December 19, 2014

Black Devil - Disco Club, 1978

Black Devil's Disco Club falls in the heavily mythologized, mysteriously resurrected music-of-nebulous-origin category, in the vein of Lewis or Charanjit Singh. Purportedly released in 1978 by Bernard Fevre under pseudonym "Junior Claristidge" (cool), Disco Club went completely unnoticed--was the world not ready for deep, dark, sublime disco hypnosis?--until Aphex Twin rereleased it on Rephlex Records in a series of 12"s in 2004, to the sound of critics tripping over themselves to make sweeping statements about this being one of the most important electronic records ever released, et cetera. The music was so ahead of its time both in structure and in production that many cried foul, suspecting an Aphex-Twin style hoax. Fairly so: I'm still skeptical of the release date every time I hear it. It's too tasty, too prescient and too perfect.

All six of these tracks are similar in length and feeling, differing in a few BPM, shifting drum patterns, and vocal lines--but several of them move seamlessly between each other, making this a half hour disco meditation track rather than an album. You can hear "The Chase"-era Moroder all over this thing, but this is (dare I say it) less cheesy, slicker, and with a contagious, restless percussive spinal chord stretching throughout. So much dark Italo-style disco is trampled by heinous vocals, and gleefully so, but Disco Club's vocal treatment is restrained, effectively lyricless, and often totally absent, excepting a mantric chorus of skittering "dee-dee-doo-doo"s. Everything is exactly where it should be, fleshed out in high-resolution with heart-racing textures, laser-sharp synth pads, and thrilling percussive ornamentation. There's a huge, dark, beastly thing throbbing just beneath the surface that never quite rears its head. The tension is there, simmering, and in hopes of exorcising it all you can do is hit repeat again and again.

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1 comment:

  1. I had heard of this album recently and just stumbled onto your blog. There has since been a Black Devil Disco Club reissue ( ) and Bernard Fevre himself has come forth. The most fascinating part about the entire album is that, as far as I've been able to understand from his various interviews since the release of the reissue, this was all one take - no drum machines, no breaks, just one long synth-filled jam session with (presumably) a very tired drummer.