Founded barely two years ago as the offspring of London-based nü-disco, happy house and synth pop label Tirk, Nang Records has yet to stylistically distinguish itself from its parent company. One wonders why they even bothered to create a sublabel. That said, Nang does deal with different names, from obscure newcomers like Sare Havlicek or Ichisan & Nakova and compilations mixed by the likes of Bottin or DJs in the Sky.
And there's also The Array, which looks set to become the label's yearly anthology. Its second edition flaunts an impressive, er, array of producers coming from all corners of the nü-disco galaxy while showcasing the scene's enduring pertinence and dynamism. The '80s quotient remains, as is expected, quite high. Tinpong offers a version of Duran Duran's synth pop anthem "New Religion," and putting it at the very beginning of the compilation is a clear declaration of intent. Even under its Marcus Marr remixed guise, "New Religion" keeps the full-throated original bassline and intertwines it with mischievous vocals for maximum pop-meets-disco effect. Nuuro's "Avila" has an Air's "Remember" meets Kanye West's "Welcome to Heartbreak" vibe with arpeggiated synths delicately wrestling with a vocoder that is disconsolate at first, but uplifting in the end. Slovak producer Sare Havlicek offers a convincing impersonation of Scissor Sisters on "Dreams in Light": remixed by Ray Mang, it sounds like Roisin Murphy at her most disobedient.
Then you have your mandatory bearded disco cuts: Havlicek's vocalist Hannah Mancini discretely coos her way around the "Australian Shore Dub" of D-Pulse's "On a Highway to Saturn" for the album's slo-mo apex. The Lusty Zanzibar's remix of Ichisan & Nakova's "Pionir" puts emphasis on the mingling of otherworldly synths and echo-drenched guitar that is as beachy as it is clubby.
On the more upbeat side, space disco legend Daniele Baldelli teams up with DJ Rocca for "RoBa Che Scotta," an entrancing house cut, while the Pharoh Black Magic Truth remix of "Believe," from Pete Gooding & Chris Coco is harder and more relentless: synth stabs are syncopated, darker and proves that nü-disco doesn't have to be quite so twee all the time. The Heels of Love's "Chain Gang" is also synthetically unbending, guest vocalist Max Essa offering a Gary Numan-like recitation on top of New Wave-inspired beats.
A recent compilation mixed for Ministry of Sound by Toby Tobias purported, as its title stated, to encapsulate the essence of "underground disco." And to be honest, that Tobias mix was utterly persuasive. The Array Vol. 2 is a contrasting proposition: with producers you are very unlikely to hear anywhere else, and tracks as diversified as they are intriguing, you can't help but think this is where the real underground is taking place, legitimizing Nang's very existence in extremis.
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Tracklist: Various Artists - Nang presents The Array Vol. 2 01. Tinpong – New Religion (Marcus Marr Mix)
02. Nuuro - Avila
03. Sare Havlicek – Dreams In Light (Ray Mang Attakshak Mix)
04. Proper Heat – We Are Ready (Max Essa Club Mix - Edit)
05. The Heels Of Love Feat. Max Essa – Chain Gain
06. Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca - RoBa Che Scotta
07. D-Pulse – On A Highway To Saturn (Australian Shore Dub)
08. Pete Gooding And Chris Coco Feat. Peter Coyne – Believe (Pharoh Black Magic Truth Mix - Edit)
09. Ichisan And Nakova – Pionir (Lusty Zanzibar Mix)
10. Toomy Disco - White Clouds
11. Toby Tobias - Fluffy Fruit
12. Beppe Loda Presents MC1 – Counter (Radome Mix)
13. Tapeia - ASCII
14. Lusty Zanzibar - Girl From Zanzibar (New Jersey Mix)
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