Various Artists

Italian dance music old and new

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The early ’80s were a golden period for Italian pop, during which the Italo-disco style of romantic, melodic dance music flourished. Cheap to produce using basic synths, this song-based forerunner to house and techno shaped the sound of British acts like The Pet Shop Boys and Erasure, though it never really took off here. Now, due to a spate of reissues, Italo-disco is seeing a renaissance. Bolognese label Irma’s I-Robots selects a dozen highly collectable dub and instrumental mixes of cult hits by Steel Mind, Kano, Alexander Robotnick, Sun-La-Shan and Klein & MBO. It’s all marvellously melancholic stuff, but the original vocal mixes are better. Less successful is Electa, Irma’s pick of new Italian artists. With the exception of exotic fare from Rome’s Francisco and Analog Fingerprints, this mediocre breakbeat-led techno misrepresents Italy’s exciting electronics scene.

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