BLAQUE PANTHER DISCO, PRINCE$$
130 E. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ, 85004
This event is 21 and over
Plenty, it turns out. Recorded in Toulouse, Paris, London and Los Angeles, We Can’t Fly (co-produced by Bertrand Burgalat), is a grown up, dazzlingly accomplished record that showcases not just a passion for stately, soulful disco and early 80s electronica, but a lush and bittersweet set of influences that stretch from Abba and film soundtracks to Floyd, the Stones and the Italian crooners that Vito Deluca’s mama played him in his Brussels youth.
Aeroplane is a one-man operation. Flying solo has given Vito the chance to flex his classically trained musical muscles: “Aeroplane has been put in the dance music category but I’m a songwriter, that’s what I know how to do. I wanted to go back to proper pop music, not being forced to do nine-minute tracks so the DJ can mix in before and after.” Aeroplane has never been at the mercy of traditional bpms, and being free of “the dancefloor pressure” has given Vito additional license to slow things down and look around. “I’m at my best at 105bpm,” he says. “That’s the speed where I make the best music. You can do more, there’s more groove, more feeling.”
He’s not kidding. Take We Can’t Fly, the languid, show stopping anthem-to-be with which Aeroplane kicked off their landmark 500th Radio 1 Essential Mix at Circus in Liverpool earlier this year. Laying gospel harmonies over Compass Point-era Grace Jones reggae, blissed-out Rimini keyboards and kiddie vocal samples, it’s handsome proof that dancability and musicality don’t have to be mutully exclusive. It’s going to sound rapturous live, when Vito and an expanded on-stage line-up play Aeroplane’s first dates later this year.
Being let loose in a proper, bells-and-whistles studio for the first time has been something of an eye-opener. “I’ve been recording in my bedroom for my entire life so it sounds a million times better,” says Vito. “I was totally like a kid in a sweetshop.” The results are spectacular – and at times intensely cinematic. The widescreen, string-splashed Mountains of Moscow is the soundtrack to the best Eighties blockbuster you’ve never seen, while London Bridge and Point of No Return are mini-epics of spiralling Floydian guitar riffs and plaintive Tangerine Dream synths. “That’s my dream actually, writing scores for movies,” says Vito. “For me the Rocky soundtrack is at the same level as Dark Side of the Moon, it’s the same kind of perfection.”
Another mighty inspiration was Giorgio Moroder, whose gleaming electronic scores for Scarface and Midnight Express fed into the vintage disco stylings of My Enemy and the propulsive, piano-led Superstar, which Vito describes as “Moroder meets Canned Heat”.
The raucous, razor-blade rock of I Don’t Feel features the formidable vocals of Merry Clayton, who backed Jagger on Vito’s favourite Stones song, Gimme Shelter. ”There was always this black chick singing at the end and I never knew who she was. I also had this amazing soul-funk record by a girl called Merry Clayton. Then one day they played Gimme Shelter on the radio and the DJ explained that it was Merry singing. I lost the plot and said we have to try everything we can to get her.” Get her they did, and Clayton wraps her arena-sized lungs around squalling Bowie-ish riffs to impressive effect. “She killed the song, it was amazing.”
The roster of guest singers is impeccable. Nicolas Ker, the frontman of French italo-disco outfit Poni Hoax, adds a sullen elan to Fish in the Sky, an electro torch song worthy of Human League, while dream-pop outfit Au Revoir Simone breathe delicate harmonies over the woozy ballad We Fall Over, and London’s Jonathan Jeremiah transforms Good Riddance into a low-slung slice of honky-tonk soul.
Perhaps the most ear-catching turn comes from the precocious LA teen-vixen Sky Ferreira on Without Lies, a cover of a song by the Belgian screen star Marie Gillain. The 17 year-old Ferreira takes obvious relish in delivering suggestive lines like “When I eat cake I prefer the cherry”. Vito picked her because “we needed a young voice but kind of sexy too. It’s like an angel and a demon in the same body.”
It’s a breathtakingly diverse collection of songs, but what runs through all of them is that wistful Aeroplane trademark, what Vito calls “sad happiness”. It’s something he learned from the Italian pop maestros so beloved of his mum, men like Lucio Battisti and Adriano Celentano. An exquisite, bittersweet state that’s neither overly dark nor simplistically happy. It’s the Aeroplane way – wake up and smell the kerosene.
BLAQUE PANTHER DISCO
Coco Disco from Dijon, France. Heiress to the Dijon mustard dynasty.
Jean-Claude Disco from Châlons-en-Champagne, France. Heir to the Perrier-Jouet dynasty.
Both had wanderlust fantasies of moving to Paris, the city of luster, lights, and love!
Jean-Claude left his family estate driving his two seater 1955 mercedes benz 300sl gullwing coupe with a trunk full of his families finest reserve champagne on a quest to manifest his destiny--to delver his disco-tinged dreams to the world.
There was only one thing missing--his muse for music.
Deciding to explore the many regions of France to discover the missing link before landing at his final destination in Paris he visited the city of Dijon. It was here while driving through the beautiful streets the breathtaking young blonde beauty who could only be known as Coco caught his eye. With her glittering golden afro catching every ray of light, her on foot dancing through the streets. Jean-Claude knew he had found the one.
Immediately, he slowed his roll, ate a mentos, and asked coyly, "excuse me, do you have any Grey Pupon"
At which she replied ever so gently, "why, monsieur, funny you should ask. Why, yes. Yes I do."
As she extended her slender arm and the golden rays of light illuminated her fair skin, he knew, she was the one.
Coco was her name and disco was her game. As any gentlemen would, Jean-Claude offered the wind-swept, blonde beauty a refreshing effervescent afternoon delight. After all, it was 5 o'clock somewhere.
In exchange, a picnic in the park on the most perfect day ever, was agreed upon.
Hours passed, and discussions of artistic expression ensued. Coco began to sing softly in her native tongue and it was at this precise moment that Jean-Claude knew that Coco was the missing element he had sought for so long.
It didn't take long for Jean-Claude to convince Coco to run away with him to form what would become the most regal disco duo Paris would ever know.
And after traveling to Paris, Black Panther Disco was born on the steps of Montmarte.