Gianluca Pandullo, aka I-Robots, was the resident at Turin’s classic Studiodue club back in the 1980s – an iconic nightspot that blended disco, new wave, rare groove, acid, new beat and a myriad of eclectic sounds.
During its 14-year tenure, Studiodue welcomed some of the biggest names in the nascent house music scene, including Todd Terry, Frankie Knuckles, Norman Jay, Pete Heller, Terry Farley, David Morales and others, as well as playing host to influential nights such as Lorenzo LSP (Latin Superb Posse)’s PopPlanet, House Train, Double Face and the I-Robots’ Sound Of Blackness Thursday.
Now, I-Robots’ Pandullo has teamed up with his longstanding friend Lorenzo LSP on a new compilation Studiodue Future, which blends past and present influences, and a few exclusives – including an Italian vocal version of Kraftwerk’s The Robots remade by Straker Commander.
To set the tone, we asked I-Robots to identify his essential Italo Disco cuts from back in the day – get ready for some absolute classics. 🙂
“Many people think that Italo Disco came about only in the early 80s when disco become to be electronic, but the real ‘disco’ background story is much more interesting and deep and this journey started approx a decade before that,” he tells us.
“I could of course simply say that Italo Disco is everything disco that is ‘Made In Italy’ and of course from Italian artists. The new generation of DJs and young collectors have to be careful in their selection these days as not everything around ‘Italo’ is relevant or can represent this dance music genre, in my opinion.”
Giorgio Moroder – Utopia (Me Giorgio) [Oasis] – 1977
“Taken from the amazing From Here To Eternity space disco album. Elegant, magic and deep; this is absolutely a proto-house tune from the 1970s. I reworked it in 2013 and released it on MB Disco and Opilec Music with approval from Giorgio.”
Stratosferic Band – Splashdown [Voom Voom Music] – 1977
“This is Turin early space disco, influenced by the French bands Space and Rockets. I own all the Voom Voom master tapes from 2016 and I am re-releasing all of them on the Turin Dancefloor Express label.”
Munich Machine Introducing Chris Bennett – In Love With Love [Oasis] – 1978
“An epic space disco track from the maestro of the electronic disco sound, Giorgio Moroder. The tune reminds me of the sound of Vangelis in some ways and certainly elevates the listener to another dimension.”
Peter Jacques Band – Fly With The Wind [Goody Music Records] – 1978
“Proto-electronic disco from pioneer Mauro Malavasi, together with France’s Jacques Fred Petrus. The tune was re-released in 1979 by Prelude Records in a special collectable 2x12″ DJ promo pack. Savas Pascalidis unofficially reworked and released it on Kurbel during the 2000s and I exclusively re-edited his rework for Opilec Music 17 years after.”
Change – Angel In My Pocket/The Glove Of Love [Goody Music Records] – 1980
“The same team as the Peter Jacques Band but Mauro Malavasi and the guys reached an even higher level of soul disco here. These are worldwide disco anthems featuring Luther Vandross on The Glove Of Love and Jocelyn Brown on Angel In My Pocket. These tunes were also among Larry Levan’s favourites at Paradise Garage NYC.”
Firefly – Love Is Gonna Be On Your Side (Special American Remix) [Mr. Disc Organization] – 1981
“One of the few bands that represent the best Italian boogie disco funk. Maurizio “Sangy” Sangineto head of The Armed Gang and The Creatures together with Maurice Cavalieri, the man behind Charlie and I.M.S. (International Music System) gave birth to an incredible part of our disco history. For those who don’t remember, Sangy arranged the Daniele Baldelli’s Cosmic 1984 album and several cult 12″ singles for Full Time and Musix Records.”
Kasso – Kasso (Instrumental Version) [F1 Team] – 1981
“The Profondo Rosso Goblin’s man Claudio Simonetti is one of the most interesting and prolific Italo Disco composers; Giancarlo ‘Steel Mind’ Meo was his partner in several projects like Easy Going, Capricorn, Vivien Vee and Kasso. This jazzy disco tune has a special party feeling and was also used in some Italian TV programs back in the day.”
Klein & M.B.O. – Dirty Talk (USA Connection) (Instrumental) [Zanza Records] – 1982
“This is a seminal proto-house tune by Mario Boncaldo & Tony Carrasco that influenced New Order’s Blue Monday. This is Italo Disco inspired by the Afro-American hip-hop, electro and disco scenes but with a futuristic vision. During 2015, I released my Dirty Talk remake, produced together with the Piatto’s Brothers who also produced the original version, so the studio and the equipment were exactly the same used in the 80s. Donna McGhee agreed to produce the sexy vocals of the remake and Radio Slave provided a sterling remix. Donna was a bit shocked by the way he stretched out her vocals but the remix is an absolute dancefloor killer and is still fresh today after all these years.”
Gaznevada – I.C. Love Affair (Italian Version) [Italian Records] – 1983
“Here we go again with another cult Italo proto-house disco tune. A post-punk band walking on the dancefloor. They show their strong futuristic vision here and the track is as much house music in concept as it is disco. I proudly reworked it for Italian Records in 2015, the same label as the original release.”
N.O.I.A. – Stranger In A Strange Land (Club Mix) [Italian Records] – 1983
“This is one of the first records I ever bought when I was just 16 years old. This Italo-disco tune is also inspired by the Afro-American hip-hop, electro and disco scenes but with a post-punk vision. I can hear some reminiscences of Love Hangover by Diana Ross here; I also reworked it for Italian Records in 2015.”
Kirlian Camera – Edges (Instrumental Dub Version) [Italian Records] – 1984
“Kirlian Camera is one of the pioneers of the Italian electronic scene. Intense moving electronic disco synth tune that I will never remove from my vinyl bag. Other great tunes from the band are Communicate and Blue Room, both instrumental versions.”