Real Life 2LP/2CD Electropop, Italo Disco 23rd Underpass 23rd Underpass is the Italo-electropop project of Athens based musician, Costas Andriopoulos. In 2009, 23rd Underpass released their first 12'' Maxi Single, "You'll never Know / Sometimes" with the vocal talents of Taxiarhis Zolotas and arrangements by John Papagiannis on the Dutch/Italian Record Label "Iventi Records" and became a well-received debut offering. Two weeks after the release of the 12", it was gone! It's now nearing the close of 2014 and finally we have a full-length double LP and a remixed and extended version double CD. 23rd Underpass have a new home now with Nadanna Records. It is the joint venture of Nader Moumneh and Marc Schaffer. Mr. Moumneh is the man behind Electro Aggression Records known for it's complex multi-layered dark electronics and blistering old school EBM with acts like Object, Terminal State, Astma and Teardown, while Mr. Schaffer runs Anna Logue Records which is home to Twins Natalia, The Silicon Scientist and many reissues including minimal legends League Of Nations and Transparent Illusion. Both Nader and Marc found a common interest in releasing 23rd Underpass material. Behold the birth of Nadanna. The name of the label is an amalgamation of Nader and Anna. 'Real Life' is released in a double vinyl format. There are two versions. The first is the very limited moss green marble version that is limited to 180 copies and the other is the black vinyl version that is limited to 321. Both come with UV varnished gatefold sleeves with lyrics and 140 gram vinyl. All the mastering was done by the master of mastering Martin Bowes. 'Real Life' is a full-length album that expresses the reality we have to deal with each and every day. It's the struggle against bad things that happen. It is the antithesis of the virtual world we are living today through our computers. People watching behind a glass screen and view the virtual reality of the world, completely detached and withdrawn from reality. 'Real Life' is 23rd Underpass' document of the real world and the endless pylons of life we will seemingly do anything to avoid. Technology has created a world where human interaction is replaced with endless keystrokes. It's time live again! Put down the iPhones, stop texting, turn off your social media and LIVE! "Real Life (Start Living, Living Again)" kicks off the album with Giannis Dimoulas handling the vocals. Any song on the album would be a perfect way to start off the listening experience. So why not "Real Life (Start Living, Living Again)" as it also shares the name of the record? The track starts off with a quick-paced minimal beat and progresses to morph into a synthpop/Italodisco appetizer with all the catchy choruses and warm synths set to a lyrical theme of being yourself. "Planet 21" drifts into escapism. It seems to parallel something William Butler Yeats would write about. Sailing to Byzantium or The Lake Island Innisfree make reference to going somewhere better physically and/or spiritually. I get the same feeling with "Planet 21". It could be a physical or spiritual relocation. The gravity of the music pulls you completely into the journey to "Planet 21". Fiery synths and the soothing voice of Giannis propel you into the cosmos searching for your own Byzantium. "Running (Thousand Miles Away)" showcases some amazing synth arrangements by Costas Andriopoulos. The music is a bit darker and works well with Giannis' deep voice. There are references to saving your soul, the tunnel, detachment and finding a better place. All references can easily be seen as someone giving up, perhaps a form of egoistic suicide defined by Emile Durkheim. Given the overall themes of this record, I feel ultimately suicide is not an option, see track 1! "Tears In My Mind - Dream Version" changes things up a little bit with Nadia Vass sharing the vocal parts with Giannis. Dueling male and female vocals reveal a sordid relationship between two people. As bad as they are for each other the sex is great, so lets bang each other until the appetite is sated and the desire indulged! Keep repeating until you wake up. Is this real or just some perverted wet dream? Hmmmmmm. Regardless of what the song really about, it's a great song. Nadia's voice is beautiful as she calls out for one more night. She appears to be the antagonist in this story. She tortures him with anticipation, leaving him yearning for more. Poor bastard! "Because Of Me" is another super catchy Italo-synthpop sizzler. More heavily pronounced Italo love set to a steady beat with an assortment of tempo changes and sing along choruses. Also, there is another version of "Because Of Me" that is two minutes longer and is just as catchy with some added synth workings sure to enhance an already top notch original version. "Chances", like most of the lyrics seem to deal with the life events like a break up or a failed relationship. Perhaps we never really know someone until it's too late? Something happens to make a person reveal their true self, and it's not flattering. "Chances" appears to tell us of a relationship that has had it's ups and downs, and this may have been the final fight. More great synthwork pulsates through the air with a taste of dark wonder accompanied by Cinemascope's Leo Skiadas' on vocals. "My Life" keeps the Italo bus moving forward. The lyrics seem to revolve around making one's life better. "I want to conquer the world" and "I never imagine failure" take break for the relationship themes. Leo's vocals are very clear which makes the sing along even easier! "Invisible" & "Invisible - Another Version" both feature the vocals of Leo and Nadia. "Invisible" is a solid track where the