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THE ELECTROGARDEN MUSIC REVIEW POST

  ZYX ITALO DISCO COLLECTION
    by ZYX ITALO DISCO COLLECTION - VARIOUS
  Posted: 09.05.2011
  8300 Views

  

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TRACK LISTING

11 Discs Total (Showing listing and image for disc 1 only)

Disc 1:

1. POLARIS (Club Mix) Cyber People 6:31
2. HEY HEY GUY (US Remix) Ken Laszlo 5:50
3. TOKYO (DJ Version) Brian Ice 6:40
4. DROID (Automatic Piano) Hypnosis 5:10
5. MANDRILL (Extended Version) Patrick Colby 6:13
6. JABDAH (DJ Version) Koto 6:18
7. VALENTINO MON AMOUR (Dub Extended) Alan Ross 5:23
8. RED MAN (After Rain Mix) 50 & 50 Brothers 5:32
9. SHOOTING STAR (Dub Version) Roy 5:50
10. AMERICA (Swedish Remix) Baby's Gang 4:30
11. I CAN HEAR YOUR VOICE (Vocal Extended) Holt Cold 5:30
12. HOT STUFF (Long Version) Image 7:21
13. FREE YOUR LIFE (DJ Version) Eugene 6:35


Disc 2:

1. BABY DON'T YOU BREAK MY HEART Argentina 6:01
2. WALKING AWAY (Vocal Extended) Brain Ice 5:48
3. DIGITAL SIGNAL PROCESSOR (Remix) Cyber People 7:09
4. SHOW ME (Remix) Roxanne 5:59
5. SHOCK ME (Extended) Amadhouse 6:00
6. GOING CRAZY (Extended Vocal Mix) Mike Cannon 6:22
7. YOU'LL BE MINE (Mix Vox) Joe Lettieri 4:32
8. LOVE ME NOW (Bass) Life Movies 5:55
9. NEW WORLD (Vocal) Apple In Jacket 5:50
10. CAN'T STAY The Kittchen Club 6:24
11. HOUSE MACHINE DJ Lelwel 7:29
12. MONKEY MONKEY (45 Vox) Flo Astaire 5:47
13. KEEP THE JOINT Max'n Sandy 5:18


Disc 3:

1. MAS MIX QUE NUNCA (Long Version) 17:03
(Includes: Ken Laszlo, Mike Cannon, Roy, Baby's Gang, Koto)
2. D.J. EFFECTS (Collection of audio effects) 2:20
3. THE KOTO MIX Koto 7:07
4. SOUND EFFECTS (More audio effects) DJ Lelwel 1:36
5. SHOOTING STAR (Bonus Beat) Roy 3:42
6. SHOOTING STAR (Acapella) Roy 3:05
7. MAS MIX QUE NUNCA (Disco Version) 12:56
(Includes: Brian Ice, Duke Lake, Roy, Cyber People,
Baby's Gang, Koto, J.D. Jaber, Alan Ross, Phil Grant,
Ken Laszlo, Mike Cannon, Sky Creakers)

  LABEL:  ZYX RECORDS
  RELEASED:  2011

ZYX ITALO DISCO COLLECTION - VARIOUS

ZYX ITALO DISCO COLLECTION

I love italo disco music; I love its broken English; I love its frenetic electronics, sizzling keyboards, and pounding drum machine. I love the cheap sounding productions of some italo disco songs and the often unintelligible vocals of others, I love it all. Apparently I'm not the only one who loves the stuff because the folks at ZYX Music have released an overwhelming amount of it with their superb compilations called the "I Love ZYX Italo Disco Collection.”

The ZYX Italo Disco Collection is mind numbing; it consist of 11 volumes of hard hitting italo disco. That’s right, 11 volumes that include 33 CDs and 383 tracks.....its mammoth! When you place ZYX's Italo Disco Collection into your preferred choice of music delivering technology, grab something and hold on tight, because within these 33 CDs, as Jerry Lee Lewis once said, "There's a whole lot of shakin’ going on.” It's like these sizzling tracks are competing with one another to see which one can make your body shake the hardest.

