For this week’s Throwback Thursday we go right back to 1981, and one of the tracks that symbolised the morphing of disco into Hi-NRG, a genre that continues to influence dance music today.

In the late 1970s, producer Patrick Cowley‘s work on Sylvester’s Step II album (as well as an epic 15 minute megamix of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love) gave the young San Francisco producer a pedestal from which to launch a solo career.

In 1981, Cowley released the Menergy EP on Fusion Records, with its title track still one of the most influential of the short-lived Hi-NRG wave.

Opening with Vangelis-style lushness, the track descends into a pulsing electro riff that sounds straight off Daft Punk’s latest album – one can only imagine what it sounded like at the Paradise Garage, or similar timeless venues of the era.

The drop at 4:04 is pretty special too. 🙂

[Edit: for those of us that went clubbing in the late 90s, if you think the riff sounds familiar, you’d be right, it’s the main riff from Saints and Sinners’ Pushin Too Hard, released in 1999]

Sadly, Cowley never got the opportunity to build on the success of Menergy, and the well-received Megatron Man album that followed; in November 1982, he died at the age of 32, an early victim of the then-relatively unknown AIDS virus. His music, however, lives on…

[Kudos to Milentije Kindlovski for the video upload, picture source Wikimedia Commons]

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