beat will chill you and the voice will soothe you on your journey through the night. Both versions sound more or less the same. The only real difference I detect dwells in the time of the two tracks. The second version is about two minutes longer. "Everytime" starts off with a nice thumpy bassline followed by a dowsing of lovelorn and unrequiting lyrics. The song is about missing someone in the time of need. We don't know why the lovers are not together, but it is evident something happened, most-likely a break-up......shocker! Nadia's amazing and captivating voice really adds more dimension to every track she is featured on. It's very addicting and complimented nicely by Costas' music. Nadia gets full vocals duties on "The Boy Within" & "Remember". "The Boy Within" caresses us with its killer keys and airy rhythms set to subject matter that deals with a past vision or an old picture of a child. The song yields a Blake-like theme reminiscent of 'The Echoing Green' by explaining the way the innocence of the child morphs into the experience of the child. We wonder what has become of the child. Happy?, sad?, we don't really know. What we do know is that we all have a time to live and we need to do it before we get old and realize we never really lived in the first place. "Remember" keeps us in the flow of 'Real Life' as the journey moves forward we are introduced to another heart-warming tale of a lost love leaving an empty place in one's heart. One way to forget about all the heart-break is to grab some drinks at the nightclub and dance the night away. "The Night Has Come" is painted over with an 80's persona with a heavy emphasis on the keyboard and a faint guitar that drifts in then hides within the composition. The DJ is galvanizing the crowds to get on the dance floor and go nuts for Italo disco music until the dark of the night gives way to dawn's light. "You'll Never Know" & "Sometimes - Another Version" are two Italo dance stunners that originally appeared on the debut 12" over five years ago. The versions here for "Sometimes - Another Version" seems to be the same from the 12", but "You'll Never Know" is a bit shorter. Regardless of what the exact version these two songs are, they are the two songs that became the genesis of 23rd Underpass. Prior to the unleashing of the monsterous 'Real Life', these tracks could be found not only on the 2009 debut vinyl, but also on various compilations such as 'Venti' 2CD featuring Italo greats such Fred Ventura and Ken Laszlo. After the 12" debut, which sold out immediately, vocalist Taxiarhis Zolotas took his talents elsewhere, hence the assorted vocalists used throughout the last five years. Every track helped spawn the mission statement of Nadanna, an "Indie label dedicated to blurring the lines between minimal synth, Italo disco, and electropop". 23rd Underpass really found a nice balance between synthpop and Italo disco. As we move on to the double CD we get ready to explore the 23rd Underpass 'Real Life' experience in different ways. The 2CD version contains extended versions of the LP tracks and a who's who of remixers that are hand picked by Nader to display the best re workings in their Italo wonder. Nothing from the vinyl versions appear on the 2CD. The extended versions are found on the first CD. Most of the tracks on this disc are featured on the 2LP version in their original form. There really isn't anything on this disc that will take you somewhere the 2LP version didn't. The playing time of the songs are generally in the 6-8 minute range. I can see this disc really being formatted for person that can't seem to find the strength to purchase vinyl. Fair enough, because you get most of the tracks anyway, and they are a bit longer to extend the listening pleasure. "Because Of Me" clocks in at over 9 minutes with last 3 minutes taking us into synth bliss. "Tears In My Mind" and "Everytime" both help bolster this disc with versions cracking the 8 minute mark. Selofan is the first of all the remixers on disc 2 to showcase their vision. Like 23rd Underpass, Selofan are also from Greece. The duo is known for their moody melancholy style of minimal electro. Selofan strip down the track "Real Life" into murky dark and echoing version that sounds like it was recorded at the bottom of a deep well. Selofan captured our attention with their debut cassette on Vocoder Tapes and solidified their existence with their album 'Verboten' on Fabrika and Mecanica Records. The Sweeps are an excellent act out of Hamburg that play a very solid style of electropop with Italo influences. "Planet 21" is their mission. Aside from a few tweaks, there isn't anything too distinct here that the casual listener will pick up on. You get a very nice version of "Planet 21" that is similar to the LP version. The Sweeps just released 'Cascading Styles - The Best So Far' 2CDr. This will certainly cater to the Italo freak that needs to catch up with The Sweeps! Tony Marinello, a long time veteran of the Hi-NRG scene of the 80's, 90's and beyond, takes us all to school with his amazing remix of "Running (Thousand Miles Away)". Tony is known for his work with Bobby Orlando as well as being a well-documented composer for Tony Caso, Nancy Dean, Legstacy etc. Tony has written, composed, produced and performed on 100's and 100's of songs. Tony's Hi-NRG background and massive collection of over 150 synths and drum machines propel "Running (A Thousand Miles Away)" to another very distinctive level with his use of hardware synthesizers to achieve the mid 80's feel Tony was looking for when he created his mix to the track. Tony used Linndrum MKII for Drums, Simmons SDS7 drum rack for toms, Yamaha DX21 for