When I throw these discs into my CD player, desktop/laptop or listen to the tracks which are downloaded into my phone, a smile crosses my face as I am transported back in time to my college days and Christopher's.

Christopher's was a wonderful neighborhood bar & grill where I spent many a night after a grueling day of classes. Christopher's wasn't a big place; to call it a hole in the wall would be being generous. Inside there were six or seven small tables that ringed the large wrap around windows of its façade. There were four tall circular tables with tall bar stools in the middle of the floor. On the other side of those tables was the bar where the smiling, friendly bartenders served up your favorite alcoholic (or non alcoholic) libations. At the right end of the bar you could always find someone playing at the electronic video games located there. Above the video games a television hung suspended from the ceiling. This television was always on showing music videos, sports events, classic movies, or the local news. But the sound of the television was always muted so as not to compete with the pulsing italo sounds that throbbed from Christopher's speaker system.

The fat juicy burgers and zesty French fries Christopher's served were awesome and drew a lively crowd. Just like on the television show Cheers, Christopher's had its regulars. I was one of Christopher's regular, but not for the awesome burgers and fries, not for the camaraderie of the other regulars, and not for the libations; I was there for the music.

Christopher's played non-stop italo disco music. Italo disco was a genre of music that was not played on local radio nor could I buy it at the local small town record stores, so I really appreciated being able to hear it and enjoy it at Christopher’s. I would order me a basket of Christopher's slammin' fries, a frosty mug of my favorite libation, grab me a seat, and then kick back and listen to the music.

At Christopher's you could hear all the gods of italo disco; European acts that never emoted a single note on American radio, acts like Sandra, Bad Boys Blue, London Boys, Fun Fun, Fancy, C.C. Catch, Sabrina, Spagna and Modern Talking, the band that some would call the God Jupiter of the italo disco pantheon.

As much as I love the major italo disco gods like Modern Talking, I'm pleased to say that none of them are represented on the outstanding ZYX Italo Disco Collection. These CDs focus on the lesser and not as well known italo disco acts like Michael Bedford, Albert One, Divina, Moulin Rouge, Silent Circle, Lian Ross, Ken Laszlo, Shipra, Solid Strangers, Silver Pozzoli, On TV, Duke Lake, Jules, R Bias, Savage, and many, many others. What really thrilled me about ZYX's IDC was that of the 383 tracks featured I only possessed about four or five of them, which means, well over 375 of these tracks were totally new to me, and that's exciting. Unfortunately, out of these 383 tracks there are quite a few dull lifeless duds. But don't let that discourage you because the incredible amount of awesome tracks more than makes up for the duds.

I heard many of the tracks featured on the IDC at Christopher's. When my 7pm class ended at 9pm I would rush to Christopher's. I would walk in the door and would be happily assaulted by throbbing italo disco. As I took a seat, the music would stop for a moment, to give the manager time to change CDs, and the suspended television's sound (which was funneled though the bar's speaker system) would be turned on. On the TV screen the desert winds blow the sepia tone sand. An Arab sheik garbs his robe and swings it dramatically across his body. He takes a swooning scantily clad woman with long dark and frizzy big hair into his arms and jumps atop a white horse. All the while the sound of Alan Ross' romantic italo masterpiece, "Valentino Mon Amour” (found on IDC1), fills the bar. Then the television's sound is muted again and the prerecorded music found on the IDC continues with Sweet Connection's "Need Your Passion,” a track from IDC4. “Need Your Passion,” with its pounding beats, chugging keyboards and sing-along refrain, has my body shaking in my seat as my head rocks from side to side with the music. I sing along with that great chorus, "The voo-doo that you do-ismagic-déeejàaaavuuuu-ou.” And it was like déjà vu listening to the IDC as I heard this track and many more from the IDC at Christopher's.

