zondag 14 mei 2017

In Debt. Disco Inferno

Google the web and all hits on Disco Inferno will get you to the 70s disco hit of the vocal group The Trammps. So when I was sent a record by a band called Disco Inferno (of D.I.) I was mildly surprised. My amazement only grew when I read the bio. It gave me the impression that I was about to listen to a new Big Star. An overlooked band of geniuses from the early 90s that experimented with electronics in their music like has become so common years later.

When I put on the record I was surprised but not like Big Star once surprised me. I heard music like they played in the early 80s. The Cure, The Comsat Angels, that sort. Darkness all around, the bomb about to fall on us all and as little melody as music allows for. Joy in listening and playing music simply strictly forbidden. So that not only caught me by surprise, it set me off on the wrong foot as well.

Disco Inferno was a band formed in Essex in 1989 by four teenage lads, soon to be a trio. When Ian Crause bought himself a sampler, things changed in how the band approached music. All the sounds were sampled and reprocessed into the whole. A painstaking lot of hard work at the time, that in the end got little recognition, until bands much later started working the same way and started naming Disco Inferno as an influence. The band released three albums and a lot of EPs. That music was summarised into a compilation called In Debt which is now re-released through Rocket Girl Records.

So that was history for you. What to make of the music now? I can't get myself over the feeling that In Debt sounds horribly outdated. This has everything to do with the 80s doom and gloom feel that lies over all the songs. There's a darkness that just doesn't belong in this world any more. No matter how gloomy people are in 2017, at times, a lot of them are better off them 25-30 years ago. And they know it. The question whether this is a long-ignored masterpiece should be left to someone who really loves 80s music, which I did, and do, not.

So, is there nothing positive to write on In Debt? Yes, there is actually. For starters it is always a good things that music people truly believe in is made available for others to discover. What also attracts me to the album is the inventive rhythms Rob Whatley (drums) plays on several of the songs. Over that the bass of Paul Willmott plays all the right accents. This leads to fairly exciting songs like 'Set Sail'. The guitar style laid over the beat is light, yet extremely busy, like a waterfall full of cascades that ends in a Niagara.

Crause's voice suits the music. Dark, joyless, laying a near lifeless atmosphere over the music. I have a hard time enjoying this. Yet, the voice has the effect it intends to have. I'm not feeling really happy from listening to In Debt. Again I hit on a song that rocks out a bit more, 'Freethought' and find myself nodding my head. 'Freethought' is all but that. Attention went into the details of the song. The looped guitar sounds that keep coming back, around which nothing is withheld. Whatley going "Animal", guitars all over the place and the bass doing runs in the background.

Anyone who listens to the music will find details like this. In the dark soup of gloomy music gems are hidden to be discovered. With a few listening sessions I have discovered some. Disco Inferno was able to find sounds and pieces of music that add to the whole and never seemed to have been content with just the first or second set of ideas. It always managed to go beyond that and add to what was there initially. In that way I'm certainly glad to have been introduced to In Debt.

Would I have bought the record? No, for that this music is simply just past my taste in music. The 80s just don't belong in there. A pop element in the vocals is missing to really grab my attention. Having said that, In Debt is an album worth discovering for people who love this sort of music. Disco Inferno is no ordinary band. In that the bio is completely right. Go and discover, writes


You can listen to and buy In Debt here:


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