Ivan Smagghe

Death Disco

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Less than a year after How to Kill the DJ, Black Strobe's Ivan Smagghe comes back with another mixed set, this time for Belgium's Eskimo label. Eskimo has already produced a fair share of decent to wonderful mixes, with the Glimmer Twins responsible for most. Death Disco's scope isn't much different from that of How to Kill the DJ, basing itself around current electro-influenced left-field dance music and Italo-disco and obscure new wave that came before it. This pairing doesn't make it terribly unique, especially in the wake of the Glimmer Twins' Serie Noire discs and other scattered sets that have tied the '80s to the overabundant crop of producers and groups who have relied heavily on the advances made during that prior decade. However, Smagghe assembles a second successive set that ranks with the best in the category. With Black Strobe partner Arnaud Rebotini, Smagghe remixes Sweet Exorcist's early Warp classic "Test Four"; Nathan Wilkins and Midnight Mike modernize B.W.H.'s starbound Italo-disco "Stop," originally released in 1983; nearing the close, Superpitcher's shuffle mix of Quarks' "I Walk" adds a playful skip; and Tiga's edit of Drinking Electricity's machine-powered "Breakout" -- with guitars that are rustier than any used by Gang of Four or Crass -- acts as a spiked punctuation at the very end. Though these are all points of significance, the opening "Way Out," by House of Fix, takes the cake for bastardizing Wire's "I Am the Fly" into an eerie synth pop tune with a pronounced bassline and changed-up lyrics. The whole set is suitably paced, wonderfully selected, and very conducive to repeated play-throughs.

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