The vibes found on IDC7 attach themselves to those tiny little receptors in the brain that commands the body to involuntarily move and shake, as Star Trek's the Borg would say, "Resistance is futile." And you will not be able to resist powerful tracks like, Lian Ross' italo onslaught "Saturday Night,” with it's haunting moaning male background vocals, Mozzart's "Jasmine China Girl" (which has a hint of the Bobby O sound in it), Savage's superior remake of "I Just Died In Your Arms,” which has a rhythm track similar to that of Paula Evan's italo shaker "Ciao,” the fast paced "All You Need Is Love” by Coo Coo, the thumping italo locomotive "Stranger” (which has some really nice guitar work goin' on in it) by Moulin Rouge, Dandy's brain pounding "Casanova,” "Little Flower” by Thomas & Shubert (another song you will find yourself singing along with), and two stunning songs that instantly bring to mind the italo Gods Modern Talking, "Bouna Sera-Ciao Ciao” by Mauro (also containing some great male backing vocals), and Charlie G's beautiful "Llama L'Amour” which has a bass and vibe similar to that of MT's "Do You Wanna,” from their legendary "The First Album." IDC7 does not give you time to think as it assaults your brain and takes over your body, all you will want to do is dance.

As I sat in Christopher's and listened to "Rainy Day" by Brando on IDC4, I noticed that the singer possessed Barry Gibb (of the Bee Gees) like vocals. I was delighted to discover that italo superstar Spagna is singing background vocals on this tune.

On IDC2 you'll find Joe Yellow's "Easy Lover,” it's an inexpensive production with garbled broken English, and due to the production the music and vocals are meshed together and are almost inaudible. And that's what makes this song sooooo good. It pumps along and you get to that chorus that sounds like....“Loooverrrrr-I need some lovin'callmeloooverrrrr-Call me again.” I'm sure that's probably not what is being sung, but with the cheap production and broken English, you can't make it out, and that's what makes it delicious. This just goes to show that a record made on a shoestring budget can be excellent, and also shows that shoestrings can taste good when cooked in the right sauce.

The music stops again and the television volume is turned up. On the screen, violent seas lash the shores of an ancient city. Modern Talking's Dieter Bohlen is playing guitar and Thomas Anders is singing and playing keyboards while ancient Corinthian columns crumble around them. A beautiful but distressed woman, dressed in a glittering gown like that of an ancient Greek, sits on a throne while her city that is tumbling down around her is engulfed by the thrashing seas. All the while "Atlantis Is Calling (SOS for Love)” floats from the speakers filling the tiny neighborhood bar and grill with exciting italo sounds.

When the television is silenced the IDC picks up again, this time with tracks from IDC2, 4, and 5. These tracks, Ross' "Don't Stop,” "King Kong & D' Jungle Girls' "Lies” (this is one wild piece of music, it will pound your brain to pulp, and you'll love every second of it), and Chip Chip's "Everything You Love” and "So Close To Heaven” (with it's thundering bassline), bring to mind italo legends Fun Fun. All three acts are excellent but Chip Chip is Fun Fun's only competition when it comes to delivering hard hitting, fast, no frills, pulsing, pounding energy that will make you shake.

IDC3's "Moonlight Affair” by Cliff Turner, “Only One Night” by The Hurricanes, and "Vision of Love” by DJ's Project have got to be the best songs Modern Talking and Bad Boys Blue never made. All three songs contain flourishes of MT and BBB.

Danuta's "Touch My Heart,” Jessica's "Like a Burning Star,” and Paula Evans' "Ciao,” (Paula has a voice like that of Nathalie Merchant and her song will make you say "ciao" to control of your body and mind), are italo rump shakers and each one of these songs has a wicked and thick bassline running through it. Sauvage is a cheap version of italo superstars Lime. That was not meant as a slight but as a compliment because in the case of italo dance music, a cheap and fast production is always excellent. Their track "Don't You Want Me” with its whirlwind rhythms and vocals will remind you of Dennis and Denyse LaPage, it is oh so infectious and engaging.

