For this next installment, we’ll stick with another artist on the opposite side of the Atlantic, this time featuring Dutch euro-disco/electro trio Digital Emotion’s 1983 hit “Get Up Action.” While flipping through the “electronic/dance/singles” section a few weeks ago at Apop Records, I happened upon this great single that I’d only been able to track down in mp3 form for quite some time. It’s the perfect combination of playful, glittery synths and mindless, vocoded cosmic disco fantasies laid over an equally serious bass line and monster snare. Employing almost exclusively synthesized sounds (and even those that are not – the vocals and guitar – have been digitized quite heavily) and prominent space themes, this tune falls under the header “italo disco,” which derives it name from Italy, where revolutionary producer Georgio Moroder first began producing futuristic, synthesizer-based songs, but also draws influence from electro-pop groups, like Kraftwerk, and some American producers of the early 1980′s. This shift away from organic, human based sounds towards programmed drum machines and synthesizers marks an incredibly important tuning point in the history of music, because groups like Digital Emotion paved the way for essentially anything not guitar based. Once the chipset became as powerful as the set of strings, the seemingly endless proliferation of electronic music became inevitable. From the seminal branches of house and techno to the newest indie, synth-pop group-of-the-week, all find their roots, one way or another, in these uncannily dancable, non-sensical journeys through the electronic circuits of a continental’s keyboard. So, without further ado, let’s get down.
On a side note, to understand the vast differential between the popularity of these songs in Europe and the USSR compared to the United States, we can take a look at the former’s version of Tom and Jerry, Nu Pogodi, specifically episode 14, where three Digital Emotion track feature on the soundtrack. I wish the cartoons of my youth had prepared me half as well to live in the future.