ITALO DISCO

This week I wanted to touch upon one of my favorite genres of music: Italo disco. Born out of progressive music around the late '70s, Italo originated in Italy (obviously) and gained massive popularity in Europe in the mid-80s. Producers like Giorgio Moroder, Devo, and Kraftwerk had huge influence on the formation of the genre, and popular acts such as Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, New Order, and Sylvester were heavily influenced by this genre of electronic music. 

I discovered Italo disco soon after I started producing electronic music, right around the time that Washed Out became popular with "Feel It All Around." Many people still don't know that the song is pretty much a direct sample of Gary Low's original Italo hit, "I Want You." Still, it's a pretty cool way to use a sample.



My favorite Italo records come from Scotch, an Italian band that had huge success in the genre in the mid 80s. These guys were great not only for their synth programming, but also for their ridiculous lyrics, possibly due a lapse in Italian-to-English translation. My favorite song of theirs, "Take Me Up," is below. And yes, almost every one of their music videos is as ridiculous as this one.


Thanks for the memories, fellas.

Thanks for the memories, fellas.

I made a Spotify playlist with a bunch of my favorite Italo disco tracks. You can listen to it below.

SOFTWARE

Today I wanted to delve into the rich electronic stylings of Software, a German duo composed of Peter Mergener and Michael Weisser.  Software was founded in 1984 by the duo, and lasted until around 2000, with a few other players sprinkled in over the years. 

                                        Software - Electronic - Universe (Part 1) - 1985

                                        Software - Electronic - Universe (Part 1) - 1985


They released music through the German imprint Innovative Communications, a boutique label specializing in electronic music and krautrock. IC was founded by Klaus Schulze, a huge pioneer in ambient and electronic music (he was also the drummer in one of the early incarnations of Tangerine Dream). 

 

Peter Mergener in good company with 2 MS-20s, 2 MS-50s, an Emulator II, what looks to be a Crumar Performer, a Korg vocoder, and other odds and ends.

Peter Mergener in good company with 2 MS-20s, 2 MS-50s, an Emulator II, what looks to be a Crumar Performer, a Korg vocoder, and other odds and ends.


I discovered Software on Youtube after rifling through several different ambient artists from the '80s. I instantly fell in love with the album Digital - Dance from 1988, especially the song below, "Island Sunrise."  

The pads in this track are definitely what initially drew me to it. They're so warm, and the filter movement is so smooth. I'm also a sucker for simple electronic percussive arrangements. 


                                                                          "Magic Sounds from Percussion Island"                                            I also love the artwork that came with these records. It fits the vibe so well.

                                                                          "Magic Sounds from Percussion Island"

                                           I also love the artwork that came with these records. It fits the vibe so well.

BRUTON MUSIC LIBRARY

I wanted to start writing about some of the music I have discovered on Youtube over the years, mostly the lesser-known electronic music that I find and subsequently obsess over. I made a blog page on my website where I will talk about an artist I've found, a label and its history, or a music community that has either been forgotten or developed a cult following in recent years.

Along with this, I'll be making playlists on Spotify with whatever music I can scrounge up from these posts. As is the case with many of the music I find on Youtube, a lot of it is hard to find on any other platform, especially on Spotify. But I'll try my best and will post them when I can!


Today's discovery is the Bruton Music Library, a label based out of London that specialized in commercial and corporate music. They had a slew of amazing composers, mostly focused on synth-based music.

One composer that stands out to my ear is Geoff Bastow, an English songwriter who was based in Munich. Known to the Italo Disco world as K.I.D., he also composed music for commercial applications for Bruton Music, and frequently collaborated with his brother Trevor, another Bruton composer. He also collaborated with Georgio Moroder in the early '80s as well.

I found his album, Tomorrows World, a few months ago. The simplicity in the synthesis and sequencing are astounding to me. This track in particular, "Tomorrows Achievements," is really amazing.



Check out my Spotify playlist with more artists from the Bruton Music Library below.