Disco Forever (The Sound of Underground Disco) album cover
Disco Forever (The Sound of Underground Disco)

Dimitri from Paris

2000
BBE

For someone as integral to the French house scene as Dimitri Yerasimos — a man credited for helming the first dedicated house music radio program to hit the nation’s airwaves in 1986 — it’s a little elusive trying to find that particular touch in his own headline albums, which are a bit more downbeat and chillout-room jazzy compared to the uptempo likes of peers like Daft Punk or Alan Braxe. But while Sacrebleu won people over with its distinctly jet-set-’60s approach, he made just as important an impact as a curator and remixer of the classic disco that served as French house’s most distinctive reference point. Disco Forever (The Sound Of Underground Disco) is one of a handful of mixes he helmed in the early ’00s that digs deep enough into the roots that it sounds less like a lesson in influence than a blueprint for a distinct sensibility — one that skirts kitsch, but foregrounds unabashed emotion and the sense that disco’s strengths lie in its international cross-pollination. And it’s not just that most of this stuff he unearths is illuminating just because it’s obscure — cult classics like Love Committee’s Philly jam “Just As Long As I Got You” and the Universal Robot Band’s “Barely Breaking Even” are outliers amidst mostly-forgotten but fascinating alternate-universe curios like Pat Lundy’s soul-jazz-goes-disco version of “Work Song” and La Charanga 76’s Latin take on “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.” It’s that he uses this opportunity to point out just how much there really was out there to draw from beyond the usual touchstones, a collection that expands the parameters of dance music instead of just codifying and canonizing it. And if some of this seems a bit revisionist, Dimitri’s revisions can be spectacular: the way he takes Silver, Platinum and Gold’s cathartic, screaming-with-frustration unrequited-love jam “I Got a Thing” from its terse two-minutes-and-change origins into a 12"-length, Paradise Garage-worthy workout should be studied by anyone who’s ever wanted to figure out how an edit can turn a good song into a stunning one.

Nate Patrin

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