Blow Up, POPSCENE, & Mezzanine Presents
Aeroplane, Flight Facilities
Plastic Plates, Jeffrey Paradise, Aaron Axelsen, BT Magnum
444 Jessie St
San Francisco, CA, 94103
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.
Trinidad? Tobago? Sydney? Antarctica? It doesn't matter where they're from. They're here. And it's about time. Flight Facilities have beat about the bush and the globe for long enough. "Why not us?" the listeners said. Was it a visa issue? Was it because the 'Antarctican' passports were incredibly hard to obtain? Or was it because they didn't realise the listeners were actually saying "Why not U.S?" Reading skills aside, here's what we do know: The duo has already released official remixes for the likes of Holy Ghost!, Cut Copy, Bag Raiders, The C90s, James Curd, The Lowbrows, Sneaky Sound System & Toecutter.
Their first single, "Crave You" featuring Giselle, has notched many achievements from an inclusion in an Aeroplane bootleg mix, a nomination at the Denmark Dance Music Awards, a SMAC Award nomination, a tip of the hat from Perez Hilton and placing No.19 in the world biggest music poll, Triple Js Hottest 100 (1.3 Million votes cast). Followed by the sophomore single, "Foreign Language" featuring Jess Higgs, Flight Facilities gained support from some of the finest in the world - plays from Jamie Jones, Art Department, Spins by BBCs Annie Mac, Jaymo & Andy, Fearne Cotton, and more.
Flight Facilities will be touring North & South America in March & April with stops in Brazil, Colombia, Chile, the United States, Dominican Republic, and Mexico. Full tour dates below.
Plastic Plates is the Dj/disco producer alias of Felix Bloxsom. Originally hailing from Sydney Australia, Felix is now based in Los Angeles.
Plastic Plates' distinct sound has attracted both indie, dance and mainstream pop artists to commission remixes from Felix. These artists include Adele, Sia, Body Language, The Human League, Sneaky Sound System, The Magician, Katy Perry and Mark Ronson.
The Magician, who regularly features Felix's remixes in his popular Magic Tapes, chose Mark Ronson – Record Collection 2012 (Plastic Plates Remix) in his top 10 remixes for 2011. Adele – Set Fire To The Rain (Plastic Plates Remix) was included in Aeroplane's best remixes of 2011 mixtape.
As a DJ Felix has performed in the USA, Europe, Mexico, Japan and Australia and has shared the stage with artists such as Breakbot, The Magician, Classixx, Etienne De Crecy, Mickey, U-tern, RAC and Bag Raiders.
Stay tuned for new original releases and plenty more remixes in 2012!
Live 105 Music Director, DJ, host radio shows Soundcheck & Subsonic, throw parties at Popscene & Leisure San Francisco.
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