Amoeblog

Happy Discovery Day -- Real Geographic Discoveries of the Modern Age

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 13, 2014 04:42pm | Post a Comment

I will not make the argument that Columbus's arrival in the New World was insignificant merely because he was an absolutely awful person or because he didn't actually discover anything (which he himself maintained, claiming until his death that he'd merely found a different route to Asia). But think about this before you dismiss -- before Columbus, avocado, bell peppers, blueberries, cashews, cassava root, chili peppers, chocolate, cocaine, gourds, maize, peanuts, pecans pineapples, pumpkins, squash, tobacco, tomatoes, and vanilla were all unknown in the Old World and alcohol, apples, bananas, barley, cheese, coffee, mango, onions, rice, tea, and turnips, and wheat were unknown in the Americas. Imagine an existence without any of those and you can hopefully begin to get a taste of the importance of the Columbian Exchange. Imagine Italian cuisine without tomato sauce or gnocchi and you can't help but wonder if this is why Columbus is so dear to many Italians. Imagine, on the other hand, genocide, slavery, and old world diseases and you'll understand why he's even more hated by many others. 



Italo-Disco star Ken Laszlo is Coming to SoCal on Memorial Day Weekend 2013

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 15, 2013 08:43pm | Post a Comment
On 26 May, 2013 Italo-Disco star Ken Laszlo is coming to Orange County. On that date he and 

fellow Italo performer Fred Ventura will descend upon Avec Nightclub in Huntington Beach, thanks to Keep On Music. The event will be hosted by TQ and DJed by DJ BPM. Tickets are $20 in advance (from Bleu Nightclub in Westminster) or $25 at the door.

Ken Laszlo is the primary nom de guerre of singer Gianni Coraini. In European pop – especially Italian pop of the 1980s – it has long been the common practice to hire one or more singers to provide vocals for producer-driven music projects (often credited to imaginary performers with vaguely Anglo-sounding names) whose faces on album covers, videos, live performances, &c was usually that of a dancing and lipsynching model. Despite usually singing in English, most of these acts have found limited success in the Anglosphere (although there have been notable exceptions like the German Milli Vanilli and the Belgian Technotronic). Coraini has been a very prolific clandestini and sorting out which “singers” he’s been the voice of is rather time-consuming and hair-graying so please leave corrections and/or additions in the comments!

Italo-Disco star Fred Ventura is Coming to SoCal on Memorial Day Weekend 2013

Posted by Eric Brightwell, April 8, 2013 01:33am | Post a Comment

26 May, 2013 Italo-Disco star Fred Ventura is coming to Orange County. He and fellow Italo performer Ken Laszlo will descend upon Avec Nightclub in Huntington Beach. The event will be hosted by TQ and DJed by DJ BPMTickets are $20 in advance(from Bleu Nightclub in Westminster) or $25 at the door. 

Fred Ventura was born Federico Di Bonaventura in MilanItaly on 16 July, 1962. He became interested in music when he was twelve. In 1978 or ‘79, Ventura joined An Incoherent Psyche on drums. In 1980 he joined another band, Le Jour Prochain. In 1981 he formed State of Art with bassist Stefano Tirone and guitarist Stefano Mazzola, both formerly of Der Blaue Reiter. The band proved to be short-lived although in February 1982 they recorded a song “Venice” which sounds a bit like the offspring of Joy Division and Chic (or in other words, a bit like A Certain Ratio).
 

State of Art




"Venice" was included on a compilation titled Gathered that was released by Italian magazine, Rockerilla. "Venice," along with several other studio and live recordings were compiled and released as Dancefloor Statements 1981-82 (2012-Spittle). In 2009, a new line-up formed, re-recorded several old tunes and a new one which they released as At Work (2012-Killed By Disco Records). Less than a year after their debut performance, Ventura left the band to embark on a solo career.

Armed with a Roland Juno-60 synthesizer and an Oberheim DX drum machine (both then new to the market) Ventura pursued a dancier direction inspired by Hi-NRG pioneers Bobby O and Patrick Cowley, Neue Deutsche Welle act D.A.F., French singer Étienne Daho, disco producer Giorgio Moroder, and electro acts like Kraftwerk, The Human League, and New Order.





Ventura’s new direction brought him into contact with Roberto Turatti from DiscoMagic in 1983. Along with composer Miki Chieregato, the three formed Flexx and released the epic “Love Theme From Flexxy-Ball (You'll Never Change No More)” and “Theme from Deep.”



Inspired by Austrian singer Falco’s recent success with “Der Kommissar,” Ventura released his solo debut, the German (and English) language “Zeit” b/w “Hollywood Party,” in 1984. Ventura's final collaboration with Chieregato and Turatti was 1985’s “The Years (Go By)” b/w “Streets (All Right).” After that, Chieregato and Turatti began formulating and focusing their energy on their Den Harrow project, which didn’t involve Ventura.

Ventura moved to Time Records, brought there by Giuliano Crivellente of the established Italo production duo Mauro Farina and Giuliano Crivellente. Ventura has been open about finding his creativity stifled by Farina and Crivellente’s perceived commercialism although he did score several hits during his relationship with them.






In 1986, he released “Leave Me Alone” and “Wind of Change.” In 1987 he released “Imagine (You'll Never Change Your Mind)” and “Night And Day” b/w “Jour Aprés Jour.” In 1988 he Fred Ventura East & Westreleased “Lost in Paris” and “Heartbeat” b/w “Housebeat.” Finally, in 1989 he released his solo full-length, East & West (1989-Time Records) which included most of his previous singles for Time as well as new singles “It’s My Time,” and “One Day” as well as album tracks “Never Too Late,” “No More Lies,” and “Late Night Train.”

After the 1980s ended, most Italo veterans attempted to soldier on by jumping on the commercial (and often grating) Eurodance/Euro-NRG bandwagon, Ventura began producing House music. He collaborated with various musicians under a variety of names including Active, Grey Area, Red Mecca, Visions Factory, Beat 4 Life, Love Nation, Vibrazioni Productions, Bedroom Rockers, and Electrique. He also went on to work as a label manager at Evolution Records, Free Zone Records, and Milano 2000 Records. More recently he’s contributed vocals to several Clone Records acts, including I-f, Alden Tyrell, and Jupiter Black.




I believe that the Memorial Day weekend concert will be both Ventura’s and Laszlo’s first performances in California. Both will be performing several of their hits (including, in Ventura’s case, his Time-era singles “Love Theme From Flexxy-Ball (You'll Never Change No More),” “Wind of Change,” and “The Years (Go By),” as well as new single, “Don’t Stop.”

See you there!
 

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Sparare un paninazzo nel gargarozzo - a look back at Paninari

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 22, 2012 04:10pm | Post a Comment
Pet Shop Boys "Suburbia"

On this day (22 September), 1986, the Pet Shop Boys released the single "Suburbia" b/w "Paninaro," which introduced an Italian subculture to the wider world. It was certainly my introduction. 

 


Paninari - che è il gran gallo?

Paninari (the plural of Paninaro) were an Italian youth subculture in the 1980s. Their name came from the word "panino," Italian for "bread." La Stampa branded them that due to the fact that their original, preferred hang-out was the Al Panino, a sandwich joint in in Milan's Via Agnello, where they first congregated in 1983.  




In 1985 the now defunct Burghy, an Italian chain specializing in American fast food, opened a location on Piazza San Babila, that became their home base.
 

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Italo sensation Den Harrow returns (sort of) for New Wave 80's Memorial Weekend in Huntington Beach

Posted by Eric Brightwell, May 7, 2012 12:00pm | Post a Comment
   


Den Harrow
, the Italo disco star famous for such timeless '80s classics as "Bad boy," "Charleston," "Future brain," "Mad desire" is coming to perform for his first time ever in California... sort of. Actually, Den Harrow was an invented character but the sources of the voice and music behind him, Tom Hooker and Miki Chieregato, respectively, are set to perform on Sunday, 27 May 2012 at Avec Nightclub in Huntington Beach’s New Wave 80’s Memorial WeekendDJ BPM from Keep on Music will be DJing. Tickets are $20 and the bottle special is $200 for Martell VSOP.  It'll be hosted by Truc Quynh.




More than an actual person, Den Harrow was a musical project of the aforementioned composer Miki Chieregato, fronted by Milanese model Stefano Zandri with vocals initially provided by several singers before Tom Hooker was brought in -- Chieregato's PR partner, Roberto Turatti, was another integral aspect. Together they enjoyed considerable popularity in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Sweden during the golden years of Italo-disco -- the 1980s. In the UK and US, the practice of hiring a model to lipsynch at shows and in videos was almost unheard of until the exposure of the likes of  C + C Music Factory, Technotronic (from Belgium), Boney M (from West Germany) and most notoriously, Milli Vanilli (also from West Germany). In European pop produced during the golden age of music videos, however, it was a fairly common practice. To be Den Harrow's face, Chieregato and Turatti hired Stefano Zandri and invented a perhaps needlessly but humorously complicated back-story. 

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