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Fred Ventura - Disco Modernism


Federico Di Bonaventura must have relished the rebirth of Italodisco via the emergence of the Cybernetic Broadcasting System and Ferenc van der Sluijs with some glee. Here was a forgotten Italian popstar who felt he had something to give after a short-lived career that had started after Italodisco’s golden period of 1983 and dwindled out in 1989.

To be fair, Ventura’s talents aren’t particularly outstanding, but he has a charisma and a certain dramatic edge to his voice that inflect the various productions on this record. “Disco Modernism” is a collection of old and new tracks, and it’s packed with some real disco nuggets. Strongest of all are his collaborations with Alden Tyrell, who despite using a limited palette of sounds, has the knack of churning out simplistic yet catchy melodies beefed up with thumping production that give Ventura’s vocals a melancholy effect. “Memories” and “When I Let You Down” are windswept glitterball Disco anthems that are up there with killer Italo cuts from the past. There’s also the outstanding vocoder-heavy pop of the Parallalax Corporation’s “City of Destiny” that gets a Ventura vocal makeover, and Jupiter Black’s “Hold Me”, which is 4 minutes of glorious synthpop complete with a remarkably catchy chorus, and for me the strongest track on the album.

Of his older tracks, only the mercurial “Body Heat” (written by Fockewulf 190) really stands up after so long, as his works under his Flexx guise lack a certain sophistication. Given the relative paucity of quality in his earlier career, Ventura’s rebirth is something of a chimera, but that shouldn’t overshadow the quality of most of the material on here, as his Dutch collaborators are willing to play the shadowy producer to his showman act.

Toby Frith

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