For a while it was the perfect label… No, we’re not (yet) talking about Gomma from Munich, also an excellent address. This is about the legendary company Casablanca Records&Filmworks from Hollywood, who during the second half of the 70s literally skyrocketed and played an essential part in shaping modern disco music. Besides scoring some mega successes with their famous leading acts Donna Summer, Kiss und Village People, Casablanca revolutionized the development of electronic dance music like no other label.
When it came to style issues such as choice of photographers or cover and image design, there also was hardly any other company that could hold a candle to this Casa. In the golden era of Disco, it seemed like there was nothing Casablanca couldn’t achieve.
At first, Neil Bogart, the label’s charismatic head and circus director, had been opposed to Disco. However, when Donna Summers „Love To Love You Baby“ in a then novel 17-minute-version went through the roof, he changed his mind right away and brought the first pick of European producers to Hollywood: Giorgio Mororder, Jacques Morali, Paul Belloto and Alec Costandinos. Thus, of all places, Los Angeles became the epicentre of the synthetic style called eurodisco. And this is the cue that finally leads us from Casablanca to Gomma.
For no other label is as suited as Gomma to discover a fresh angle on the terrific flair of Casablanca. One is almost tempted to present them with a stuffed camel, in memory of the Moroccan style decorations of Casablanca’s quarters on Sunset Boulevard. Those eclectic guys from Munich have always made a point of letting their productions be influenced by the history of style and disco. When they received an offer to help themselves to stuff out of the Casablanca catalogue, they didn’t have to think twice if they wanted to do it. More difficult was the question what to choose: the Casablanca catalogue is enormous, filled with undiscovered gems and timeless evergreens. Eventually, they left it to their in-house musicians to choose which tracks they wanted to cover.
Thus, a strong mix of classics and lesser known little nuggets came about. The Phenomenal Handclap Band took care of the gay classic „Walk The Night“, originally by the Skatt Brothers. Befitting its rank, Stephanie Mills’ „You Can’t Run From My Love“ received a treatment by Munk. Telonius took on Donna Summer’s „Our Love“ and was lucky enough to get unexpected support by Harold Faltermeyer, who had written the original and now refined the new version with some analogue synthesizers. Finally, Moullinex reinterpreted what is probably the best known piece of this collection – Michael Sembellos „Maniac“ from the soundtrack of the movie „Flashdance“.
However, what really makes those four tight, top modern dance tracks cutting edge are the vocals: Canadian singer Peaches turns out to be the perfect choice, since her dazzling multiple pop persona feeds from the rich Casablanca world of Disco in a similar way as the label Gomma itself. It’s an unbeatable combination, a more than dignified new entrance for this radiant material from the golden days.
For the Reworks project Gomma is cooperating with Audiotool, THE new music production platform. Audiotool is a free, web-based service for creating, mixing and remixing audio tracks in a virtual studio. No software is needed, the only requirement is a computer with an internet connection and browser. Much effort was put in achieving a professional sound quality in the available virtual synthies and drum machines. Also, Audiotool users can connect via the community and share their songs, and even open studio environments of other users and collaborate with them. Own tracks shared via the cloud can receive feedback from the more than 100,000 Audiotool users.
Gomma and Audiotool will start a remix competition for the Casablanca Reworks on 27th January 2012. Users of Audiotool will have 4 weeks to remix the tracks using the original stems on Audiotool. Gomma / Peaches / Harold Faltermeyer will select the best 4 remixes and release them as a Casablanca Remix Maxi in April.
"Audiotool is the future of music production... it is very quick.. and you have pretty decent sounds." Harold Faltermeyer
Published: 3rd November 2011