Starting with letters A through I, Dresden-based edit don and oddity connoisseur Sneaker DJ recently began to work through some of his favourite bargain bin discoveries in alphabetical order. Highlighting some affordable gems, the first instalment came furnished with synth-pop, electro, new beat, Italo disco. Now picking up where he left off, Sneaker serves up another clutch of cheapo records, running from J all the way to the letter R…
“Here are 10 more records and their story. Not too obscure of course, cause I was asked to list bargain bin finds instead. I completely disagree with Dixon who once said a DJ failed his job when he doesn’t play more than 80% of new records. If I wasn’t so damn sophisticated I’d embrace to use the f-word in reply! Obviously you are limited to this month’s news instead of scooping from the 500 months before (do the maths)! Further the music didn’t stand the test of time. Since we can’t really foresee and judge the newest developments we are likely to play ‘the shallow soundtrack of average today’. I wanna play music you CAN listen to in 20 or 40 years! Your minimal techno set from 15 years ago, your schranz set from 20 years ago, my electroclash set from 18 years ago? Crap! It’s testament to its era at max!
Let’s make that clear: You are completely generic and tasteless when you play more than 80% of new records! Your set I mean – but maybe you, too? Cheers!” – Sneaker
1. Kim Peers – Tell Me
I just bought that in my record shop of choice in my small town back then (Fat Plastics exists until today in Jena). For people of my age the record is super obvious (HELL, IT WAS ON GIGOLO RECORDS!). Nevertheless it flew under the radar and anytime I play it, people come to me as if I would play the next big thing, a genre of the future or a secret record only whispered about. Super sleazy (actually digi-dirty) production. Why the super model didn’t keep up with the music? To fade into obscurity. Yes!!!
2. Kozmonaut – Flieg
The original record is nowhere to be found and the story behind is one for the books, as mentioned by Christian Peintner (the only proven owner of a copy) here. I held that record in my hands for the scans of the artwork of my edit of ‘The Mann’ on Macadam Mambo. The reissue is cut from the rip of that very copy and is now available on Mental Experience.
Last year I met Chris in San Francisco and we visited a friend of Kozmonaut (who sadly deceased in 1994). He went on to form the EBM-band Kode IV with Peter Kozmonaut, releasing 3 LPs on legendary Belgian label KK Records. Every time I write or talk about Kozmonaut, I can’t allow myself to only drop a portion of the facts.
3. Laurent Garnier – Astral Dreams
The LP Shot In The Dark has been in my possession since 1994. I was curious about it back then because I remember young Tommy listening to the Maxi-CD EP Planet House the year before. For the first time I was hearing (not listening, it was an epiphany like the first word of a child) sophisticated techno with a 909, lush basslines, pads; you name it.
Since day one my fave from the LP was ‘The Force’ for it’s Phuture-like vox (I only got to know the wild pitch sound of DJ Pierre a year later on his Strictly Rhythm releases and I am actually just now connecting the dots). But the pick ‘Astral Dreams’ was a milestone and showcases all the genius of Laurent Garnier – an exceptional talent in the European techno scene.
4. Marina – I Feel The Heat
Yep, that’s the typical bargain bin discovery. Pretty unknown, widely available, yet providing a sexy quality production. Strangely I picked up my copy in Mexico. The Mexican pressing of course, though there are plenty of German pressings on Discogs.
5. Marketa Muchova – Superden
Pushing the cheese factor – disco again! Sorry! One for all my Czech friends and fans! I was looking for that one after a long night of online research and when I was invited to Brno by Pavel aka PDCH he quickly guided me to the local antiquarians to pick up a few cheapish, happy discs. The CSSR had an incredible vigour (but very small) synth-pop, ah… scene? Marketa is among my favourites, representing the dream of being a pop star in an otherwise uneventful, peaceful everyday life behind the iron curtain (where I spent my childhood).
That and her slightly odd, but catchy music pretty much sums up of what our band Bionda e Lupo dreams of. So my part would be to cough into the mic at the end of the song. Czech, ah… check the entertaining vids of the singles on youtube from the socialist TV stations! FLASHBACK!
6. Nacht und Nebel – Beats Of Love
Found out this was a big new wave hit when I picked up the single just week ago in a side alley of the touristy, yet quaint Essaouria in Morocco. The 25 Dirham I payed is actually thrice the value of the 7″, however, it’s really hypnotic, cheesy & groovy; perfectly matching my small potpurri of possible patchouli disco entertainment. Band leader Patrick Nebel however is rather a tragical, yet exuberant figure: “A small heart in a big fat unhealthy body” as a web site explains us. He passed away in 1986.
Favourite honest feel-good line: “1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 – me and my baby go to heaven! 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 9 – me and my baby gonna have a good time!”
7. Piano Fantasies – Walkman
RVDS is a real digger paying regular visits to Hamburg flea market directly after his Golden Pudel sets at 4.30 in the morning. In disguise as his Italo DJ moniker Riccardi Schola he pulled that record from his “2nd copy shelf” and recommended it to me. “Take it!” he demanded. When he was telling me that he used to have a trampoline he jumped on while listening on repeat, I had made up my mind. I can’t get that happy picture from my mind when I am listening now myself. And that’s good! 🙂
I love him and this love will be manifested on a joint-venture slow groovin’ jack track we did during those days in his living room studio. Out soon on Detroit’s Fit Sound.
8. Prototype – I Feel Love
I picked this one while browsing through old school house in the mostly boring A1 record shop. They get the best reviews among shops in NYC, but hardly carry modern music or even well curated collectors stuff. Compared to Berlin, NYC is dead, not only in terms of clubs. I never felt it to be different since I came the first time in 2007. But I pulled some house cheapos that rarely pop up in physical shops in Europe (the exoticism of the usual is the major fun in any far country).
I have mixed emotions with this record. It’s cool and working, but functional to the extent – it’s worlds away from the magic of the original. The promo is even more numerous and cheaper on Discogs.
9. Red & Jo – I’m Lonesome Tonight
This record is a 1$ souvenir from my first real pawn shop adventure in Austin, Texas (I can’t pass comparable shops here in Europe either). Later Joshua Cordova told me that Bill Converse might have dropped these old Italo and synth pop records there. Okaaaaay! Thanks, Bill!
The cover photo is amazing and all why you love Italo records for (and collecting them). The singing is horrible, so we are stuck with the instrumental flip.
10. Puberty Love – X-Ray Eyes
On first sight this EP seems to be the average mid ’00s 1€ crap – you might expect minimal tech house, maybe Electroclash. Lasergun Records was the recycling outfit for ’80s-infused club tracks by Savas Pascalidis, who I picked in my previous post already. “Puberty Love” is an alias of New Yorks synth band Hong Kong Counterfeit. Katya Casio is singing – what a lovely artist name! The original is Italo cheese and is usually my pick; the Carretta remix, not for me. Savas’ mix is haunting with a stupid melody (listen and you’ll see!) in his typical manner. And Tampopo is resembling the “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” flute in a similar fashion like DJ Naughty used to sample this theme before (on Disco Volante). Maybe it’s just me, but I’d pick that up again for 99 Cents!
So, that was J-R… Stay tuned, and dig deeper, kids!