Various Artists

Disco Nights, Vol. 3: The Best of EuroDisco

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It's commonly accepted wisdom that late-'70s disco is directly responsible for the electronic dance music of the decades that came later. While this is true, it's an overgeneralization: It's the variant belatedly dubbed Euro-disco that's got its DNA all over techno and house. See, when most people think of disco, they think of the Bee Gees, or maybe Chic, or possibly Donna Summer. The difference between the artists is that the Bee Gees and Chic used real musicians, and rather a lot of them, for their records. Summer, on the other hand, was the queen of Euro-disco, which was primarily -- and at times entirely -- electronic. Taking direct inspiration from Krautrock pioneers like Kraftwerk and Neu!, German producer Giorgio Moroder invented Euro-disco with Summer's early singles, on which her gospel-trained voice was married to a pulsing synthesizer line and tick-tock percussion, with the standard disco tropes of the time (wah-wah guitar, electric piano, etc.) present but pushed into the background. Moroder and Summer's pioneering "Love to Love You Baby" is included here, and it's really the birth of Euro-disco. The other 11 tracks refine and extend the basic concepts of "Love to Love You Baby," either reducing the guitar and piano to occasional accents or, more often, eliminating them entirely. Most of these tracks, like Cerrone's freaky science-out-of-control riff, "Supernature," are completely electronic. Many, like Meco's "Star Wars/Cantina Band," were considered novelties at the time but, listened to in retrospect, they sound like harbingers of the synth pop, Detroit techno, and deep house worlds to come. As usual with the Disco Nights series, most of these songs are the difficult-to-find extended 12" mixes. "Love to Love You Baby," however, is the standard five-minute-and-45-second extended mix, not the legendary 18-minute track.

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