DANCE REACTION - "Disco Train"
"Margherita" / "World Invaders"
Record label: Environ
Format: 12"
Release dates: 9 June 2003 (Dance Reaction)
16 June 2003 (Margheritas/Pluton and The Humanoids)

Environ Records - home to acts like Metro Area, Daniel Wang, and Kelley Polar Quartet - recently introduced a new series of singles entitled Unclassics. This series is dedicated to dusting off obscure disco and electro platters, giving them some much-needed exposure and challenging dance floors worldwide. If you've ever heard Metro Area's DJ sets, then you're quite familiar with their blend of '80s classics and rarities. The first two Unclassics releases would sound right at home nestled within their playlist.

Dance Reaction's "Disco Train" first saw the light of day in 1980. It's a synthesizer-driven mishmash of boogie bass, handclaps, and vocodered vocals. Admittedly awkward, but you can't help smiling just the same, especially by the time the background vocalists start encouraging you to get on board the disco train. If the original mix is too busy for you, Morgan Geist's Caboose Mix should provide the remedy. Geist's remix removes most of the elements, concentrating solely on the bass line, percussion, and these crazy vocals.

Disc number two delivers a pair from 1980. Italy's Margheritas caused a sensation with the vocal version of "Margherita," but this 12-inch boasts the instrumental. It includes a brilliant hook which has been sampled often as well as cascading keys and a horn section. I'm still trying to figure out why disco from Italy is so damned catchy. Apparently, it's also timeless: "Margherita" has that retro dance sound that many producers are trying to replicate now. Keep in mind that this song was first released 23 years ago! The B-side features some fun electro from Pluton and The Humanoids. "World Invaders" is undeniably charming, with its heavy-handed use of vocoder tactics and some nice percussion accents to fill in the rhythm gaps. It's one of those songs that you'll end up dancing to in spite of yourself...and you won't mind one bit once it's all over. I'd say the Unclassics series is off to a great start. Can't wait to hear what the Environ label digs up next.

{cali ginseng}

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