bass, Roland JD800 for chords & synthpads, in addition he used a few softsynths like Hybrid & Xpand! for the extra blips & bleeps, and all synced and sequenced using protools HD. Tony is currently working on a new TMGuy spacesynth track for Marek Kolodynski's Space Sound Records XMAS comp for 2014 as well as two new remixes for Energise Records artist, Peter Wilson. There will also be one new remix for UK NRG diva, Hazell Dean and also a follow up to the original single for ex The Flirts, Debra Gaynor to be released in January 2015. Another unbelievable remix is done by Ralf Henrich under his Westside/ZYX moniker Axodry. Axodry has always been a top artist for me personally so naturally I was very excited to hear what Ralf is up to with Axodry these days. Axodry turn up bass and the pace to create a more robust sound than the original 2LP version. The bass reminds of "The Time Is Right (12" Mix) from 1985. Wow! Ralf has been busy with his reboot of Robotiko Rejekto and hopefully he finds some time for more Axodry! This is sweeeeet!!!! "Because Of Me", "My Life" and "The Night Has Come" showcase some very cool remixes by Sweden's SwedIT. Krister Petersson is the main man behind SwedIT. He has played in many bands, most noteworthy, Vision Talk and Chinese Theatre. He definitely has a flair for synthpop with a touch of dirty Italo disco splattered about. All three remixes are fantastic. They, like most of the remixes are bit more upbeat with a little jolt to the bass. "The Night Has Come" is my favorite of the three by SwedIT. The altered composition commands our attention to the details with what I assume to be different brands of synths which give way to the alternative sounds not found on the LP versions. There is also a synth piece the reoccurs throughout the track after the second minute. It sounds similar to the Japanese instrument, the Shamisen, but obviously completely synthetic in nature. A nice touch to keep the seemingly endless versions of every song fresh. The Canadian new wave/synthpop act Techniques Berlin have kept collectors busy try to find all of their music. Fabrika Records out of Greece, released a compilation of Techniques Berlin tracks titled "Suburban Playgrounds And Concrete Beaches" on vinyl. Only 300 were made, so there is still a demand to find that release as well as their Back Issue CDs. Songs like "Scarlet Woman" and "Metropolis" are favorites of the DJs and fans, and are too good to stay secret. It's nice to see Andreas Gregor keeping Techniques Berlin alive. "Chances" immediately enchants our senses with Techniques Berlin's style in the mix. Throbbing basslines and pronounced new wave influences blast us into another world of creative interpretation. Sandro Codazzi is a Swiss electro house Italo-synthpop producer. Besides his self titled release from 2011, he has done some remixes, most notably with Italo disco wizard Fred Ventura. Codazzi's version of "Everytime" is a welcome addition to the renditions. The vocals are treated slightly with some effects and and music tends be a bit more uptempo than the LP version. More Italo magic via Riccardo Campa comes through our listening highways. Ricky takes on the vocal duties for "The Boy Within". Just another solid addition to the 23rd Underpass release. Ricky has been creating Italo music for many years. He has been associated with Finland's Flashback Records, a label dedicated to Italo disco. The LP versions feature Nadia's beautiful voice. Most of us would be content to leave it alone but, an all male vocal version by Ricky isn't a bad thing at all. Denmark's Flemming Dalum is a renowned collector and historian of Italo disco records. He is also known for his DJ mixes and helping to promote Italo music to the new generation of producers. His mix is laced with swarming synthesizers that swirl in some new sounds to "Remember" making this the best version of this track. Well done Mr. Dalum! Last but not least is Sweden's Tobias Bernstrup. He has released 4 albums and several 12"s on various labels. His music is full of hi-powered dance beats coupled with well crafted song writing. Tobias sets the tone to bridge the synthpop influence to the Italo disco influence. Both tracks "You'll Never Know" and "Sometimes" originally appeared on the 2009 debut 12" are amped up and littered with Tobias' signature and unmistakeable sound. He is amongst the best at blurring the lines of the genres. As always, people that read reviews always look for points of reference. For those not overly familiar with Italo disco looking for a starting point I suggest looking into the artists on Anna Logue Records as well as exploring Italo staples like C.C. Catch, Gazebo, Koto, 'Lectric Workers, M & G, Fred Ventura, Fockewulf 190, Ken Laszlo, The Hurricanes, Den Harrow, Tobias Bernstrup and so on. There are other labels like Telefuture and Werkstatt Recordings that uncover artists that push the boundries of synthwave and outrun into Italo directions. 23rd Underpass have a lot in common with elders as well as the modern artists. Imagine taking your favorite parts of these great artists and meshing them with your own ideas and creative output. I believe 'Real Life' is what you would get. Costas had a vision, and he brought it to life! It is obvious that the years of labor and love have paid off. Costas Andriopoulos and company have created an amazing collection of music and art on the 'Real Life' the 2LP/2CD experience on Nadanna Records. This will serve as an important document to help bridge the gap between Italo disco and other electronic genres. You haven't heard the last of 23rd Underpass or Nadanna. More releases are already planned. Stay tuned. 550
Brutal Resonance

