgent electricity, sizzling keyboards, and well-crafted addictive melodies. "Love Fly Your Way" is as unforgettable as his other exquisite masterpieces "Rain of Love" and "Your Eyes"
"Running Away" by Modern Tracking is so nice. The band’s sound makes no apologies for being influenced by the Italo legends Modern Talking. But they build on this influence with wonderful pop vocals, and frenzied electronics, thus creating their own unique personality.
The Crosslines; these guys are just wonderful; everything they do is classy, stylist, catchy and smooth. With subtle production the craftsmanship of their music always shines through as it does on the wonderful "Tomorrow Is Another Day."
Mirko Hirsch is the man with the Italo Midas touch as everything he touches turns into Italo excitement like his excellent hit "Fire." Elen Cora from the blazing hot band Siberian Heat gave us her critically acclaimed superb mesmerizing solo album, "House of Cards." Mirko "Midas Touch" Hirsch teamed up with Elen "The siren from Siberia" Cora and created the fantastic single "Save Me (Just for Tonight)" and let me tell you, it is a dose of double dynamite that you will be unable to resist.
Like I said Mirko Hirsch has the Midas touch and proves it with "Flash On The Floor" by Rick De Moore and "To The Beach" by Foxbox. Both Rick De Moore and Foxbox are alter egos of the prolific Mirko Hirsch and both songs are powerful and explosive and create this dramatic lyrical imagery that only Mr. Hirsch seems to be able to paint with words. Also both songs contain incredible rock guitar solos that have not been heard in disco music since Donna Summer's legendary (and Grammy winning) song "Hot Stuff."
Maestro Hirsch may have the Midas touch but many consider Italo legend Savage as the “King of Italo Disco.” One listen to “Save Me” and it’s easy to understand why. The song is an exquisite throbbing slow burning piece of electronica for the new Italo generation. Savage’s Italo reign has endured through the 80s, 90’s and 21st century, the only thing I can say to that is - all hail the king.
DiscoBonus' "Spend Your Money" with its 70's glam rock vocals, and early 80's synth pop touches mixed with 21st century Italo is incredible. With the usage of samples and guitars it also reminds me of the song "Stylophonia" by the 90's techno titans 2 Little Boys, and alt/progressive rockers Big Audio Dynamite’s amazing 1989 album "Megatop Phoenix.” If it was the 1980's this song would be considered alternative/progressive and played alongside Visage, the Sparks, Flying Lizards, the Waitresses, Telex, and anything from the legendary ZE records.
Tess' "Cry Away" contains some really menacing and ominous keyboards, a pounding beat and delicious male/female vocals, which I'm always a sucker for. It's an Italo electronica hybrid in the vein of the Sweeps.
Speaking of The Sweeps, their "The Last Dream" bridges Italo and synth pop to great effect. They craft a dark, haunting, unforgettable tune that makes me ache inside and it hurts so good. Also I can hear a little nod to Kraftwerk in the song too.
Like DiscoBonus, Tess, and the Sweeps, Tiziana Rivale’s "Flame" fits neatly into that synth pop/alternative/electronica/progressive/Italo category. With “Flame” as with her previous release, “Ash,” you can count on Tiziana Rivale to be deliciously different and amazingly avant-garde.
Tommy Sun’s exciting “Magic Carillon” possesses a sort of exciting rolling thunder sound (sounds like it’s made with vibrating saw blades) that is a trademark that you find in some of his previous releases. I find myself anxiously waiting for this musical assault to of my senses.
“Look Me In The Eyes” by Aldo Lesina will put you under its hypnotic electronic spell. Lesina sings about being away on holiday, meeting that special someone with which there is an electric romantic attraction. The time has come to make love, but his paramour's lips say "No, no." But their contradicting eyes say, "Oh yes, yes!"
Linda Jo Rizzo has deep roots in Italo. She was once a member of the iconic hi-NRG band the Flirts. She then went on to have Italo hits on her own such as "You're My First You're My Last" and “Heartflash (Tonight)." For the Italo new generation Linda has issued the stunning “Day Of The Light.” It’s an uncomplicated mix of pop and Italo that will just take your breath away.
Legend Linda Jo Rizzo teams up with new Italo superstar TQ for the wonderful “Out Of The Shadow.” This smooth Italo hit has a positive message that begs you to both sit and listen to it and dance to its hypnotic groove. TQ has worked with a variety of Italo newcomers and legends so you know I became super excited when I read that TQ has teamed up with Italo icon, Lian Ross, for an upcoming Italo release. I'm sure their collaboration will be as exciting and TQ’s and Linda Jo Rizzo’s.
Just like Italo Disco: The New Generation volumes 1 and 2, Italo: TNG 3 is an exciting must have for all Italo lovers. It’s loaded with a barrage of quality Italo tracks that I’ve listened to over and over again and again….you will too.
© 2013 Rix Roundtree-Harrison
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Artist Link: http://www.zyx.de/Musik/Italo-47/