A few weeks ago I came across a new genre title in electronic music: Cosmic Disco.
“Thirty years ago, club culture was all about disco. In 2009, an offshoot of the genre is spiking in popularity. This is “cosmic disco”, a slower, more eclectic style of music named after a cult Italian nightclub, called Cosmic, which was open from 1979 to 1984. The DJs who pioneered it – among them Daniele Baldelli, Beppe Loda and Claudio “Mozart” Rispoli – played whatever took their fancy, mixing up melodies from soundtracks, Krautrock, funk, reggae, African pop, electronic and modern classical records over a disco beat. And they did so however it took their fancy, often deliberately playing records at the wrong speed. In the 1980s, the cosmic style barely left Italy, but today it is growing in popularity in both gay and straight clubs in Britain, inspiring new DJs here and abroad, and producing a wealth of compilation albums and mixes.”
Prior to reading this article, in the Guardian of all places, I always used the term to refer to the spacier sounds of Italo disco and the tech-ier side of old-school funk.
Listen carefully and you’ll hear the origins of late 90’s and early 00’s electro-house….looped bars of sped up italo disco. 🙂
However, like anything that starts to attract mainstream attention, Cosmic has its haters:
“[It’s] An empty euphemistic world in which middle-of-the-road pop and synthesizer tracks are forcefully put in a corner called cosmic…One of the most important things for a cosmic DJ is to be respected. How do they get respect? By playing the most obscure records that nobody else has. It doesn’t matter if those records suck or if they are mundaine boring tracks as long as they can pretend to be mysterious and all “deep” its happening for them, and that is mostly in their own egocentric minds because nobody gives a fuck.
A cosmic DJ’s record collection probably first starts digging local recordstores. But most of you dumbfuck cosmic DJ’s don’t live in wordly places; so after 3 copies of Allan Parsons project Mammagamma (which you probably think is a rare record) and that Chris Rea instrumental dub version you are running on empty.”
To be fair, I’ve yet to witness a proper Cosmic DJ set…thinking back on it, DJ Cryo of Syntonics has dabbled a bit in Italo and the old Cybernetic Broadcasting System (RIP) radio introduced me to the sounds of the genre. Myself, I enjoy Italo and the nu-Italo sounds of Legowelt, Kris Menace, Moulinex, and I-F… But I haven’t seen anyone in T.O. billed as a Cosmic DJ. Although perhaps some of Toronto DJ Andrew Allsgood’s sets kind of fit the mould:
The keepers of the cosmic torch: http://www.cosmicdisco.co.uk/