Monday, February 1, 2010

Week 36: Italo Disco

Italo Disco is, well, disco from Italy (mostly Milan, really), and its golden age was approximately 1980-1985. It was influenced in equal parts by American & Canadian disco, Giorgio Moroder-style Euro-disco, and 1970s electronic music like Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre, and the like. So basically what we've got here is another odd, techy offshoot of classic disco with weird synth noises and broken English. Which means I love it.

A lot of people use "Italo Disco" as a blanket term to mean any mostly-electronic disco, lumping in Quebecois disco, Euro-disco (which was mostly based out of Munich & Paris), even San Fran Hi-NRG. I know I'm being pedantic, but those people are wrong. For instance, if anybody tries to tell you that Lime or Bobby Orlando or Giorgio Moroder are Italo-Disco, stop listening to them. (Yes yes, I know, Moroder was born in Italy. But he was ethnically Tyrolean, his native tongue was German, and every record he made was recorded in Munich or Los Angeles. Besides, some tiny village in the Dolomites where they speak Ladin or Romansh or whatever probably has a lot more in common with Innsbruck than with Milan.)

Anyway, Italo Disco has been hugely influential to modern music—it is one of the cornerstones of house music, techno, synth pop, electroclash (for better or for worse), and it informs a bunch of other genres as well. Track 8, for instance, was a huge influence on Jamie Principle's genre-defining house classic "Your Love".
Some other footnotes: Track 15 was recorded in 1982, but sat unreleased in some vault somewhere until 2003, when Detroit electro label Ersatz Audio released it on a N.O.I.A. retrospective album. Track 24 is a cover of Giorgio Moroder, not the other way around.

Chrissy's Year of Mixtapes Week 36: Italo Disco.
  1. RAF; Self-Control (Carrere, 1984)
  2. Scotch; Disco Band (Remix) (American Disco, 1984)
  3. The Duke Of Burlington; Flash '83 (Proto Records, 1983)
  4. Kasso; The Walkman (Delirium, 1982)
  5. Doctor's Cat; Feel The Drive (Il Discotto, 1983)
  6. The Creatures; Machine's Drama (Full Time Records, 1982)
  7. Expansives; Life With You (Leader Records, 1982)
  8. Electra feat. Tara Butler; Feels Good (Best Record, 1982)
  9. My Mine; Hypnotic Tango (Chrissy Edit) (Progress Record, 1983)
  10. Mr. Flagio; Take A Chance (Squish, 1983)
  11. Cyber People; Void Vision (Memory Records, 1984)
  12. Koto; Visitors (Memory Records, 1985)
  13. International Music System; Dancing Therapy (IMS, 1984)
  14. Hipnosis; End Title (Blade Runner) (Memory Records, 1983)
  15. N.O.I.A.; We Wanna Glow (Italian Records, 1982 / Ersatz Audio, 2003)
  16. Plastic Mode; Digitally (Discomagic Records, 1985)
  17. Lama; Love On The Rocks (Numero Uno, 1983)
  18. Fun Fun; Color My Love (X-Energy Records, 1984)
  19. The Flics; Take It Easy (Tanga Label, 1984)
  20. Kasso; Kasso (Instrumental) (F1 Team, 1981)
  21. Bizzy & Co; Take A Chance (Deejay, 1982)
  22. The Passengers; I'll Be Standing Beside You (Chrissy Re-Edit) (Durium, 1979)
  23. Kano; It's A War (Full Time Records, 1980)
  24. Hananas; From Here To Eternity (Zanza Records, 1983)
  25. Fun Fun; Living In Japan (X-Energy Records, 1985)
  26. Sphinx; Collision Remixed (System Music, 1982)


  1. Some people think Klein & MBO's "Dirty Talk" is overrated. Those people are wrong. ;)

  2. wow, my parents totally did a cover of RAF when they were in a band together. thanks for reviving my childhood.

  3. Thanks man!
    Fun Fun are still as much fun as they were back then... although I liked "Happy Station" the best ;)

  4. I LOVE ITALO DISCO. I have those Disco Italia mixes that all the hipsters were creaming over a couple years ago and it is awesome. This mix promises multiple auralgasms.

