Various Artists - Horse Meat Disco

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

'Ribs 303 Phone Message', which opens disc one of this compilation, tells you everything you need to know about Horse Meat Disco, the Vauxhall clubnight which has gained much attention over the last couple of years thanks to an anything goes atmosphere and uber-hip guest DJs like LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy. Over a brief phone message, a guy with a thick Geordie accent called Craig relates a hallucination he's just had of a talking glass unicorn descending onto the HMD dancefloor and taking him off for a ride above London. As his tale gets ever stranger, the glittering intro to Karen Young's 'Deetour (Party Mix)' fades in, the perfect invitation to a disco-fabulous odyssey.

Comprising two discs of the same tracks, one mixed, one not, this compilation does a good job of introducing the uninitiated to HMD's modus operandi: obscure or forgotten disco gems, mostly free from the cheesy pop hooks which came to dominate and discredit the genre (especially in Europe), all of them giving primacy to the booty-shaking, mind-freeing glory of The Groove. Some are closer to gritty 70s funk, such as Eddie Drennon's incendiary 'Disco Jam' or Empire Projecting Penny's James Brown-quoting 'Freakman', while others wallow in 80s slickness and studio slight-of-hand, Paradise Garage legend Larry Levan's spectral instrumental dub mix of Smokey Robinson's 'And I Don't Love You' being the best example.

Everything here sidesteps naffness and probably constitutes a disco connoisseur's wet dream. Thankfully, there's absolutely nothing here which could turn up on a compilation entitled Now That's What I Call Screechy Tacky Hen Night Music, should such an abomination ever exist. There's also plenty that still sounds vital and edgy enough to highlight the links between the disco of 70s New York and the new wave, no wave and hip hop that emerged from the that city during the same era.

Best tracks: 'Deetour (Party Mix)' - Karen Young, 'Disco Jam' - Eddie Drennon, 'Freakman' - Empire Projecting Penny

Richard Morris

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