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Silver Connections: 8 Essentials of Eurodisco

Get lost in the luxurious grooves that powered Daft Punk and the Chromatics

Chuck Eddy // March 29, 2013

As disco first evolved in the U.S., it was largely R&B-based music, carrying over Motown and Philly International assembly-line slickness, gospel ecstasy, Southern soul grit, James Brown funk, Barry White bedroom schmaltz, and the extreme extended groovology pioneered by Isaac Hayes. But in Continental Europe, a style of disco developed that was notably more synthesized and austere, often sleazier or chillier or just plain sillier, than its U.S. counterpart. In other words, if rock fans building vinyl bonfires at White Sox games thought disco sounded inhuman, replacing musicianly perspiration and heart with icy technology and repetition, Eurodisco proved their point. Europe was farther from the nexus of African-American music and cursed by its own English-as-second-language traditions (Eurovision pop, home-grown art rock), and also, frequently, more immersed in Third World rhythms, as early as Belgian group the Chakachas’ faux-equatorial (and Top 10 in the U.S.) “Jungle Fever” in 1972. Eons later, Eurodisco reverberations are still being felt — in techno and its multitudinous offshoots all the way to Daft Punk and dubstep and “Harlem Shake”; in post-Electroclash superstars like Lady Gaga and Ke$ha; in the so-called “Italo-disco revival” of once-noisy indie rock bands like Glass Candy and the Chromatics. Here are eight albums from the ’70s and early ’80s you can credit, or perhaps blame, for breaking early ground.