Sunday, December 16, 2007

Disco Inferno, D.I. GO POP

Bar/None, 1994; reissued by One Little Indian, 2004; available

8 tracks, 33:26

This album is up there with Throbbing Gristle's 20 JAZZ FUNK GREATS and Pink Floyd's A COLLECTION OF GREAT DANCE SONGS for ironic titles! Following an okay debut album (that sounded too indebted to Joy Division to be notable; in fact, it was compiled with some early singles as IN DEBT!) and a few amazing singles, Disco Inferno's second LP quickly established the group as one of the most talented and unusual bands of the first post-rock wave. Don't let the post-rock designation throw you off; this sounds not a jot like the majority of bands that fall under that category today. The trio of Ian Crause, Paul Willmott, and Rob Whatley created a truly unique sound revolving around distorted guitar, pronounced bass, and (sometimes) steady drumming. But the samples are what really set them apart! Disco Inferno had a nifty setup where samples were triggered by the real instruments; this results in a glorious and unique wall of sound. The first track, "In Sharky Water", begins with a sample of running water; a loping bassline comes in, making a strange sort of ambience. All of a sudden, a raging guitar and pounding drumbeat comes in, and the song takes a turn for the punky. Crause's semi-declared/semi-sung vocals follow their own path, staying within the confines of the song but detached at the same time. This is followed by the short and psychedelic "New Clothes For The New World", which has a truly pleasant shimmering sound, interrupted occasionally by what appears to be a distorted horn. Next up is my favorite Disco Inferno track, "Starbound (All Burnt Out & Nowhere To Go)". This track is extraordinarily dense, giving even My Bloody Valentine a run for their money in the cram-as-much-in-while-still-keeping-it-quality aspect. Beginning with another strange shimmering sound (keyboard? treated guitar?) and the sounds of cameras flashing, another gorgeous and lazy bassline comes in, along with a truly unsettling vocal loop. The loop in question reminds me of chanting, but it's extremely processed, so the source is anyone's guess. Crause, whose lyrics were usually world-weary at their best (this was to change on the next LP, TECHNICOLOUR), is at his cynical peak, declaring "The world has spit down on me for far too long/I want to spit down on it back!" At least that's what it sounds like; Crause has a VERY thick accent which is even harder to comprehend in these dense musical surroundings. The track ends with the loop coming into focus (it might be a completely different sample; it's hard to tell with everything going on) and a phantasmal voice delaring "Nobody wants to die.... nobody wants to die...." Describing the remaining five tracks would ruin the surprises therein, but rest assured the entire album is truly high quality. I'm certain the name would repel many fans, but once you get past that and immerse yourself in the music, you'll question why this album wasn't in your collection sooner. D.I. GO POP deserves to be much better known than it is; too bad TECHNICOLOUR was a massive letdown.

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