Kash - Supercool (Best Record Italy, 2020)
The Best Record camp strike gold once more with this massive reissue of an Italo funk boogie classique.
These days, we have access to such an array of reissue orientated labels, its as if the music they bless us with never faded into obscurity in the first place. Every spectrum and genre under the sun is catered for, with each label focusing on their own little niche that continues to build further bridges between the past and the present, the music within given a new lease of life in a contemporary context. From disco to dub, techno to house, soul to modern boogie, the rich tapestry of modern day soundscapes starts to become populated with so much new and inherently important music, tunes that remained unfairly left to the annuals of time, their presence a mere footnote in the city in which the original 12' was released. Having the benefit of the internet, research and digging for these kinds of hard to find releases has been made a lot easier, but its still the age old art of digging around for records that yields perhaps the most well earned kind of results. Not only does this kind of dedication lead to some wonderful records finding their way into the hands of a new generation of DJs and music lovers, but it keeps the momentum going for music in general - the manner of these releases looking to join the dots between varying records and albums we all know and love, crafting moments in sets that swept between genres and time. More now than ever, we need to get more in tune with the way in which music all flows together, how genres crossed over between communities and countries, how it may have come back and forth, and who was the one responsible for crafting the vibe in the first place.
If you need a reissue focused label that has crafted a reputation for the superb and ultra funky, then look no further than Best Record Italy, and to understand its legacy its easy to understand why this is the case. Back in 1981, Italian DJ and producer Claudio Casalini founded Best Record, which was the very first Italo Disco specific label in the country, and the label would be very much at the forefront of the genre's revolutionary sound that inspired so many across the globe. Aside from its extraordinarily high volume output, the releases all had a diverse and dynamic quality to them, in that each EP displayed a new side to the genres rich sound, but also finding the time to explore within the realms of funk, boogie and disco too, Chemise, Barbara York, Asso, Blue Night, Pineapples, Herbie, G.J Lunghi, Byron and many many more released on the imprint during its initial 80s run, with the label pushing a wide variety of sounds to an audience that lapped it up with such fever and passion. The amount of sub labels that fed into Best Record is quite astonishing, so if you have a free afternoon and a passion for Italo disco, then by all means disappear down the rabbit hole, its quite the journey! In 2015, Casalini revived the label for the contemporary setting, with the intent on reviving some of the 70s and 80s lost gems, from both an Italian perspective and a more global one. The label has quickly established itself as one of great significance and importance, perhaps owing to its label head having a superb knowledge of the era and all the riches that time passed by initially. So many of the Best Record Italy releases have made their way into the record bags of many DJs, and onto the selves of music lovers, with the music contained within so pure, so bountiful, and so diverse in its sound. The funk and groove is what hold it all together, along with a healthy dosage of the power of emotional and impassioned delivery, that certainly sets dancefloors alight at every turn. With so much to choose from in terms of highlights, we throughly recommend the following releases; Gepy & Gepy's amazing 'Body To Body' EP from 2017; Neddy Smith's phenomenal 'Give It Up' release, also from 2017; the Kasso Jellybean '1981-1982' edit release from the same year; the timeless 'The MBO Theme' by Klein and MBO, from 2018; Man Face's 'You're Hurting Me', from the same year; New Horizon's 'You', from the same year; the amazing Metropole record that is 'Miss Manhattan', from the same year; R.E.M's 'Computer Communication', from the sam eyear; the ultra groovy 'Come Back Lover' by the Fresh Band, from last year; the huge reissue of the Balaeric classic 'Aqua Marina', by the Countach, and the equally huge reissue of 'Magic Dance' by Loui$, both from last year; the italo house dream that is 'Paradise' by the Deep Invention Orchestra; and finally, the Dr Togo release 'Be Free', that arrived earlier this year. Well, we did say there was a lot of goodness to choose from! seriously, its hard to think of another label that consistently finds such excellence to do the reissue job on, and its testament to Casalini and his tastes and knowledge that drive this mission towards funky enriching excellence. Who knows what we might expect from the label in the future? more of the same, for sure. And more of the same means brilliance, so don't worry one bit about that.
So today's review draws focus to one of the label's freshest releases, a reissue of Kash's superb synth driven stomper 'Supercool', originally released back in 1981on Newlock Records. The group consisted of Edo Martin and Pino Santapaga, both of whom have lengthy credit lists for various other italo disco and boogie related releases, but this would remain their sole effort as Kash. And lets just say that its quite magnificent, a towering display of rhythm, keys and synths that remains unique and brilliant to this day. A record that aligns itself so perfectly within the contemporary dance music spectrum, shining as bright now as it did back in 1981. So lets get into it.
Up first we have the super slick title track, that oozes into proceedings with all the pomp and circumstance you could wish for. The groove rotates around the stab like synths, that dip and dive around the wonderfully composed, with the guitar riff underpinning the interplay between the two. The intro groove moves softly into a new melodic progression, when the composition becomes more fluid and interchangeable, with the guitar moving between funky lines and chords. The vocals then float right into view, that do the rounds for a few lines, really adding weight to the progression and feel of the track. Then the magic really happens, with the chorus chant coming into play, the big chordal work comes into its own, lifting the track from its hypnotic grooves and into the realms of really letting yourself go. The song shifts once more into the initial groove, before letting the chorus play out one more time. The tune then moves with such grace between these three melodic structures, with the vocals interjecting when required, before it all builds to the dubby part, where the bass takes over alongside the switch up in the percussive textures that slap along underneath. The way in which the track swings and grooves is so on point, so classy, with the key and guitar work a constant source of delight and attraction. A pure delight. Up next comes side B, entitled "Percussion Sundance', which we are perhaps already a bit more aware of due to its inclusion on a Jura Soundsystem compilation. The drums lead the way on this number, their dynamics working on both ends of the spectrum, with the toms and other light percussive elements working effortlessly within the sea of rhythm. Before long, the synth joins in the fun, starting up high before fading into the bowels of the song, with the guitar mingling itself within the sound. After a few runs through, the high line synth solo adds fucking weight to proceedings, as the rhythmic cosmic journey we were already on gets heightened massively as we sail into the sunset. After a return to the original composition, the big room keys align themselves once more within the sound, and its a thing of beauty, really. If the first cut was loosing yourself in the notion of dance, this one expands your minds to places of unfathomable depths and riches, our minds on a journey that knows no limits or boundaries. A shimmering body of warmth, a sun kissing sky, and a wondering mind that walks down one of life's bountiful audial journeys.
Perhaps one of this years more essential reissues, Kash demonstrate over two tracks their indefinite vision when it comes to warmth and groove. Their two cuts showcase on the one hand, a finger on the pulse of the dance floor, whilst the other looks to the stars and the sun rise moments. Tunes that cater for our emotional needs as much as our desire to dance and groove, with this reissue you will not fail on either one of those counts. As always with Best Italy, you get the goods, and this is one of their best yet.
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