Music

DJ Spinna: The Boogie Back: Post Disco Club Jams

Crate diggers and older heads will want to pick up this compilation that will likely fall on the deaf ears of the younger generation.


DJ Spinna

The Boogie Back

Subtitle: Post Disco Club Jams
Label: BBE
US Release Date: 2009-12-15
UK Release Date: 2009-12-14
Amazon
iTunes

For all its gaudiness and outright ridiculousness, disco, if nothing else, at least helped pave the way for hip-hop. It wasn't the sole genre to do so, as everything from funk to punk helped give birth to one of music's youngest genres. However, disco has inspired so many DJs and producers that it has earned the right to be more than just an afterthought filled with coke and absurd outfits. Shedding light on a subgenre of disco is acclaimed DJ/producer DJ Spinna, who put out the slept-on Sonic Smash in 2009, among other projects over the past 15 years.

Spinna hooked up with BBE to release the aptly titled The Boogie Back: Post Disco Club Jams. He dives into his mix with 16 cuts from the "boogie music" era that fell between the more stereotypical '70s disco and the rave-ready electronica of the '90s. Other names for boogie music include post-disco and electro funk, the latter of which hip-hop is strongly rooted in. True heads will know that hip-hop began with, of course, two turntables and a microphone. A DJ obviously took control of the ones-and-twos while an MC controlled the mike. And he or she would "rap", or shout a few bars here and there, to keep the dancefloor jam-packed. That primitive MC would, of course, later develop into the traditional, full-fledged rappers we all know today.

But a hip-hop history lesson this is not. It is important to understand, though, where the genre came from to fully appreciate a compilation like DJ Spinna's. And for that reason, it is inherently bound to fall on deaf ears. For comparison's sake, the same went for Kon & Amir's Off Track, Vol. 2: Queens, which was also released on BBE. But Kon & Amir's project went beyond disco by offering rare tracks from African artists who likely never got their deserved play in the States. As such, the second volume of Off Track delivered in an area Spinna's album cannot by providing something fresh and different.

Older hip-hop fans will no doubt be drawn to this, if for no other reason than to re-live the disco era. The crate-diggers will want to pick this up, too, if only to grab the second disc that features 12 unmixed tracks that are otherwise nearly impossible to find on wax, CD, or even digitally. Similarly, hip-hop producers should at least give this compilation a look to check if anything on here would lend itself to sampling. A wise choice, after clearing it first, would be War's "The World Is a Ghetto (Special U.S. Disco Mix)", which features some fantastic horn stabs and wild solos, particularly on the keyboards, towards the end. South Bronx's "The Bottom Line" is another fine selection, especially because it's entirely instrumental, so you won't have to deal with any pesky vocals. Those tracks are also instant standouts on here. They ditch the kitsch heard on others like Chemise's sweaty "She Can't Love You" and Masurrati and Huey Harris's cheesy "Super Duper Lovin, Don't Stop".

The focal point of The Boogie Back, though, is absolutely the music compiled by Spinna. He expertly blends 16 tracks, both instrumental and vocal, and makes this into a nonstop dance mix. What that means is the cuts transition seamlessly into one another. And while he certainly deserves credit for his mixing skills, most disco beats were almost exactly the same on every song. We're talking gently struck hi-hats, the occasional open-hi-hat, handclap snares, and a throbbing bass drum; all at the same tempo. But, hey, that's what disco was built on, so it's a take-it-or-leave-it element of the music. And no matter the drums or tempo, Spinna flexes his creative muscles to keep the party going from one track to the next.

6

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

If space is time—and space is literally time in the comics form—the world of the novel is a temporal cage. Manuele Fior pushes at the formal qualities of that cage to tell his story.

Manuele Fior's 5,000 Km Per Second was originally published in 2009 and, after winning the Angouléme and Lucca comics festivals awards in 2010 and 2011, was translated and published in English for the first time in 2016. As suggested by its title, the graphic novel explores the effects of distance across continents and decades. Its love triangle begins when the teenaged Piero and his best friend Nicola ogle Lucia as she moves into an apartment across the street and concludes 20 estranged years later on that same street. The intervening years include multiple heartbreaks and the one second phone delay Lucia in Norway and Piero in Egypt experience as they speak while 5,000 kilometers apart.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Featuring a shining collaboration with Terry Riley, the Del Sol String Quartet have produced an excellent new music recording during their 25 years as an ensemble.

Dark Queen Mantra, both the composition and the album itself, represent a collaboration between the Del Sol String Quartet and legendary composer Terry Riley. Now in their 25th year, Del Sol have consistently championed modern music through their extensive recordings (11 to date), community and educational outreach efforts, and performances stretching from concert halls and the Library of Congress to San Francisco dance clubs. Riley, a defining figure of minimalist music, has continually infused his compositions with elements of jazz and traditional Indian elements such as raga melodies and rhythms. Featuring two contributions from Riley, as well as one from former Riley collaborator Stefano Scodanibbio, Dark Queen Mantra continues Del Sol's objective of exploring new avenues for the string quartet format.

Keep reading... Show less
9
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image