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.
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.