In the eerie, strange, mysterious, haunting, but excellent category, IDC2, 3, 4 and 5 gives you "Chinese Magic” by Jessica with it's oriental electronics, Lala's "Johnny” (when this chick says "shake to the beat” you will, because you won't be able to help yourself), Rose's nursery rhyme like "Magic Carillon,” and "Fairy Tale,” which starts out with churning keyboards that segues into a bassline similar to that of Alphaville's "Big In Japan," the strange chugging locomotive "Sunshine Love" by Anthony's Games, which contains Jimmy Sommerville (of Bronski Beat) like falsetto wails, and Camaro's Gang's "Fuerza Major," with it's broken English male vocals, one guy’s vocals are somewhat high pitched while the other guy’s are deep, creating a nice juxtaposition of sound.

KB Caps has three great tracks on this compilation, "Catch Me Now I'm Falling,” "Julia” and their classic "Do You Really Need Me.” "Do You Really Need Me” is one song that I am familiar with as I have three versions of it on various other collections. The long version on IDC5 is undoubtedly the best as the cute production touches and unnecessary sound effects of other versions are not present. Without these embellishments the song is a pounding, no nonsense track, heavy on electronic angst and dark moodiness...it's great.

Once again the music is again turned off and the volume of Christopher's television is raised. The television screen is now filled with Las Vegas showgirls who spin and whirl while a suave dark Mediterranean looking male flirts with a glamorously gowned blonde at the roulette table. Suddenly juxtaposed images of flying poker chips, playing cards, spinning roulette wheels, and dancing showgirls fill the screen as the woman angrily exits the man's luxurious hotel suite as the exhausted man lies asleep in a mammoth bed beneath satin sheets. All the while, the frenetic percolating rhythms of Venus' italo earthquake "One Shot Lover” explodes from Christopher's speakers.

I never told my friends this, but when they would join me at Christopher’s, though it would seem as if I was engaged in conversation with them, I was not, I was faking it. I was just nodding my head and dropping a “yes,” “no,” or “cool,” in the appropriate places. I couldn’t tell you what any conversation was about because I wasn’t listening to them I was listening to the awesome italo sounds. As my friends talked my eyes looked directly at them but my ears heard tracks that can be found on IDC11, like, Linda Jo Rizzo’s “Perfect Love,” Grant Miller’s electronic blitz “Red For Love (rmx)” and “Love Plays Tricks,” from Charlie G, a man that you can count on to deliver elegant and romantic italo disco.

Like Charlie G, there are other acts you will find on IDC11 who are represented in other volumes of the IDC. Two such acts are Silent Circle, with their song “Oh, Don’t Lose Your Heart,” and Cliff Turner’s “Sunset Rendezvous.”

What a shame that Christopher's being a small bar and grill and did not have a dance floor because played there were movers and shakers found on the IDC like, T. Ark's "Under Cover Lover”, Patty Ryan's "Stay With Me Tonight” and "I Don't Wanna Lose You Tonight”, Mike Mareen's "Lady Ecstasy” (this has keyboard work that will remind you of the Sylvester hi-NRG classic "Do You Wanna Funk”), Joy Peters' (with that astounding Lloyd Cole like voice) "Don't Lose Your Heart”, and "One Night In Love,” Brian Ice's "Over Again,” Midnight Passion's "I Need Your Love,” "Dance With Me” by Claudia T (when Claudia says, "youwilldancewith-me” you will, believe me, you will), Grant Miller's "Tracks In The Snow,” "Upside Down” by Coo Coo, and "Crank It Up” by Thomas & Shubert are shameless, frenetic, fast paced, italo rump shakers aimed for dance floor consumption.

Though Christopher's had no dance floor, there was a place to go if you wanted to dance to italo disco. You could take a two hour drive to the sea side city of Norfolk and a club called "The Cue." On first visit the Cue was a frightening place, it looked like a dilapidated haunted crack house. With its loose wooden siding, blacked-out windows, front porch over hang that looked as if it was about to come crashing down, and the barren grass free front yard, the place was spooky. When I approached the beat up wooden front door, my thought was "I wanna go home," but I went in and boy, was I surprised.