    But you know what I love more? Giorgio Moroder. What mixtape would he fit into?

  5. I think just the umbrella term "Euro-disco" (which would also include Italo, and Dutch Hi-NRG and Eurobeat, and whatever) is about as specific as you can get when trying to pin Moroder down into a genre. He was pretty far ahead of his time, so there weren't enough others doing what he was doing when he was doing it to really constitute its own well-defined sub-genre, you know?

  6. Hmm, no well-defined sub-genre?...perhaps he needs his OWN mixtape... ;)

    I've been trying to get my hands on Moroder's music for years and haven't had much luck. Singles here and there, etc. I imagine that's because this is Chicago and not continental Europe. I saw a bit more of his stuff floating around when I lived in Toronto & NYC, but not much. I suppose I should just throw in the towel and buy the imports on ebay.

  7. just came across your site Chrissy - as an owner of one of the largest used dance vinyl stores in the world in the 2000s (since sold), I have to say that your knowledge of music and genres is incredible. You should consider using these blog postings to start a book on the history of dance records, styles, and genres. and your mixing and song selection is fantastic as well. keep up the great work.

  8. thanks homie :)
    out of curiosity, what shop did you run?

  9. miss q records, in WI - I sold out to, which is still going strong. he's got about 200,000 records up in his warehouse.

    i'm living in norway now - got any scandinavia dates for your spring tour yet?

  10. oh wow! never been to norway...farthest north I've ever played is glasgow/copenhagen/moscow.

    I'm probably gonna be in europe in May, but I dunno about Norway yet...hopefully I'll sort something out!

  11. At last, someone who recognises the beauty of Lama's Love on the Rocks...

    Have to disagree with you on Dirty Talk, the instrumental version was an anthem at the Hacienda in Manchester in the 80's.

    Great work as always


  12. Thanks for this, really dope mix!

  13. I am very surprised that I actually liked this mix... I didn't know if I would.



  14. Hello,

    thank you for this great mix, personally i'm listening to italo-disco since 1985, whan i was visiting the family of my father in southern italy and compose some songs in this style, too.... i was reading, that canadian disco of the early 80s was something like italo-disco, too.. but i'm thinking, that canadian disco was more of a kind like hi-nrg, or what do you think? some people may did compared this two disco-styles..when you're talking about the cornerstones of house music, think about alexander robotnick, who released problemes d'amour in 1983 and other great tunes aaaaand l'ectric workers - robot is systematic (1982) .. many greetings from germany - hope, you'll have a great time there in chicago..


  15. Man you are GOOD! Italo Disco! New Beat! Synth Pop! UK and Belgium Rave...! I live by all this stuff. You've basically condensed a big part of my vinyl collection with these mixes. Would love to hear a mixtape of some '81/'82 stuff. Survival Records, Mute Records, mixed up with some Factory, Fast etc! Don't know hoe you get the time but I want you to know these mixes are SO appreciated. Thanks for making my day! - Steve

  16. thanks for this.

  17. I love your mixes! This is probably a silly question, but would there be a way to include minute:second info next to your track listening so we can tell who's who and what's what without counting the songs up from the beginning?

  18. thanks! it's possible, but i am too lazy to ever get something like that done I think :/

  19. Hey, great mix! this track

    'The Passengers; I'll Be Standing Beside You (Chrissy Murderbot Re-Edit)'

    is your edit right? would there be anyway to get my hands on it, like a link or similar? Cheerss

  20. hit me with an email and i'll hook you up :)
    chrissy at murderbot dot com

  21. Thank you very much for your nice Italo Mix.
    Loving Italo disco from '86 till now. Nice selection of not 'mainstream' Italo records.
    I'm from Holland and so is this very good Italo Mix:

  22. Thank you very much for this great mix. It's nice it contains a few not 'mainstream' records. I'm from Holland and Italo addict from '86 but collect all! Here you can find a nice Italo mix made in Holland: