A year-and-a-half after its initial release, We Can't Fly, Aeroplane's first studio album, remains (despite a few occasional flashes of brilliance) a stylistic mess burdened by the weight of its own overbearing ambitions. Even so, Vito De Luca—now the sole producer at the Aeroplane helm—still has a lot going for himself: his rerubs of tracks like "Fool for Love," "William's Blood," "Kilometer," "Another Likely Story" and the much loved "Paris," (just to name a few) have become fêted genre-defining cuts, and his monthly podcast series has persuasively helped affirm his status as a nü-disco crate-digger and taste-maker. In Flight Entertainment takes the same aesthetics developed on these unofficial mixes and puts them on a compilation backed by prestigious Belgian imprint Eskimo.
For this In Flight Entertainment selection, De Vito has asked numerous friends to provide him with exclusive cuts, and the mix goes a long way toward proving just how much vitality still remains on the nü-disco scene. For instance, Poolside's "Take Me Home" and newcomer duo Bxentric's "Foolishness (Vocodub Mix)" both propose nice slices of salacious Balearica, while Herr Styler vaguely Orientalist arrangements on "Zero Ghosts Out the Door" impose an intriguing twist to the genre's own Eurocentric tropes. In addition, someone like Drop Out Orchestra offers a well-orchestrated disco pastiche ("It Will Never Be the Same Again") that is both skilful and immediate. The same can be said about the cleverly named Stars on 33: their "Something You Can Feel" is classically trained disco that is part Escort, part Lullabies in the Dark.
Midway, the mix switches gear and enters danceier Italo territories. Martin Dubka's "Through Thorns to the Stars" goes for alarmist laser sounds and the kind of over-the-top male choir backing vocals last heard on The KLF's "America: What Time is Love," while "Save Me Now," De Luca's new offering especially recorded for this mix, is Aeroplane at its uplifting, silly best. The likes of Kolombo, RipTide and Cosmonauts all go for rousing Italo, and James Curd and Moonlight Matters puts an end to this merry get-together with the blazing "Let's Burn It All" and the string-laden and exuberant (and very Aeroplane sounding, actually) "Say a Lot." The mix's arc might be very traditionalist (starts slow, ends on a high, stirring note), but it is one Aeroplane has the skills to keep absorbing and engaging.
In terms of selection, In Flight Entertainment is fresh and underground in the best sense of the word. It never has a dull moment, and it oozes creativity and an overall sense of unadulterated glee. The mixing skills displayed here might be functional at best (no awkward transitions, but no daring superposition or intricate in-key sewing either), but that only serves to enhance the attention given by De Vito to the music itself.
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Tracklist: Aeroplane - In Flight Entertainment 01. Poolside - Take Me Home
02. Bxentric - Foolishness (Vocodub Mix)
03. Herr Styler - Zero Ghosts Out the Door
04. Drop Out Orchestra - It Will Never Be the Same Again
05. Martin Dubka - Through Thorns to the Stars
06. Stars On 33 - Something You Can Feel
07. Aeroplane - Save Me Now
08. Kolombo feat. Michael Parker - Daylight
09. RipTide - Sophie
10. Cosmonauts - Snakes Head
11. Oliver - Memories of the Future
12. James Curd feat. Devin Byrnes - Let's Burn It All
13. Moonlight Matters - Say a Lot
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