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Bottin - Horror Disco


I suspect that if one said to Monsignors Simonetti and Argento in 1979 that their unlikely collaboration of exploitative horror cinema and prog-rock inflected disco would spawn a genre in its own right within 2 decades, you’d have been laughed out of the Città. But 30 years on, there’s no doubt that the sleazy atmosphere of Goblin, so brilliantly reinvigorated by I-F on his Mixed up in the Hague series, plays a distinct role on today’s dancefloors. This album, a first for Venetian Guglielmo Bottin, doesn’t explore any new territory, but there’s a polished sheen to this that demands one’s attention. All the 14 tracks clock in between 5 and 6 minutes.

Initial listening finds Bottin not really hitting anything new, and indeed tracks like like “No Static” and “Disco for the Devil” fail to bring anything new to the table, just being well-constructed cosmic/balearic floorfillers, although in its defence the title track and opener has a melodic catchiness to it that has some crossover appeal. There’s just the right amount of 70’s disco funk to “Venezia Violenta” that veers this record somewhat too close to “slick” for my liking, but in his defence the album thankfully takes a more obscure direction halfway through, especially with the suspensful “Slashdance” which combines vocoder-vocals with a brooding malelovence that is darker in tone to matters beforehand. “Roger Bacon” is more Balearic in feel, and “Magnetic Cat” combines some feline keyboards with a more humorous approach that lifts the somewhat professional feel of the occasion. There’s time for a Hague-like groove at the end, “Endless Mother” taking its cue from the likes of Alden Tyrell and Danny Wolfers.

It feels strange to criticise then an album that celebrates something so specific and atomised at a musical level, because on the surface “Horror Disco” is an enjoyable dancefloor romp that occupies a specific niche. Yet Squadra Blanco’s “Night of the Illuminati” nailed this in 2001 and did so with an elan that immediately elevates it above material like this. This sort of slick disco doesn’t move on from the silky production of the 70’s and fails to add anything new to matters. It confirms to my ears that many of the nu-disco/cosmic/balearic producers that have emerged in the last 3 or 4 years are more concerned with the clarity and fidelity of their songs than making anything remotely new.

Toby Frith


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