Club Homage, out on the 29th April, follows on from Somerville’s (yes, he of Bronski Beat and The Communards fame) disco album of last year called “Homage”. Now I’m a bit of a sucker for disco and love some of the people who are involved in remixing some of the tracks from Homage for Club Homage – TomMoulton, Felix Gauder, Robbie Leslie, John Winfield and Sebus & Larzo – so was well pleased when this CD (in limited, black vinyl effect) landed on my desk.
Club Homage opens with Travesty (Extended Mix) and it sets the scene perfectly – hedonistic Studio 54 70’s disco with fabulous four to the floor beat, relentless bass line, strings and a soaring falsetto vocal that could only be Jimmy Somerville…there’s even a bit of syndrum in there for good effect. This, the extended version breaks into a conga, clavinet (I think) and bass driven segue before getting back to the main track. It’s proper arms in the air, hot and sweaty dancefloor music from an era that shaped a lot of the house and garage music that came later.
Next up is the Tom Moulton Mix of Strong Enough and the theme continues. You may not know the name but Moulton was responsible for some of the truly great disco mixes of the 70s. He’s the one that did the non-stop mix on Gloria Gaynor’s record “Never Can Say Goodbye”, The Trammps “Disco Inferno” and, a personal favourite of mine, First Choice’s “Doctor Love”. Again this is pure unadulterated disco of the highest order, this time with choppy guitar taking the lead.
Overload (Felix Gauder Remix) is up next and this takes on a much more tech-disco feel. The kick is still four to the floor and there’s the necessary arms in the air drops that get the hairs on the back of your neck standing up before the tune comes back. This tune is mixed much more for the modern dancefloor and has a touch of the Dedmau5s about it. Yep, this is one for the younger, EDM (I hate that term) crew and is a tune I’d have definitely dropped all those years ago…I can definitely see this being a huge hit with the current crop of dance-heads.
Back To Me (Extended) is up next and is back to the straight up disco, though slightly “downtempo”, with a somewhat subdued and plaintive vocal track. It has all the prerequisites of disco and is the perfect track for a hot summer day’s outside dancethon… glass of something cold in one hand, the other in the air and mingling with the crowd. Great stuff!
Next up is the Robbie Leslie mix of Travesty chalking up an impressive eleven minutes and eleven seconds. Again, like Tom Moulton, Leslie is a bit of a legend and one of the first international DJs and this mix is fantastic. Clearly a life behind the decks has left its mark and this is a DJ that truly understands the dancefloor and what makes a crowd move as the tune manages to keep the beat pounding along and yet ebb and flow at the same time. Again a fabulous tune.
There’s an extended mix of the original Travesty mix and then Some Wonder, another classic disco tune that is sure to have your fingers snapping. Lights Are Shining is perhaps, to my mind the weakest tune on this record but the penultimate track Strong Enough (John Winfield mix) which has funky guitar chops, four to the floor drums and an absolutely brilliant filtered bass more than makes up for it. This is disco brought up to date with a cool funky strut but without losing the music’s original soul and I love it.
The final track on Club Homage is the Sebus and Larzo remix of Travesty and it’s a very modern and cool interpretation of the track. Brooding bass synths drone, filtered stabs float about all over the place and there’s a definite feel of Daft Punk here with vocoded vocals…and that’s no bad thing in anybody’s books I’d suggest. A fine fitting end to a very fine record indeed.