Saturday, February 21, 2009

Global funk connections: Pino D'Angio & Menelik/ No Se

Mention the term "Italo-disco" and discerning music heads will probably cringe and start to back away slowly. But every genre has its good points, and Pino D'Angio's "Que Idea" is a classic. It may have some ridiculously silly backing vocals and a whiff of cheese about it, but it's still great, partly for D'Angio's sleazy quasi-rap vocals, but mostly because of the almighty groove. Borrowing liberally from McFadden & Whitehead's wondrous "Ain't No Stopping Us Now", its bouncy bassline is a monster lick.
The video is also worth watching just for D'Angio's super-sleazy, cigarette-toting coolness.

Many of you will recognise the groove in sampled form, from Madison Avenue's big dance hit "Don't Call Me Baby". But for what is in my opinion a better use of the same riff, check this French hip-hop track by Menelik and No Se. I've got a soft spot for French rap, and the retro cartoon video "Quelle Aventure" adds to the infectiousness for me.

(If my eyes and ears don't mislead me, the other sample in there is Bob James' "Sign of the Times", while the cartoon second half of the video references the famous cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Want You".)

Interesting the journey a groove can take. An Italian disco hit which rips off an black American disco hit, which is then sampled by French rappers, then later by an Australian outfit, becoming a worldwide smash in the process.

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