FRIENDLY FIRES

Having caused a stir with their limited edition 10" debut 'Photobooth EP' in late 2006, young NME favourites Friendly Fires continued their funk fuelled attack on the nations' clued up dancefloors with the 'Cross the Line EP’ in spring 2007, before finally fleeing the nest and  going on to bigger and, erm, probably better, things.

www.myspace.com/friendlyfires

"Friendly Fires are so good that it's difficult not to give the impression of typical music-journo hyperbolic frothing when writing about them. But, truly, they might be the most exciting band in the UK right now. A-side 'Strobe' is straight-up gorgeous, a paean to love and reunion on the dancefloor thatshimmers like the melancholic techno of Kompakt, with a chorus that'll break your heart like the Junior Boys. At the heart of all the unfailingly lovely textures – a dappled mirrorball haze of post-rave afterglows- is just a wonderful, uncomplicated pop song. The B-side, 'On Board', has Friendly Fires back in their livelier mode as they take to the dancefloor with irresistible and unashamed punk-funk exuberance, trading soul vocals on a chorus that you'll be carrying around with you for days. Then they freak out with some scorched-earth 'Remain In Light'-esque guitars and you're blown away for the second time in as many minutes. EPs really don't come much better than this." - SIMON HAMPSON- FACT MAGAZINE


PLUGS

When he’s not been looning about front of stage fulfilling guitar and vocals duties for Does It Offend You Yeah, or playing

with ex Test Icicles bod Rory in Rattatag, Morgan Quaintance has spent the last 12 months with fellow St Albanites Dave Chin and Boomer Opperman dreaming up Plugs, a three headed,post-rave , afro influenced groove monster, capable of mutating from the infectious , skewed funk of ‘That Number’ to the taut, angular post punk of ‘She’s Unique ‘ in the blink of an eye, before casually veering off into the thumb piano-driven left field pop of ‘Transatlantic Air Miles ‘ .

With a mammoth Does If Offend You tour about to end, a 12” package imminent on People In the Sky that includes a mix from hot young Parisienne YukseK, and a splendidly psychedelic video from Japanese whizz kid Shimpei Okumura in the offing, the rest of 2007 is Plugs time for Morgan Q and the boys ; long may it last .

www.myspace.com/plugsmusic

WAX STAG

Having lost his internship at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop's regional training centre during Christmas 1983, after an unspecified incident involving a Minimoog, a bottle of egg nog and a visiting Evel Knievel impersonator, Rob Lee aka Wax Stag found himself scoring the music for the Wolverhampton Rep. Mime Theatre’s 1985 production of 'Van Der Valk', an experimental interpretation of the Dutch cop series to be staged in Birmingham's Bull Ring, on ice.

Alas, problems with the local council due to excessive nudity and allegedly inappropriate use of large cheeses meant the mainly improvised production never actually made it to the stage, and the 2” tapes containing Mr Lee’s score spent the next 20 years buried beneath a mound of polystyrene mini windmills in a lock-up in Didsbury.

People In The Sky came across the tapes after a bailiff acquaintance of ours cleared the lock-up, and we managed to track down Mr Lee to a male tanning and grooming salon in St Albans, Hertfordshire. His leathery face wore a mixture of confusion and apprehension when we first approached him, but we broke the ice with a special offer 'Three-way full body St Tropez', and he soon seemed happy at the prospect of his lost works finally surfacing.


www.myspace.com/waxstag


GHOSTAPE


It's been kind of complicated dealing with Swiss producer Gabs, AKA Ghostape, over the last year or so. He speaks about three languages, we speak at least, uh, one, it’s just that none of them were shared tongues. So we'd send him an e-mail asking where the masters were or something and he'd be like, "Thanks, yes, it's great. Let's do it. Whooooop - Gabs ;-)".

And so another few months would drift by and not much would happen. But eventually things started to fall into place. 'After After' got finished, with it's motorik rhythm and electronic bass pulse throbbing away under Gab's picking guitars, mad yelps and shamanic whispers.

'Many Stars' started to shine. Its’ simple, haunting song and longing chords given some electronic fizz by Gabs and his friend Plastic Du Ręve. 'Allez Allez' turned up: an alt. disco slow burner that emerged from a collaboration with Danish producer Screen Tests, and rightly lead track here.

The Marco Tulio Thrash mix of 'Many Stars' came late, opening up with a trippy organ riff and a sparse machine rhythm, before slowly morphing into something that sounds like Adonis trapped in a lift with Metro Area, whilst Martin Hannett pushed the buttons. The STE mix of ‘Many Stars’ came last and was big and broken beat and glitchy and widescreen.

We've seen pictures of Ghostape’s one man live show with Gabs clutching a mike, surrounded by boxes and wires. And the photos look how Ghostape sounds to us: otherworldly and electronic, but also organic and very real. We'd like to make an album with him. But with our inter-communicational skills as they are, it could take some time.

www.myspace.com/iamghostape

BEPPE LODA


History is always written by the victors, and when it came to the disco wars on the Italo frontline of the late 70's / 80's, it was the purveyors of dodgy hi energy and soulless pop who came out on top, with the early 90's excesses of Stock, Aitken and Waterman the final, life sapping embodiment of the death of Moroder and co's original machine funk dreams.

But with the real history of Italo disco slowly emerging in the last decade, as restless young heads dig ever deeper into the vaults, forgotten heroes such as Danielle Baldelli and Beppe Loda have finally started getting the attention they long deserved.

Their shared love of everything from Afro Rhythms to the European avantgarde is now recognised as the original, multicultural, polyrhythmic foundation upon which Italo disco was built, before the relentless plasticization set in.

Having begun DJing in Brescia aged 16, Loda was resident at Gambara's soon to be legendary Typhoon club from 1980 until the club closed in the same year as the Paradise Garage, a year before acid house kicked off in 1987.

Over the last few years, Beppe's name has walked out of the history books and back into nightclubs and record collections as Scandinavian nu disco playas in particular started paying respect, with his DJs sets and "Typhoon Edits" series popping up all over the European underground and beyond.

People in The Sky licensed two of Beppe's 1984 productions, Egotrya's 'Volcano / Wind last year, both widescreen, synth driven, drama - filled workouts that come from some past future, best heard booming out of a souped up Delorean.

We got Irish deep space explorer John Daly to take up the controls for a reworking , and got back a sublime slab of rolling, cosmic dub disco.

To round the package off, Belgian duo Revolving Eyes have upped the tempo with a driving Italo bassline and long intro, not necessarily in that order, but a nice compliment to Daly's slo mo grooves.

For anyone interested in where all this came from, you can download a 1985 'live from Typhoon 'mix of Loda's from our Exploding Art blog.

Love, Peace and Disco, People in the Sky



www.myspace.com/beppeloda