Joey Negro

Italo House

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Italo house wasn't nearly as prone to fanciful flights as earlier Italo disco. While Italo disco, specifically during its 1982-1983 prime, involved amazingly cartoonish (but supremely produced) tracks such as Gaznevada's "Special Agent Man" and Doctor's Cat's "Feel the Drive," Italo house was less distinguishable, significantly more tasteful, and therefore more likely to be confused with contemporary output from U.S. and U.K. producers. Italo House, compiled (not mixed) by Joey Negro, focuses on singles released from 1989 through 1994. Like Negro's anthologies of disco, boogie, and Brit funk, this avoids the obvious selections -- in this case, Italian-produced hits like Black Box's "Ride on Time" and even Sueño Latino's "Sueño Latino" -- in favor of relatively obscure, less recognized cuts that are nonetheless high-quality. The tracks lean toward the deeper end of house; they're emotive, nuanced, and musical, sometimes laced with disco and jazz-funk samples, rather than raw and jacking. Among the standouts are Don Carlos' "Alone [Paradise Version]," Jestofunk's "I'm Gonna Love You [Club Mix]," Montego Bay's "Everything [S-Tone Mix]," Soft House Company's "What You Need," and Arkanoid's "Alpha Centuri" -- all uplifting, yet with distinctive qualities. While these tracks can instantly transport those who were there, and trigger memories of the era, they've held up remarkably well. Another major drawing point is Negro's conversational, musicologist-level liner-notes essay. His recollection of the era in which these tracks were released is neatly summarized with "Though the tracks usually got a good crowd reaction, you'd sometimes get the impression no one actually knew them."

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