From the Russian Federation comes the Alan Brando Project with the First Strike compilation. This album features five producers across ten tracks of some the most intensely authentic italo disco synth I've heard in a long time. The production, arrangements, vocals and lyrics are all fantastically true to mid 80s italo disco and each song shines like spun gold.
VA - Alan Brando Project - The First Strike (2013) FLAC
Italo-Disco | SP records
Lossless | FLAC | mixed +cue | 2013 | 01:12:31 | 514 Mb
[07:49] 01. Casanova - Angel Eyes (Full Extended)
[09:34] 02. Alan Brando - Once Upon A Time (Vocal Version)
[07:41] 03. Ken Martina - Cinderella (Vocal Extended Mix)
[06:18] 04. Ken Martina - Love Is Forever (Extended Version)
[07:33] 05. Tommy Sun - Dancer (Italo Mix)
[06:06] 06. Boy Blue - One Day (Vocal Version)
[07:48] 07. Ken Martina - Another Melody (Extended Mix)
[05:57] 08. Casanova - Casanova (Extended Mix)
[07:49] 09. Alan Brando - One More Time (Extended Version)
[05:53] 10. Tommy Sun - Beach Love (Extended Experience Version)
I wanted to give this tracklisting in alphabetical order as the album jumps around with the artists and makes it a bit confusing to work out, so for your reference all the above songs are on this compilation, but presented in a different order.
Those devotees of classic italo sounds will instantly feel a strong affinity with the opening song Angel Eyes by Casanova. The melody is utterly beautiful with each sound introduced perfectly for maximum effect but it's when the vocal begins that the music goes from countdown to take off. The authenticity of the vocal is totally k-rad to the max. The delivery and lyrics are absolutely 10000% accurate to the classic italo disco from the 80s. Right when I think the song has showed all it's hand it then trumps itself entirely with it's arrangements.
I must digress a bit here. The idea of an 'extended mix' in the 80s was usually of a calculated and reasonably specific style. Beginning with the chorus amid a flurry of other sounds the song then goes into it's regular single format and then at the midpoint drops everything but the main melody followed by repeated percussive flourishes then with a rebuilding of the music to a climax with a final rendition of the chorus. Most extended mixes from the 80s follow this format, give or takes, and it's something of a lost art in modern music which is more about re-inventing it entirely by other producers as opposed to the original producer making a 'radio edit' and then a 12" maxi single for the clubs.
The Alan Brando Project artists all create their extended mixes with this method in mind. It's so wonderfully refreshing to hear authentic sounds so authentically constructed, it's just marvellous to behold. Casanova's Angel Eyes Full Extended Mix does this to perfection and throughout the album more nods and homages to the classic mix formats are performed. This magic is revisited in the megaton italo powerhouse song Casanova, by Casanova which pushes it right to the limit.
The two Alan Brando songs on this compilation bearing his name are of a much more moody disposition. The music is slowed down and vocals are the focus with scintillating italo synths setting the soundscapes ablaze with emotion. Both of the Alan Brando tracks are extensions of each other, as the names allude to, with tales of love lost but unforgotten and emotional ties that bind like chains held heavy around the heart.
Ken Martina continues through moody italo climes with his three songs that tell of more love, loss and betrayal. This trio of songs also work very well together and are definitely sharing a musical and lyrical thematic. The vocals are rife with drama and pent up emotion, always feeling on the verge of breaking down. It's the vocals that really make these songs work, the accent, the lyrics themselves it all make for the perfect italo synth recipe that ends up as a very tasty and satisfying experience.
The two Tommy Sun experiences are definitely of the more upbeat varieties. High energy drum tracks and throbbing basslines give way to hugely catchy synth melodies and once again the vocal just takes it to the next level. 'Dancer' is a work of total italo art in every respect and 'Beach Love' rocks just as hard.
Boy Blue's song on the compilation, "One Day", is yet another beautifully moody song with a melancholic vocal that really cries out in anguish over the lost love of his life. Music is kept restrained and beautifully arranged with just the right nuances and details at just the right times. This is listed as a Vocal Version but be aware it's most definitely of the extended mix variety also.
After listening to this album numerous times I still can't believe how thoroughly authentic every song on this compilation is to genuine 80s italo disco synth. It just totally blows my mind in the most awesome of ways and raises the bar massively high for future releases. As of this point I'd go so far as to say the Alan Brando Project's First Strike album is the most authentic italo disco synth I've heard since 1987 and is most definitely deserving of being a Synthetix Reference Experience.
The First Strike compilation is presented on SP Records Bandcamp page here and I highly recommend it to all lovers of classic italo disco synth sounds.
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