Friday, 19 October 2018

Argo - Discophonia (1981)

Early 80s electronica with a good dose of gentle funk, from Lithuania.  Argo were formed out of the Kaunas Musical Theatre in 1979, and released three albums, of which this debut is the only one available digitally.  Discophonia initially caught my eye due to that wonderful Sticky Fingers-esque cover drawing, and the rainbow's a nice touch.  Given this paired with the album title, I was prepared for something along the lines of Arp Life; turns out that Discophonia's a much more stripped-down affair.

The liner notes explain the album title as referring to the two intended purposes of the music: Disco tracks for dancing, and -phonia meaning tracks for sitting down to listen to.  Things kick off in the former mode, with electric piano, phased funky guitar, a pumping bassline, and a vocal exclaiming "DISCO!" at regular intervals.  This is just the intro to A1 (all the tracks are just titled in sequence like that) though, as it moves through different sections that show off the band's musical chops.  A2 and A3 follow with more grooves, but getting progressively more relaxed; in particular, if someone introduced me to A3 as a great lost track from a KPM library record I wouldn't bat an eyelid.

A4 is pure mellowness by contrast, featuring ethereal vocals - intended, as per the liners, to act just as another instrument.  B1 goes further by starting acapella before a mellow bassline and twinkling synths relax you just in time for its upbeat mid-section.  B2 and B3 are just absolutely gorgeous electronica to finish, with barely-there drum machines and gentle keyboards; stuff of this calibre could've sat nicely on a Sky label release from the same time period.  There's one more disco flourish right at the end to get you in the mood for starting from the beginning again.  Very highly recommended.

link

4 comments:

  1. Hmmm. Well, yeah, you know - and I say this in a spirit of friendly discourse - it should also be remembered that underneath the layer of Cluster etc releases, Sky was also putting out some pretty dire stuff there in the early 80s. So...

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    1. Yep, you've definitely got a point there! But from the reference to Cluster, you knew what I was meaning.

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    2. Yes. But also that it wasn't all that great a sell lol.

      I did listen to a little of it, and it wasn't horrible. But I was a tad less enthusiastic than you were. To each our own cheese. I myself prefer a little Japanese Sage Darby over Venezeulan Beaver. :)

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    3. Oh! I thought you were talking to me, sir. Mister Wensleydale, that's my name.

      Tony ^v^

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