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Riccardo Bertoncelli Saturday, 15 December 2012

Do you love Disco music? Vade retro

At the time, electronics were leaving the experimental laboratories to become “electro-domestic”.
The renowned music critic and author of many books, Riccardo Bertoncelli, offers us a taste, telling us that Giorgio Moroder, unloved by the critics, was a guarantee.
Do you love Disco music? Vade retro
 
When rock began, in the 50s and 60s particularly, more than a musical genre and a window on the world it was a standard, a place of the spirit, a sharp weapon. I speak not only for myself but for my generation, now in their fifties and sixties, and why? Because that way of understanding music was exclusive, in the sense that it carved out a unique space which excluded, cut off all the rest. Today I like to remember it as a “war of the bands”, it was a question of instinct and nobody thought to look for explanations: very simply those who belonged to the “rock band” weren’t into jazz, R&B, singer-songwriters and so on. It was the time of all or nothing, it was tuned in to the fast, scornful hormones of a man cub: as a clever writer once said, “we grow by denying others”.
The era of all or nothing lasted at least twenty years, into the 1980s, and here I have trouble telling the difference: did things change because we, as twenty year old ‘Talebans’, became more tolerant forty year olds, or because the times changed, in the face of so many novelties and unforeseeable crossroads? Half and half, probably. Certainly one of the musicians who contributed to this change was Giorgio Moroder, with his simple and physical idea of electronics, with that special over-the-fence curiosity. At the start we could not stand him; he was a friend of disco music, thus an enemy of rock. Slowly however this opinion changed, also thanks to the work of a wise god, Brian Eno, one of the first to understand that the era of all or nothing was coming to an end, and gloriously that of the one and the other was beginning. Eno was our favourite philosopher and a fan of Moroder, because he had understood that that way of making music was destined not only to have a future but also to mould it: electronics were leaving the experimental laboratories and becoming “electro-domestic”, dancing and physical shaking returned to reign over “mental” listening, the pure genres melted under the action of repeated hybrids. Time had given the thumbs up to that intuition and annihilated certain rigid positions of before, and the very idea of “purism”; a concept I am fond of in the world of digital windows that open onto the whole planet, the exchanges of music beating only one key, culture that comes no longer from the road and direct contact but from information on the Net.
I used the adverb “gloriously” for the period of one and the other. Maybe I am too optimistic, in a corner of my mind also ironic. In this flood of music and possibilities that surrounds, enchants, submerges us, is it all really so glorious? Mmmmh, not really. But we shall talk of this another time.
 
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