The Cue's postage stamp sized dance floor was jam packed with ecstatic pulsing, pumping, and jumping bodies digging italo disco music. Supplying the club patrons with this music was something that was a novelty at the time, a female DJ. DJ Girl was anything but glamorous, she wore large glasses, had a mullet styled curly perm, she wore blue jeans and a plain white sweater; she looked like a housewife out on a lark. But man, could that chick spin, she kept the Cue's tiny dance floor loaded.

DJ Girl had the bodies writhing and gyrating to New Baccara's "Touch Me,” one of the great tracks on IDC7. Placed under DJ Girl's hypnotic rhythm spell I suddenly added my body to the throng of writhing, jumping, pumping, gyrating bodies on the dance floor. The astonishingly wicked "Touch Me” has a nice sing-a-long line about a wonderful feeling that "Makes us hit the ceiling,” and this song had us doing just that, jumping and pumping towards the ceiling. With our minds blitzed and packed like a school of sardines, everyone on the dance floor forgot their dance partners and spun, pulsed, pumped, and danced with who ever just happened to be next to them. No one cared or was offended as we were all in sync and unified by the awesome italo sounds.

Then DJ Girl spun the italo powerhouse "Fantasy Boy,” and I thought, "So this is what you get when ABBA and Modern Talking collide!" This hypnotically enticing track, also by New Baccara, is one of the many fantastic tracks found on IDC6. When "Fantasy Boy” reached it's frenzied keyboard break, a sly wicked grin zipped across the face of DJ Girl as she knew she had us in the palm of her record spinning hand, and she was not about to let us go. She then proceeded to pulverized us with the dangerously delightful and hard hitting italo disco acts you will find on IDC6 and 7, like Valerie Dore, Karl Olivas, Kamillo, Sheila Steward, Argentina, Claudia T, and Chip Chip.

DJ Girl releases us from the italo disco spell she has woven just for a moment as she takes us to the world of PWL. On the screen of the television above the bar are the black and white images of Elizabeth Taylor and a bespectacled Richard Burton. Though you cannot hear her, diva Liz is obviously simultaneously taunting and screaming at Burton. Her face is contorted in cruel mocking anger, and her wild untamed hair is all over her head and falling into her face. All the while from the Cue's speakers Bananarama's PWL produced "Some Girls” pounds out, "Some girls, scream-and-shout, scream-and-shout, some girls, flirt-and-play, some girls always get their way.”

DJ Girl returns to her italo set with tracks containing wonderful vocals, arrangements, electronics and keyboards, superb tracks like, Lena's "Run To Me,” "No More Vision,” by Sly & Hunter, Shy Rose's "You Are My Desire.” Then there’s "I'm Singing Again” by Wilson Ferguson. This song is so incredibly beautiful you can't help but absorb it into your consciousness and relish what you are listening to. Wilson Ferguson has a distinctive voice that displays a wide range of vocal emotions making "I'm Singing Again” so enthralling that you will find yourself singing along with it while dancing to its medium paced italo pounding. But that's IDC6, a plethora of mesmerizing and satisfying italo gems that will have the body shakin' in its seat, while the mind takes an italo trip.

My reminiscing leaves the Cue’s dance floor and I return to Christopher's. At Christopher’s I’m sitting and contemplating the wonderful italo disco sounds and then I suddenly realize the unmistakable influence of Modern Talking on the italo disco scene. Many the IDC tracks possess several of the musical elements that you find in a MT song, elements like those incredible and exhilarating high-pitched backing vocals. You will find the influence of virtually every track from MT's now legendary "The First Album” on many of the IDC tracks. There are several acts that even do covers of Modern Talking songs like Joe Lockwood's nice version of MT's "Hey You.” You know the age old question, which came first the chicken or the egg? Well the IDC will have you asking, which came first Modern Talking or italo disco?

