“Well, it was like everyone had rented a copy of ‘Inception’ from Blockbusters [sic], since the credo seemed to be ‘we need to go deeper.’ There was still a lot of rummaging around in the early history of modern dance music, but the biggest shoulder pads all but disappeared when the nu disco wave shifted focus from continental European to early 80s italo to the later 80s and early 90s American house. The neon colours disappeared into the sweaty darkness of deep house, except maybe the neon yellow of the acid smiley.”
I couldn’t have put it better myself, and given my bias toward hyper-melodic, emotive tracks I’ve admittedly been a bit dismayed to see my Hype Machine feed gradually consumed by the deep and the glitchy.
But we’ve also heard a new sound emerging at the crossroads of deep house and dreamwave, offsetting the R&B-tinged minimalism of the former with splashes of color and feeling drawn from soul, funk and pop. This fresh wave of stripped-down cosmic disco, which first caught my ear on French Express tracks like Chris Malinchak’s “So Good To Me” and Satin Jackets’ “You Make Me Feel Good,” can be felt in recent productions by Amtrac and Lane 8, among others. Beyond the realm of pure electronic music, Dev Hynes’ tracks for Solange and Sky Ferreira offer a similar blend of dark, deep and warm tones stitched together in spare, almost skeletal arrangements. A common thread between many of these artists is the unlikely marriage of simple Chicago House rhythms (often using primitive Roland drum machines) with cutting edge computer production and pop song structures.
One of my favorite new tracks in this vein, “Rock Solid,” comes from Rambla Boys, a Venitian duo influenced by Italo disco and artists including Soulwax, Mario Basanov and Chromeo. You can stream both the original and a slow-building remix from prolific Belgian producer Mickey below. “Rock Solid” is out now on Smile Recordings.
STREAM: Rambla Boys – “Rock Solid”
STREAM: Rambla Boys – “Rock Solid (Mickey Remix)”