Still Going, Spaghetti Circus/Untitled Love


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On July 12, 1979, during the intermission of a doubleheader between the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, rock radio DJ Steve Dahl hosted an event called Disco Demolition Derby at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. Amidst cries of “disco sucks!” a seething army of Middle America, fifty thousand strong, participated in the destruction of disco records, culminating in a near-riot and prompting the appearance of police on horseback. Though the myopic, racist, homophobic nature of such an event should be glaringly obvious, the likes of Dahl have had a lasting effect on popular conceptions of dance music, and particularly of disco. Since then, the efforts of those who produce and play disco are often branded with the faddish tag, “revival,” invoking the “day disco died” as an actual fact and a possible recurrence.

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For Eric Duncan and Olivier Spencer of Still Going, the rumors of disco’s demise seem to have been greatly exaggerated. Since about the mid-point of this decade, with projects like Rub N Tug and Dr. Dunks for Eric and Manthraxx, Mr. Negative, and House of House for Olivier, the duo have never ceased to fly a disco flag. When they came together in 2007 for “Still Going Theme” on DFA, Duncan and Spencer prepared a disco-licious platter whose house sensibilities made it as versatile, accessible, and contemporary as any track of that year. Teaming up with comedic vocalist Reggie Watts for “Spaghetti Circus/Untitled Love” brings a welcome new addition to the Still Going formula and offers a bit more insight into the mentalities driving the music. “Spaghetti Circus” rides an impressive arcing trajectory with Watts’ vocals showcased, soaring over a bound up groove teased by “Theme” style piano stabs, complete with enough guitar noodling to knock Steve Dahl on his ass. Watts assures us “everything’s gonna be all right tonight” as the groove smooths out and the track’s intensity gives way to spaciousness. B-side “Untitled Love” erects a velvety musical bed for Watts’ sly pillow talk. His crooning ruminations on the future, love, and the future-love advise that we “get ready for the future-love.” Agreed.

With Still Going’s long-awaited second release appearing on the 30th anniversary of the Comiskey Park riot, the stakes are high for disco. Is this “revival” destined to meet the same fate as its inspiration, perhaps taking an even kitschier tumble? Not with Still Going here to represent. Even before the summer of ’79, “disco” had begun to signify something quite different from what it meant to the loft-dancers of downtown New York. Its underground spirit was soon taken up by house and techno, while the music industry’s facade was held up for abuse. What today’s disco comes down to is less the return of some long forgotten musical form or style and more a simple willingness to call the whole thing disco again. After all, the tracks are still groovy, the energy is still ecstatic, and the message is still love.

tom/pipecock  on September 25, 2009 at 10:17 AM

this one is also sick as hell on both sides, got this along with the Rainer Truby and the Floating Points and more the other day, a heck of a record order!

Jordan Rothlein  on September 25, 2009 at 11:59 AM

I’m basically on my way out the door to pick this one up. Rad!

ryan  on September 25, 2009 at 12:25 PM

tom, i’m in the process of making the same order (those three at least). great posts this week!

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