On IDC9 you will find many fantastic tracks like the stunning remake of "Video Killed the Radio Star” by Bon Ton. This is a great song and is far superior to Erasure's version found on their CD "Other People's Songs.”

The dynamic duo Chip Chip returns with their fourth outing in IDC9. Their song is the melodic and hypnotic "Never Say Goodbye.” Last night I listened to "Never Say Goodbye” and their three other songs in the IDC series "Everything You Love,” So Close To Heaven,” and "No More Tears,” in order to compare them. All are excellent, but "Never Say Goodbye” is the best of the four. I can't explain it but there is something musically different about it and it's that difference that makes this song stand out.

There are a couple of act on IDC9 who where obviously influenced by the Alphaville classic "Big In Japan.” Both Savage's "I Love Again,” and Fair Control's "Symphony of Love” sound as if their vocals were set right on top of Big In Japan's rhythm track and they come out sounding really nice.

"Sentimental Lover” by Milou is sensational. Frantic pace, crackling keyboards and a screaming heavy metal guitar solo that rivals those that you would find on a Def Leppard record. Whoever is playing that guitar, he or she really makes that thing talk.

Christopher’s thundering sound system is again silenced and the sound of the suspended television is turned up. On the TV screen two beautiful women dressed like sultry and elegant 1930’s screen sirens. They are about to board a train and as locomotive hisses billowing steam, hunky young porters load the glamorous women’s luggage onto the train. All the while, the italo duo Fun Fun’s mega-hit “Happy Station” chugs out, “Station, happy station. Come with me and take a trip.” Yes, Fun Fun’s “Happy Station” is definitely an italo trip you should take, once you do, you will ride that train again and again.

The television is silenced and Christopher’s italo tsunami picks up with the astounding "Feeling” by Coangielu. "Feeling,” with its dreamy Modern Talking-ish romanticism, throbbing electronics, dizzying keyboards and those sexy trade-off male-female vocals is a delectable mix of MT and Lime, it’s amazing.

T' Ark gives us a splendid remake of Miko Mission's "How Old Are You.” Then there are two acts that give us songs that sound like T. Ark tunes, they are, "Don't You Know,” by Sinery and Amandras' "Another Lover,” both are excellent. I've got to mention Talkin' Fog's "Wait Baby Wait,” this song pounds a funky rump shaking italo rhythm, while the synthesizers groan out a mesmerizing electronic drone.

The IDC presents me with so many wonderful songs that I could not possibly choose a favorite, but there is one that is near the top of my italo list it's Tony Turn's "Cherry Cherry.” In the IDC the title is listed as "Cherry Cherry,” but I happened to find the original 12" vinyl sleeve and the title is listed as "Cherry Chery”. This song makes me ask the question, what if the PWL crew and Modern Talking's Dieter Bohlen got together and went out to a bar and got blind, stinking, sloppy drunk, then came back to the studio in their inebriated state and decided to make a record, what would it sound like? Well it would sound like "Cherry Chery." One listen and you know that this is one cheaply produced song. Add to that the artist Tony Turn cannot sing, he sort of croaks through the song in garbled broken English. Now, after saying those unflattering things about the song I must say that the song is excellent. It's a sweet concoction that sounds like a combination of Carol Hitchcock's PWL produced hi-NRG remake of the Temptation's classic "Get Ready” and Modern Talking's "Cheri Cheri Lady.” The song pounds so hard it beats the hell out of you. I hit the repeat key and listen to it over and over again, it's sheer ecstasy.

