Like a very slow-moving carousel, music styles inevitably come around again for their moment under the big top. You’d have to have your head stuck in the sand not to notice that disco has been resurgent in the underground club scene for years. While Madonna’s been mining it in her one-woman recycling effort for some time now, she’s barely scratched the surface of the genre. The year 2010 may be the one in which disco completes its takeover of the indie scene and becomes a reference point in the mainstream, too.
When labels like Azuli—which specializes in Ibiza- and South Beach–worthy compilations of sun-scorched, stylized club anthems—gets in on the act, the trickle is about to turn into a flood. Future Disco is the culmination of two encouraging trends—post-punk and post-rock bands with an affinity for dance getting remixed, and remixers adopting disco as their template rather than techno or house. Metallic rockers the Panthers are remixed by DFA’s Holy Ghost! into moody boogie boys, Friendly Fires are transformed into a Parisian house act by Aero Plane, and the indie dance demigods Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve morph Franz Ferdinand’s nervy electro into a West End club anthem.
This take on nu disco bears very little resemblance to the original version—if anything, it sounds like Italo disco without the silly lyrics. One could say this comp is alternative house—if ’90s house producers hadn’t stripped all the dynamics and elements of song out of soulful music in a quest for ecstasy.
The punky but slightly easygoing Future Disco clears some space for nu disco’s oncoming and talented horde, but it hardly writes a manifesto for the genre. Records are unlikely to be burned this time around.