A 10 Track Guide To The Funky World Of Old-School Disco Re-Edit Services

Posted: June 28th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Features | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

The DJs of the disco era not only struggled with belt-driven turntables, they also had to cope with live drumming and music arrangements that distracted their crowds. So some of them took scissors and tape and did their own edits. And some were so good at it that they earned a reputation and a studio career with it, and their edits or remixes became as popular as the music they were using, or even more. The first remix service label to gather and publish these efforts was Disconet, as early as 1977. Early remix service releases often contained medleys or little sets mixed by club DJs (foreshadowing the megamixes of the years to come), but more and more the remixes and edits became the centre of attention. In just a few years very many different remix service labels came into being, with different in-house remixers and musical agendas. The appeal of the idea began to fade when labels included their own assigned official remixes on their releases, and an increase in copyright issues in the 90s meant that most remix services went out of business. But even if the legal situation in the preceding years was quite unclear, the creative potential was not. From local to widely acclaimed DJs and from established to emerging studio talents a lot of people had their go at popular or obscure music and came up with lasting results, and they paved the way for the more modern and still thriving edit scene.

Abba – Lay All Your Love On Me (Peter Slaghuis Remix) (Buy This Record, 1981)

This is actually a remix of a Raul Rodriguez remix originally released on Disconet. Peter Slaghuis extended the weird start-stop-breaks to highly irritating three minutes before the song kicks in at last, like a hymn from the heavens descending onto a crash derby. The breaks continue to disrupt the song throughout the whole record, the loops are edited quite heavy-handedly, and the sound quality is really atrocious. Still this is a remarkable example of how radical an edit can be, and it was even more radical when it came out. And it still works a treat on the floor.

Edwin Hawkins Singers – Tomorrow (Steve Algozino Remix) (Hot Tracks, 1982)

Steve Algozino added synth and edited a four minute album track into a seven minute disco plea for a better tomorrow. For those who like to compare a good night out to a religious experience, including telling it from all mountain tops.

Viola Wills – Stormy Weather (John Sollas & Scotty Blackwell Remix) (Disconet, 1982)

Eleven minutes of drama and a whole lot of thunderous sound effects, of which the original version inexplicably had none. It is totally overdone, but it is also quite impressive too. And you might actually be soaking wet if you dance the whole thing through.

B.B. & Band – All Night Long (Will Crocker & Jack Cardinal Remix) (Disconet, 1982)

An excellent version of this heavily funked up italo disco sequencer boogie classic. The changes are mainly in length and structure, but they sure sound as if they were needed.

Stephanie Mills – Pilot Error (Hot Tracks, 1983)

The original version on the Casablanca label has a really superior pressing quality, but the wild flanger action on this more than makes up for that. It shoots a slightly eerie, but still earthbound boogie gem into outer space. Flight time also extended.

Lipps Inc. – Funkytown (Bob Viteritti Edit) (Hot Tracks, 1984)

An anthem at San Francisco‘s Trocadero Transfer club, edited by its very own resident DJ Bob Viteritti. The spacetastic additional synths are played by none other than the legendary Patrick Cowley, a regular at the club, and they open up a whole other universe.

Jimmy Ruffin – Hold On To My Love (Robbie Leslie Remix) (Disconet, 1984)

A sweet little Robin Gibb co-written soul mover, until New York City‘s Saint resident DJ Robbie Leslie decided to turn it into an anthem of epic proportions, particularly by riding the enormous refrain for five extra minutes. This was actually the last record the crowd ever danced to at the Saint‘s closing weekend, which really says a lot.

Mari Wilson – Let‘s Make This Last (Razormaid, 1984)

This track was an unusual release for the Compact Organization label‘s 60‘s beehive pop revivalist diva. But that the Razormaid remix team completely restructured and improved the original version was very usual for their standards, resulting in an even smarter take on Hi-NRG.

Roxy Music – Angel Eyes (Joseph Watt Remix) (Razormaid, 1984)

Needs more suspense in the first bit and inbetween, thought Razormaid, but they also added sophistication to the whole song. And bringing one of the best dressed style icons to the club surely was no mistake either.

Machine – There But For The Grace Of God (Glenn Cattanach Edit) (Hot Tracks, 1987)

This just neglects the piano intro, you may think, and instead uses a looped groove to ease into the song. It also extends the break, and adds an outro loop at the end. Well, this is not the only blueprint for the more recent editing of disco tracks for DJ convenience purposes, but it shows how you achieve better mixability while leaving all the greatness of the source material untouched. Even consider it a reminder.

Hard Corps – Lucky Charm (Razormaid, 1987)

A lot of Razormaid releases are easier to mix than the original versions, wrecking a lot of intros in the process. Then again Razormaid were always quite ambitious in terms of restructuring, and also quite subtle in adding their own trademark sound design without taking away anything that should not be taken away. And Razormaid have a cult following for a reason.

Big Ben Tribe – Heroes (Steve Bourasa Edit) (Rhythm Stick, 1990)

I always felt the dreamy italo disco take on the David Bowie classic was near perfect, but it should last longer, without risking this perfection. Thankfully I found this edit by Steve Bourasa, who apparently thought exactly the same, and he had the skills.

Dead Or Alive – Your Sweetness Is Your Weakness („Silver Bullet“ Mix by Peter Fenton) (Art Of Mix, 1991)

Dead Or Alive were actually really big in Japan. So big even that they released some of their music only in Japan, and some of their finest music too. Buying the original 12“ of this wonderful piano house romp will not come cheap, but do not worry, as there is this (still) affordable and fantastic version hidden on a 12“ on the Art Of Mix remix service, because they are not called remix services for nothing. The mix merges Dead Or Alive‘s „Son Of A Gun“ from 1986 with their Japanese market stormer, as if they were twins separated at birth.

P.M. Dawn – Set Adrift On Memory Bliss (Bradley Hinkle & Tim Robertson) (Ultimix, 1991)

P.M. Dawn did not win many hearts in the hip hop scene when they sampled a very popular blue-eyed soul ballad, and used the same seriously dope beat Eric B & Rakim on their seminal „Paid In Full“. Rakim and Prince Be are really hard to compare, I admit. This remix even only slightly alters the original. Well until there is a break and then the second half is Spandau Ballet‘s song in its entirety riding the very same seriously dope beat. Which is one of the greatest things ever.

Culture Club – Time (Clock Of The Heart) (Chris Cox Remix) (Hot Tracks, 1994)

I realized I am now old enough to accept that I will probably never find the vinyl with this remix for a price I can live with. So I might as well show it to anybody else. Culture Club‘s arguably finest moment, and in my humble opion one of the 80s finest pop moments as well, in a superlative remix that manages to double both length and listening pleasure. I would not change a second of it.

Electronic Beats 06/19



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