There are many great tracks on IDC8 like Grant Miller's rousing "Wings Of Love,” which sounds like a combination of the sounds of Modern Talking, Fun Fun, and Fancy, it's incredible. Hot Cold's "Don't Talk About It” has a sound similar to Fun Fun's euro house-ish classic from 1990, "Give Me Love,” it's all italo with a bit of house, and hip hop flourishes. Boy's "Broken Wings” is a satisfying piece of cheaply produced euro-disco. The singer's Claudja Barry like vocals are so badly sung in broken English that you really can't tell if the singer is male or female, but it matters not because the song is so good. The backing vocalists sing at a quick clip (to keep up with the runaway rhythms of this pulse pounding music, lest they get left behind), its fast, fun, and frenetic.

Sitting at my favorite table by the large plate glass window, I quickly gulp down my Christopher’s libation when I hear Shipra's "Joy In My Heart.” Its playful tinkling toy keyboard sound lulls you into its sweet melody and before you know it you've been clobbered by the droning beat and hot italo keyboards. This song also contains a very mesmerizing repetitive one-twotwo-three-four, one-twotwo-three-four keyboard riff. Speaking of hypnotic keyboard riffs, Mozzart's "Malice and Vice” has some sizzling keyboard sounds. This is the track where I continually hit the repeat button, its great (and another of my absolute favorites). With a cool, sexy, smooth, repeated refrain that goes, "By that look in your eyes,” Mozzart says "You've bewitched another fool,” and guess what? You’ll be the fool that is bewitched by this beautiful, danceable, italo confection. Also, you won't be able to get that one-two-three, oneone-two-three, one-two-three, oneone-two-three italo keyboard riff out of your head.

T. Ark's "Count On Me,” is also excellent, they sound like the Human League on acid. You can count on them to do what they do best, which is to create a dance floor rump shaker fill with their trademark those amazing "ooohooohoooh's.”

If you require a Bad Boys Blue fix the IDC gives it to you with Airplay's infectious "For Your Love.”

As I toss a zesty Christopher’s French fry into my mouth the unmistakable sound of Chip Chip fills the bar & grill. I always said that Chip Chip was italo disco icon Fun Fun's only real italo competition, and their track "No More Tears” reinforces this as it is similar in sound to Fun Fun's classic "Capital Girl” with its infectious radio friendly dance-pop sound.

Speaking of Fun Fun, there is another dynamic girl duo who sounds similar to them on IDC1, they are Hot Cold, and they sing the italo heat wave, “I Can Hear Your Voice.” This tune possesses the incredible line (sung in broken English), “So I go my friends, time is right to dance,” and I couldn’t agree more. While we are on IDC1, it also contains the energetic “Hey Hey Guy,” by Ken Laszlo. “Hey Hey Guy,” is wonderful; broken English, fiery keyboards, inaudible lyrics and a pounding drum machine, who could ask for anything more?

The indescribable Shy Rose is represented with three incredible tracks on the IDC; the best is the electrically frenetic "I Cry for You.” The tune contains caustic electricity, crackling keyboards, and a crashing drumbeat followed by an echoing "I-I-I,” then in beautiful broken English Shy Rose seductively sings, "wantyoumylove to-stay, please don't-go-a-way.” From here you're hooked, and Shy Rose doesn't have to worry, because you won't be going anywhere.

IDC7 throws two stunning surprises your way, and they both come from italo legend Patty Ryan and Modern Talking's legendary former back up vocalist, Systems In Blue. They team up to give us two stunning new 21st century italo disco tracks, "Should I Stay, Should I Go,” and "One Summer Night In Moscow.” These are two awesome tracks, and if it weren't for Patty Ryan's stellar vocals you would swear that these tracks were lifted from SIB's grand 2005 full-length CD "Point Of No Return,” (by the way, if you don't own System In Blue's "Point Of No Return” I suggest you seek it out, it is so outstanding, you will be glad you did).

