Disco Inferno - In Debt
Originally released in 1992 by Che Records, Disco Inferno‰۪s debut album ‰Û÷In Debt' is to be made available as a double limited edition vinyl LP and single cd package including one previously unreleased track and with new artwork and sleeve notes by 90‰۪s music zeitgeist legend Neil Kulkarni on May 5th 2017.
Almost entirely out on their own, out of step with the times, Disco Inferno were widely ignored and underappreciated during their (pre-internet) existence. Remaining largely unknown beyond a small but slowly expanding cult of devotees, they were probably the most ambitious and isolated band of the '90s. Over a six-year span (1989-95) they were also quite simply, jaw-droppingly great - a virtually peerless group mining a steady stream of uncompromising, pioneering recordings. One of the first wave of 'post-rock' acts (and perhaps it‰۪s ultimate example), they combined avant-garde aesthetics with a basis in solid pop hooks, credibly depicting suburban alienation and national decay through embittered, intelligent lyrics.
Whilst it's now almost second nature for a band to incorporate digital technology into their armoury, you'd struggle to find anyone who went anything like as far as Disco Inferno. In 1992, they took the quantum leap from their modest beginnings to totally rewire themselves and become the most radical, forward-thinking guitar band on the planet, with a revolutionary sample-based approach that was simply years ahead of the curve. Whilst numerous acts were making use of the sampler and MIDI technology, no other band integrated it so thoroughly into the process. DI didn't simply tack on a dance beat or spice things up with the addition of a few novel sonics or quirky quotations. The technology was hard-wired into the very heart of their music. Veering between the deeply challenging and the downright catchy, they continually attempted to push themselves forwards, resulting in two unrivalled albums and a dazzling collection of EPs that consistently redefined the boundaries.
Regardless of the injustices of history, Disco Inferno were without doubt a trailblazing, unique, utterly important band. With huge ambition and integrity, they rejected the easy routes and rewards. Setting themselves directly against the stylistic regression and rabble-rousing bluster dominating Britpop and grunge, against the bland facelessness of so much of the dance / electronic scene, Disco Inferno ought to have been widely championed as an antidote, a vital blast of nonconformist bravery and brilliance. In reality they received very little coverage. Buried away for way too long, their recorded legacy continues to offer revelations to the open-eared and actively inquisitive. Whilst it may have been their curse to have been overlooked throughout and long past their short existence, the chances of some overdue recognition rescuing them from the limbo of obscurity have nonetheless recently risen. Certainly more popular now than they were during their creative peak, you might detect either direct influence or certain similarities in the likes of MGMT, The Third Eye Foundation, Hood, Epic45, Piano Magic, Deerhunter (particularly offshoot projects, Lotus Plaza and Atlas Sound), Matmos, Animal Collective, Black Dice, The Avalanches, The Books, Battles, and No Age. But no-one has really come close to replicating their awesome output and utterly singular aesthetic. Whilst digital music technology has evolved dramatically, becoming smaller, faster, cheaper, and consequently far more widespread, Disco Inferno's inspired approach and consequent sound seems unlikely to ever be reproduced without seriously compromising its futurist spirit. Littered as pop history is with unsung heroes and buried brilliance, few bands are so deserving of such recovery as Disco Inferno.
‰ÛÏThe whole is much greater than the sum of its parts‰Û_ one of the most creative uses of sampling I‰۪ve ever heard. It sounds like the future. I‰۪m still figuring out just how cool they are.‰ Ben Goldwasser, MGMT quoted in Q Magazine, January 2011
‰ÛÏAn unimpeachably brilliant treasure‰ ****Stephen Worthy, Mojo
‰ÛÏEven now sound bewilderingly, excitingly innovative‰ ****Wyndham Wallace, Uncut
‰ÛÏStill sounds timeless and fresh‰ The Wire