italo disco


rather than a post about an artist in particular, i’ll be writing about a genre that many attribute to starting the rise of electronic music. dating to the late 70s, italo disco was really only popular in europe and was the first genre to produce music using only electronic means. synthesizers, drum machines, apreggiators… the future! even the human voice (see moskow diskow) was vocoded and given that spacey robot sound.

as my favourite italo disco blog puts it: “the future is 25 years old” or, from wikipedia: “…the genre featured love-song lyrics sung in English with heavy foreign accents. English was more often than not the artists’ second language, creating lyrics that were often considered to be almost nonsensical. Along with love, italo disco themes deal with robots and space, sometimes combining all three.”

so… robots + space + love = italo disco… sounds like my favourite musical!

anyway, all of these funky robotic foreign accents have definitely influenced modern music (aeroplane comes to mind.. and eiffel 65, that italian one hit wonder whose blue permeated your young minds in the late 90s)

ok, so maybe those are not the best examples… little boots? rod stewart? M83? alan braxe? new order?

it’s simple. all electronic music was influenced, directly or indirectly, by the mind warping arped synths of italo disco, because italo disco was the first! have a listen to the tracks below and think about it the next time you’ve got something else playing… you’ll be surprised.

utter nostalgia!

telex – moskow diskow (1979)

charlie – spacer woman (1983)

casco – cybernetic love (1983)

international music system – dancing therapy (1984)

5 responses

  1. tom

    spacer woman is amazing, analog synth will forever be my favorite and listening to this really makes me want to mess with one again.

    Monday, November 30, 2009 at 11:00

  2. matty

    reminds me of goldeneye 64 + the knife combined in a weird way or something! cool stuff

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 00:54

  3. jb

    electronic music came more from so called krautrock than italidisco. yet it was the combination and collaboration of three friends from the same neighborhood in late 70’s detroit that really moved the form forward. check out the electrifying mojo. listening to his radio show with it’s wide range of influences began, along with the cheap access to factory produced drummachines in the detroit (and many urban) areas, gave rise to “electronic music’. of which took from the italidisco as well, yet the start was long before that form as mentioned. late 60’s basically.

    neu and the silver apples are good places to start looking.

    kraftwerk were hand making their own instruments along with the silver apples in the late 60’s.

    devo, met at kent state and formed after the shootings also took up on the making of their own instruments in the mid-70’s yet initally turned used more traditional instruments with a drone-y punk feel combo, interesting! punk began long before electronic in the mid and early 60’s if not all the way back to ….

    “this machine kills fascists”

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 03:49

  4. paul

    interesting, i will have a listen.

    i was making the point that italo disco was the first to produce great music with entirely electronic means.

    while we’re talking about electronic music, check out the tracks from the first philadelphia computer music festival circa 1979. synthy stuff.

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 04:30

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