Let’s face it; we all love a bit of Disco. There is absolutely no way that you wouldn’t find yourself grooving to a bit of Earth, Wind & Fire. There’s nothing better than moving to the classic Boogie Wonderland or Let’s Groove, am I right? Well, fast forward from the afro picks and flared trousers to the 21st century, and things have changed a fair bit.
Like most genres, Disco and Funk’s evolution have become much more noticeable with the insurgence of current producers and artists spreading it into new territories. Robin Thicke and Pharrell’s Blurred Lines brought back the vibe of Marvin Gaye’s Got to Give It Up to the audience of popular music. And who can forget the likes of the Daft Punk, the funkadelic Nile Rodgers and Pharrell collab on Lucky? Or Katy Perry’s Birthday, with its bubblegum pop infused Funk that gets you up grooving with the rest of us. A lot of popular music has found its calling to bring back the old groove that came with Disco and Funk, but it is the producers and artists revamping the styles of music, creating Nu-Disco and Nu-Funk that are the ones who are pushing the boundaries, and the ones to keep a close eye on.
2014 was a very important year for Nu-Disco and Funk, giving rise to some of the most interesting compositions and albums, like Kindness’ Otherness and Todd Terje’s It’s Album Time, putting an emphasis of the significant change happening to the genre. The year also brought us Canadian electro-funk duo Chromeo’s White Women album, peaking at No.1 on the US Dance/Electronic charts. It is no wonder that Chromeo skyrocketed in the genre, collaborating with the likes of Toro Y Moi, Ezra Koenig and Solange Knowles, who has made a similar impact on the fresh face of Nu-Funk and Disco. Their combination of 1980s boogie and light vocals, over the dreamy synths and energy of the electric guitar in their track Come Alive gives a youth to the genre; pin this with an easy-to-remember chorus and you’ve pretty much got a track to get people on their feet. Another stand out track of theirs, Somethingood, follows a similar pattern with an addictive chorus and a Disco vibe that closely resembles Patrice Rushen’s Forget Me Nots on ecstasy. This album certainly brings newness, and a fun that most albums just don’t have.
Moving into a more digital space, the obscure Nu-Disco and Nu-Funk dance their way on to the playlists via YouTube and SoundCloud. Of course, these types of tracks find their way on to compilation groups like La Belle Musique and Majestic Casual, which is great exposure for the sound itself. SoundCloud’s reach is as influential, or possibly more, in the support of the evolution to the genre. Sweden-based music blog and digital record label, Discobelle, provides its million plus followers with hour-long mixes, coursing through some of the most experimental and exciting producers who have made their mark on the Nu-Disco genre. With over 300 mixes, tracks and compilations, they are pushing forward into a more publicly consumed style of music. The success of the genre’s digital impact subsequently led to the success of producers and their remixes being compiled on to albums and sold worldwide.
To name one, the Discotexas Picnic compilation of electro-funk and Nu-Disco has successfully sold two compilation albums, both online and via CD. The roster of producers who have found themselves on these lists range from Lisbon’s Moullinex to Munich’s Justin Faust. The label, Discotexas, claims itself to be “one of the most active labels in today’s Nu-Disco/Indie Dance scene”, which is exactly what the genre needs. By way of example, and a close community of producers, the interest in the genre has grown exponentially with a flurry of young artists and budding producers following suit.
The rise of artists such as Disclosure and AlunaGeorge, with their young perspective on a classic genre has pushed it forward, producing funky fresh pieces of work. Looking back, there is a clear pathway paved for the South London trio, Disciples, who, with their track They Don’t Know being Track of the Day on BBC Radio 1, show promise in this beautifully new, and yet to be fully discovered, world of Nu-Disco.