Speaking of the former USSR, Moscow must be the new place to enjoy italo disco as italo maestro Johnny M5 takes us there with his awesome track, "Moscow Nights,” (a remix version on IDC8). Also taking us to mother Russia are the 21st century italo masterminds Fresh Fox with "Moscow Party Girl,” (from their CD "Tonight”), the aforementioned Patty Ryan with Systems In Blue concoction, "One Summer Night In Moscow,” included on IDC7. On IDC9 you will find Chaya's remarkable "Russian Affair.” Oh man, this song is hot; so many great things go on in this tune. As it pumps along, you sing along. With its bit of monastery monk like haunting chorals, it brings to mind the Pet Shop Boys' "It's a Sin.” Add to this is that there is even a little story going on in the song. It’s the Cold War and a Russian ballerina who wants to defect to the West to be with the man she loves, it's great.

There are several songs on IDC6 and 7 that will absolutely blow your mind, they are Shy Rose's "Only Men,” (think of the Pet Shop Boy's "It's A Sin”), the irresistible "It So Funny,” from King Kong & D' Jungle Girls, and two tracks from Deblanc, the beautifully pounding "Mon Amour,” and the frenetic, fast and brutally thumping "Monnalisa.” The only way to describe "Monnalisa” is to say hold on tight because it is one wild ride (and you won't want to get off).

ICD10 contains My Mine's often remade italo classic "Hypnotic Tango,” (Bananarama recorded an awesome pounding remake in '05, and prior to that Bianca created a fiery eurodance version in 1997).

Robert Camero provides the hi-NRG spitfire, "Lady Surprise.” The song is great because at one point Robert sings his vocals atop the completely different vocals of the background singers, the vocal assaults crackles like a double lightening strike, it’s so nice. I could see myself at Christopher's singing right along with them.

Taco, remember him from "Puttin on the Ritz,” back in the early 80's, well he sings "Got To Be Your Lover,” this is a unique track as there is a club DJ hyping the song at the beginning, middle and end. Sounds like an annoying interruptions huh? Well it's not; it works, making the funky song stunning.

Nove's "Ride My Bike,” is the big surprise. When I saw that title I immediately thought of the horrible (in my view) Queen 70's hit "Bicycle Race” and the horrible (in my view) film "Pee Wee's Big Adventure." I gave a disapproving frown and skipped the song. Then one day I listened to it and discovered it's a piece of excellent keyboard electricity. It’s about a guy on his motorcycle, he’s got his girl on the back and together they are racing other bikers and enjoying the open road. The song also has some nice hypnotic backing vocals towards the end.

After listening to the awesome IDC every fuse in your brain will be blown out by the thunderous assault of burning hot italo energy; that's the power of the spellbinding tracks on these collections. I did discover one interesting thing about the IDC collection though, the odd number IDC compilations (1, 3, 5, 7, 9 and 11) are better than the even number compilations (2, 4, 6, 8 and 10).

One amusing irony about Christopher's is that the owner/manager was clueless about the music he played. One day I asked him (while he was busy chewing out the bartender) where he got those cool songs that he played and he gave me the older grumpy business man annoyed by the pesky youngster look. The big, burley, gruff cigar chompin' guy curtly said to me that he knew nothing about the music; it was just inexpensive music that he got from a service that provided music to restaurants and bars. Then he puffed on his cigar and basically said "Go away kid you're bothering me" and walked off.

Shortly after I graduated from college, the doors of Christopher's closed permanently. I remember the final time I walked out of Christopher's doors, the wall shakin’, window rattlin’ pounding beats of the italo powerhouse "One Day” by Janet was filling the tiny but busy bar and grill. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the song was speaking to me. It was as if Janet, on behalf of Christopher’s, was sending me a special final good-bye when she sang to me, “One day when you’ll be far away, think to everything that we’ve exchanged, hold the memory close, don’t let it go.” I cherish my wonderful memories of Christopher’s bar & grill, and I have not, nor will I ever, let them go.

Though Christopher’s is no more, thanks to the wonderful people at ZYX Music I can toss the "I Love ZYX Italo Disco Collection” into my preferred choice of music delivering technology and visit Christopher's every day.


RATING: 8

Artist Link:  http://www.www.zyx.de
 

  Written By:  

 Rix Roundtree-Harrison

  Contact:  

 Contact Author

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