Sunday, 20 July 2008

Celso Valli

It's high time the world started giving this guy his dues. To my mind he's unquestionably one of the most vital contributors to both the Italo Disco genre specifically but Disco in general as well.

Probably his most commercially successful work was when he used to do the string arrangements for Jacques-Fred Petrus's Goody Music label (based in New York but run by Italian-Americans who introduced a fledgling Italo influence into the mainstream Disco sound), such as Macho's 'I'm A Man' or Revanche's 'Not Tonight'. This was all going on in those classic years 1978-80...

At the same time however, Celso Valli was busying himself producing and arranging such lesser known but equally mind-blowing Italo bombs as Azoto, Tantra, Passengers and Nuggets. The man was unstoppable it seems!!

Valli came from a string arrangement background and had studied various forms of world music at The Conservatory in the 1960s (hence the very clear Near-Eastern, Mediterranean and African influences that are apparent in most of his work). Unlike so many other of his contemporaries he didn't deal in filler either. All of his work (literally almost any track he had involvement in) in this time period is artistically distinctive, musically progressive and most importantly of all simply an incredible experience to listen and dance to.

I'd recommend:

Azoto - Disco Fizz LP

- maybe in fact the best Italo Disco LP ever made? if for any reason you don't already own this then change that situation now.

Tantra - The Double Album LP

- almost as good as the Azoto LP, this one really shows what a master of African music in particular Celso Valli was.

Lucrethia & The Azoto 14,008 - Dance Skinsation LP

- before the name change but same project as the more succinctly named Azoto. Weirder, but ethereally awesome. Check 'Sea Breeze' for some crazy disco-sea-shanty action!! (incredible breast-based sleeve art as well!!)

Nuggets - Proud Mary 12"

- straight disco style on this cover of the Creedence Clearwater Revival classic but utterly rocking throughout and guaranteed to crank any party up that vital extra notch!

Passengers - Hot Leather 12"

- more 70s rock influenced than his other productions but just as classic... if you like Baciotti's 'Black Jack' or Bob Salton's 'Starknight' then try this out for size.

As the American Disco market crashed and the Italo Disco sound was becoming more prevalent in Europe, Valli re-surfaced a few years later on Raf's classic 'Self Control', Atelier Folie's 'Fashion' and also Peter Richard's 'Walking In The Neon' (the latter two produced by the legendary Rago-Farina production team of 'Lectric Workers fame)...

Truly a genius of the Italo sound who deserves some serious recognition as one of the all-time greats.

No comments: