DiscoTexas – Picnic IIReviewed
If one good thing has come from Daft Punks Random Access Memory album, and it really is only one thing (bar the majestic Lose Yourself To Dance), its the fact that many commercial dance acts take their cue from these guys, so instead of mindless electro/trance tracks with big drops and lack of soul (see Beaports top 100 any week), we should see a resurgence of disco in a years time. Its been a long time coming, in fact, it came and went, Daft Punk arent doing anything Disco Deviance or Aeroplane havent over the past five years. Unfortunately, without the Daft Punk branding, these acts get no praise despite making music just as valid.
One label who has been injecting healthy doses of disco into their music since their inception in 2007 is the Lisbon label Discotexas. The way I discovered this label was unhealthyalmost stalkerish but Ive reaped the benefits ever since and if you delve in, so will youanyway, it goes a bit like this..
Last year I visited Portugal for the first time, flying into Faro, the plan was to road trip from the South, take in Lisbon and travel adjacent to the Douro all the way to Porto. The time spent in the Algarve was thankfully brief, consisting mainly of staring ex pat old farts from Frinton on Sea who had moved to The Algarve because they can get the same crap they could when they were back home but with the additional benefit of regular sunshine caressing its waves over their beer guts, casually racist views and cellulite. In the evening theyd rush off for fish and chips by the sea or some horrific concoction called Steak Diane prior to being serenaded by some fat, sweaty pervert who masquerades as Elvis.
Car hire and no cds meant endless radio station shuffling, during the escape from the Algarve, Rod Stewarts 80s stinker Baby Jane heard on three different radio stations within two hours, but something then changed; it was if the grey of the Algarve had been sliced open by colour as soon as it was only visible in the car mirror. A new station appeared on the dial, a station called Antenna 3. Then. a house beat, hearing house music after being stuck in 80s FM hell sounded as revolutionary as the first house beats you hear (Mine, if youre wondering; Love cant turn around). The tunes sounded amazing, especially with a deep orange backdrop of the late afternoon sun and the rapidly approaching time for major chill chill on desolate beaches on the Eastern cape of Portugal.
The producer was being interviewed by the DJ, I couldnt tell what was being said, it was all spoken in Portuguese. The music, crisp 4/4s, funk-filled baselines, tried and tested piano lines and fizzing disco vibes demanded the crappy car radio sound system to be turned up and the nob ripped right off. The words I could understand were Mirror and People.
Whatever the words Mirror and People were connected to, the person being interviewed seemed to have something to do with these words. As soon as I had access to the internet I typed in a variation of these words with Portugal added to it and bingo Lisbon based producer Mirror People was there, I quickly mailed him to congratulate him on the music, while on his Facebook page, I found he was signed to a label called Disco Texas. I rapidly found their website and rampaged my way through the tunes on their site like a kid being left to their own devices in a sweet shop.
I got in touch with the record label and found the head honcho was based in what turned out to be one of Lisbons finest record shops, Louie Louie, I hunted the shop down, had a coffee and bought everything the label had released so farvinyl, of course.
Disco Texass second compilation, Picnic II, a compilation of some of their recent releases, shows what a purple patch theyve hit recently, serving up aural delights with each release, II shows how their releases have gone from funky diva led party fillers to more intricate house releases with a harder electro edge.
?Moullinexs To Be Clear mixed by RAC come up with a slinky torch-song backed with early evening funk, Polish pop KAMP manage to nail the electro pop thing Friendly Fires try to with great success and the cheesy synth area is covered by Jay Lamar & Jesse Oliver on the uplifting Cul de Sac.
The latter half of the release goes for much harder fodder, Mirror Peoples Kaleidoscope gets a stunning rework by Psychemagik, Zimmers Slave To The Heart gets a doing over by Mercury who re-imagines the track as a mid 90s house pounder and Mirror Peoples mix of Jess Olivers Oceans is a lush piece of euphoric trance influenced house purpose built to be played on beaches.
Picnic II is like a long cool drink on a hot day, its the distant waves heard from on a balmy evening surrounded by sand, its freshly caught fish washed down with local wine. Its a label which puts the heart of its country onto wax, the beauty of a sun drenched day, the hell for leather attitude to their nightlife; even though not all their material comes from Portugal, the tracks they source evoke their surroundings perfectly.