Album Review: Horse Meat Disco IV by Horse Meat Disco
Great, Based on 5 Critics
PopMatters - 80 Based on rating 8/10
It may seem reductive, but you know the difference between when a friend makes a mix-CD for you and when a friend gives you a playlist full of a bunch of songs. It’s not just the format: it’s the intention. You know doubt know (or perhaps are someone yourself) who can make a bunch of songs a friend would like at the drop of a hat, but to make an honest-to-goodness mix-comp for someone—be it in cassette tape, burned CD, or private playlist format—well, you know that takes time and considerating.
Before they were releasing euphoric mixes of lost disco classics, Horse Meat Disco were an alternative queer club night run by a foursome of DJs. Now on their fourth compilation for retro-minded label Strut, James Hillard, Jim Stanton, Luke Howard and Severino have become an in-demand touring outfit, started their own imprint for 12-inch re-edits and earned a weekly radio show on Rinse FM. As their profile has risen, their mixes have become synonymous with crate-digging at its most idealistic.
Issued as the crew held their Sunday evening residency at Eagle London, Horse Meat Disco IV is another sportive, sleazy, educational thrill from compilers and mixers James Hillard, Luke Howard, Severino Panzetta, and Jim Stanton. Their mixing style continues to emphasize the music well over tricks, with mostly smooth and discrete transitions made from track to track. Over half of the selections date from 1977 through 1983, including a trio of deep truffles from the catalog of Miami's T.K.
After decades of vilification, disco began to gain traction in the culture once again in the early 21st century. Thanks to the productions from the likes of Daniel Wang and Metro Area, a new wave of indie rock acts and DJs began to embrace the tropes of the genre. LCD Soundsystem, !!!, and Out Hud used those rubbery basslines and tireless drums for their own productions, as did folks like Lindstrøm, Prins Thomas, and Todd Terje.
London-based DJ collective Horse Meat Disco can always be counted on to deliver the best in rare and contemporary disco, and the fourth instalment of their eponymous series doesn't disappoint. Opal's funk-driven 1983 gem "Ain't No Way," which features the sassy vocals of Brenda Watts, opens the mix, and the best cuts veer toward soulful early 1980s underground post-disco. L'Amour featuring Krystal's "Let's Make Love Tonight" is a straight-up electro-boogie classic with shimmering synthesizers that bathe the track with an erotic chill and Vallery Allington's "Stop," originating from Italy, marries cosmic Italo-disco with funky bass-driven syncopation.Bob Marley and KC & the Sunshine Band collaborator King Sporty (a.k.a.