Friday, 18 May 2012

Progressive Sounds...

One subject I don't believe I've ever really spoken about on this blog (in part, for obvious reasons considering the dominant theme) is my long-standing deep love of music, and I was saddened to hear of the passing of disco diva, Donna Summer, whom died from cancer yesterday aged just 63.

By some coincidence, in recent weeks I'd revisited the track to which she is perhaps best know, 'I Feel Love', and it is currently part of my playlist when I go out for a run (the full 12" version). I'd caught one of those brilliant late night BBC 4 documentaries recently on the conceptual stages of the disco scene in NYC and that track featured heavily. It is commonly accepted as the first mainstream disco tune and it has not aged one bit in the 35 years since it was made. If it was re-released today, it would stand up magnificently against the endless pop drivel churned out by men more interested in money than product.

I will always retain fond memories of that particular song as my Dad, who was no great music fan, absolutely loved that tune and it was played in our house quite regularly in the early 80's. I can remember him breaking into song when it came on the radio in the car once and me staring at him from the back seat: listening to the beat intently, mesmerised. Of course, as you get a bit older you begin to recognise how those brief moments in your life may well have influenced and shaped you.

The thing with I Feel Love is that relentless electronic beat, which was created by the Italian music producer, Giorgio Moroder, and was the progressive sound of a brand new music form. It is without question he would have been heavily influenced by the German band Kraftwerk (of whom I was to discover some years after), who themselves were breaking boundaries with their own electronic style of music, but he and Summer was taking that sound in a totally different direction. 

Looking back, I was clearly fascinated by it. This wasn't about the disco one bit: it was just recognising alternative music forms and appreciating different sounds.

By the mid-80's I'd got heavily into hip hop, which was another brand new music form of the day, before dropping back in timelines to a rather hazy period of Pink Floyd and Zepplin. From there, I've embraced every genre of music from every corner of the globe, from latin jazz, traditional African music or Scandinavian folk.    

In many ways, Donna Summer has a lot to answer for! RIP.

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