Casco: Cybernetic Love
BWH: Livin’ Up/Stop
Blackway With Helene (BWH): Music For Us
Decadance: On And On
‘Lectric Worker’s “Robot Is Systematic”/”The Garden”

Thirty two years too late (or too late to save anybody we lost and left behind), Italo Disco is big business, and you can tell by the number of rats and cockroaches rooting around in the morgue. Just when you can’t think any less of the vinyl houses, here’s one that will just warm your heart.

Ahead of a classy, legit reissue project of some of the best Italo records ever made by a label called Archivio Fonografico Moderno, the scum that populate the margins (or I’d like to think it’s just the margins) of the vinyl reissue market have rushed several bootlegs of the same records out the door.

These add nothing in the way of consumer choice – in fact, the knock-offs are actually more expensive than the genuine item. The plan, apparently, is to get the fakes to market first, capitalize on reviews like this one and fool a few people into blowing $25 for a counterfeit vinyl rip rather than wait a couple of months and get a genuine remastered record for a lower price (most, after currency conversion, range from $16 to $22).

It’s beyond me why record buyers would go along with this unless they don’t know better. Or why sellers wouldn’t wait a couple of months once they knew a better version was coming – a version which at least carries with it the radical notion that the original artist and/or writer will get paid for it.

Among Archivio’s 2014 releases are four from Stefano Zito, who I profiled four months ago in “House of Music“, an article about the rise and fall of probably the greatest Italo Disco label ever. Those include Mr. Master’s “A Dog In The Night”, “New Life/Follow Me” and probably the greatest overall Italo record for my money, “Livin’ Up/Stop”. The legit reissues also include gorgeous full color picture sleeves.

[Earlier:
House of Music: Stefano Zito and The Sudden Life & Death of the World’s Greatest Italo Label
Dance Music’s Forgotten Master: Stefano Pulga]

This alone would be noteworthy, but it only scratches the surface of Archivio’s output this year. Also of interest is what some consider the DNA ancestor of everything, ‘Lectric Worker’s “Robot Is Systematic” (on the flip is the lesser known but invincible “The Garden”) and Decadance, another project from Franco Rago and Gigi Farina of ‘Lectric Workers.

I’m not sure how far or how deep Archivio is going to go: there was a lot of junk Italo released back in the day, and so far the tracks released are all fairly well-known among Italo heads. Consolation: so far there isn’t one record here that isn’t wonderful.



  • Pete Rowbottom

    ‘Sleazy Bootleggers’ hmmm, like none of us ‘ever’ played Booty’s in the early 90’s! They used to fetch huge money in places like Vinyl Exchange in Manchester, I still own quite a few, why is it different now? Bootlegs were as much a part of the house music scene as the initial Blackburn raves and the ever hallowed Hacienda. The irony should not be lost that here, that these tracks have been released and then bootied again. Don’t revel in the glory of the past without appreciating what went with it. Ps I was never a bootlegger.

    • terrymatthew

      Pretty hard to argue it’s being done for the love of music when a cheaper, legit and overall better product is coming out a few months later.

      Edited: Not that you argued that, but there’s literally zero value here other than making a few bucks off confusing the consumer.

      • Pete Rowbottom

        Yeh I can see that, the one big difference here is the booties are out pre-release, as in the day they were out afterwards due to very small runs of the original vinyls which were cut by folks on a tiny budget at the time, the booties coming out to satisfy a demand that couldn’t possibly be sated by legitimate means at your local vinyl store unless you knew the faces at the time, I agree with you the motive here appears to be money, but the romantic in me is thinking but maybe the guys doing it were also around at the time and are relating to that, perhaps not, either way it’s brought back some great memories, searching for tracks on 12″ with a list scrawled on a bit of paper from numerous nights out, only to find 2 of them on either side of a white carded 12″ stamped with a smiley face. Happy days indeed.