Flexx record reviews (Ghecko and Klein & MBO)

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(07.13.08) Flexx came to life in 2005. The label, and record store, set out with a clear mission; re-issue lost records, from disco and italo to new wave and synth pop. Flexx, like Radius Records, went down the painstaking road of contacting artists from twenty plus years ago, contacting defunct labels from the 1980s, and getting these tracks officially re-released. Over the past few years Flexx have given back to the ears of electronic fans across the globe tracks such as Pineapples – Come Closer, Crazy Gang – Every Sunday and Peppermint Lounge – Perfect High. In 2007, Flexx began to release pieces by new artists such as the Beat Broker. As the Summer of 2008 dawns, Flexx return with some wonderfully rare pieces of italo disco: Ghecko – ‘Firelight’ and Klein & MBO – ‘Dirty Talk.’

First to hit the record shop shelves is Ghecko – Firelight. The record was originally released on the pioneering Milan based imprint Eyes way back in 1984. The catchy hooks, amazing lyrics and addictive synthesizer made the track a major hit amongst italo enthusiasts and the robots of the Cybernetic Broadcasting System. Sadly the record is nearly impossible to track down, fetching obscene prices on the likes of discogs and ebay. But now, those nice people of Flexx have given not only the two tracks of the original 1984 back, but a remix by the don of Italo Disco mixage: Flemming Dalum. Flemming Dalum became a firm favourite amongst Italo lovers after his victory in the Cybernetic Broadcasting System’s Megamix Contest a couple of years back, a mix followed by the acclaimed Amazing Run in the Tube series. Mr. Dalum recently put out two edit 12″s on Moustache records, but here on Flexx he is in full remix mode. Firelight is striped down, tweaked open and put back together by the Danish mixmaster. In stark contrast to most italo disco Dalum builds the track from quite minimal synthlines, building up the analogue melodies before injecting beats, breaks and his take on the original ’84 vocal to produce a floor pleasing and Dj friendly remix. On the flipside the Flexx time machine is at full pelt with pure original italo action. The vocal mix of “Firelight” is an amazingly catchy work of pianoesque synthesizer music, with lyrics that dig their way into the brain and a melody that will have feet tapping and mouths whistling. For those who want pure synth action, the instrumental follows the vocal; in true 1980 Milano styloo.

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Second up for Flexx is Klein & MBO’s Dirty Talk. Dirty Talk is one of the pioneering records of the italo movement. The track does not fit into the italo genre that easly, having a minimal early electro disco sound. Klein & MBO were the legendary team of Tony Carrasco and Mario Boncaldo. Carasco and Boncaldo both went on to produce some of the Italo Disco tracks of the sound, but they helped add some nitro into the movement’s engines with “Dirty Talk.” The track is re-issued here in its original vocal version, quite the rarity, and an instrumental; not to forget an edit by the great Greg Wison. Greg Wilson is of the Dj league that not only spun some of the finest tracks in the 1980s, but opened up new sounds and techniques to a host of young musicians that helped shape and inspire the burgeoning electronic scene. For Flexx Wilson serves up an extended and mix friendly take on “Dirty Talk,” doing away with the vocals and focusing on that early reverberating synthesizer sound. The B-Side transports the listener back some 25 years to the original album vocal version of “Dirty Talk.” The track has a sound that toes the line of disco, italo and house, a proto piece that helped create some of the genres of electronic music. The lyrics have that golden italo catchiness to them, whilst the melody is a repetitive analogue work with rumour having it that the track inspired New Order’s “Blue Monday.” The 12″ ends with the USA/European Connection Instrumental Mix, a DJ friendly work that pushes forward the synth chords of the original.

Flexx are continuing down their admirable road of repressing. Flexx are not just throwing out poor gummy sounding reprints, they are re-issuing tracks from a golden time with great sound quality whilst throwing a remix and edit into the ring. Ghecko and Klein & MBO are from a period when the synthesizer was the most exciting instrument to have been created in years, Flexx are giving that excitement and carefree feel back to today’s audience. These were not releases made for commercial gain, these were releases put out because by artists who loved that new synthesizer sound and elation of disco. Flexx are giving back a history that was lost for many years, a history rewritten by the angry mobs of the Disco Sucks movement and faded over by radio DJ’s. Flexx are opening the lost annals of italo and disco and sending out their vinyl pamphlets to the ears of a new electronic generation.

Both releases are out now on Flexx.

  • Flexx
  • Flemming Dalum / DJ Greg Wilson