Hailing from the Romagnola Riviera in Northern Italy, Meo was part of a collective of local DJs who, in the late ’70s and early ’80s, defined a movement and genre known as Afro/Cosmic or Afrodun music. These interchangeable terms used to describe various forms of Afro-inspired, synthesizer-heavy dance music, came to be synonymous with a lost golden age of Italian clubbing. A festivity of all things psychedelic and obscure, the genre is not only influenced by Afro music, but electronic experimentation, funk, soul, rare groove, Brazilian music, jazz, “the orient” and religion. It now has a cult following that echoes throughout the internet, declaring how (through Italian Google translate) “time has stood still and the magic and the spiritualness of those years will remain forever in our hearts.”
Originally released in 1985 but fully remastered and set for reissue via Amsterdam based label Knekelhuis next month, Fine Corsa evokes feelings of zipping around the warm provincial hills of Northern Italy on a sticker-covered Vespa, preparing for a big one at Melody Mecca. It was one of the many Afro clubs Meo was closely affiliated with, such as Los Cigelos, Cosmic and Typhoon, having exploded in the ’80s. Influencing not only the music, the wave of Afroduni swept through the Riviera affecting the whole design, architecture and interiors of the clubs in the region.
Hypnotic throughout, Fine Corsa is the ideal accompaniment to YouTube videos showing what’s left inside Melody Mecca’s hallowed walls: rough clattering samples of jars against cutlery, high pitched voices, liquid pouring from heights, a slow ’80s drumbeat, synth glissandos, carefully timed repetitive vocal scales and all manner of keyboard experimentations compliment the visuals perfectly. Abandoned since 2000, listening to the title track alongside these YouTube slides exaggerates a wave of nostalgia and an appreciation for colourful dream like hybrid of a bygone era, where this exotic music fairground was able to thrive and exist in the provincial Italy.
Fine Corsa is out April 8th on Knekelhuis – pre-order direct from the label.