23rd Underpass - Real Life 2LP/2CD

23rd Underpass is the Italo-electropop project of Athens based musician, Costas Andriopoulos. In 2009, 23rd Underpass released their first 12'' Maxi Single, "You'll never Know / Sometimes" with the vocal talents of Taxiarhis Zolotas and arrangements by John Papagiannis on the Dutch/Italian Record Label "Iventi Records" and became a well-received debut offering. Two weeks after the release of the 12", it was gone! It's now nearing the close of 2014 and finally we have a full-length double LP and a remixed and extended version double CD.

23rd Underpass have a new home now with Nadanna Records. It is the joint venture of Nader Moumneh and Marc Schaffer. Mr. Moumneh is the man behind Electro Aggression Records known for it's complex multi-layered dark electronics and blistering old school EBM with acts like Object, Terminal State, Astma and Teardown, while Mr. Schaffer runs Anna Logue Records which is home to Twins Natalia, The Silicon Scientist and many reissues including minimal legends League Of Nations and Transparent Illusion. Both Nader and Marc found a common interest in releasing 23rd Underpass material. Behold the birth of Nadanna. The name of the label is an amalgamation of Nader and Anna.

'Real Life' is released in a double vinyl format. There are two versions. The first is the very limited moss green marble version that is limited to 180 copies and the other is the black vinyl version that is limited to 321. Both come with UV varnished gatefold sleeves with lyrics and 140 gram vinyl. All the mastering was done by the master of mastering Martin Bowes.

'Real Life' is a full-length album that expresses the reality we have to deal with each and every day. It's the struggle against bad things that happen. It is the antithesis of the virtual world we are living today through our computers. People watching behind a glass screen and view the virtual reality of the world, completely detached and withdrawn from reality. 'Real Life' is 23rd Underpass' document of the real world and the endless pylons of life we will seemingly do anything to avoid. Technology has created a world where human interaction is replaced with endless keystrokes. It's time live again! Put down the iPhones, stop texting, turn off your social media and LIVE!

"Real Life (Start Living, Living Again)" kicks off the album with Giannis Dimoulas handling the vocals. Any song on the album would be a perfect way to start off the listening experience. So why not "Real Life (Start Living, Living Again)" as it also shares the name of the record? The track starts off with a quick-paced minimal beat and progresses to morph into a synthpop/Italodisco appetizer with all the catchy choruses and warm synths set to a lyrical theme of being yourself.

"Planet 21" drifts into escapism. It seems to parallel something William Butler Yeats would write about. Sailing to Byzantium or The Lake Island Innisfree make reference to going somewhere better physically and/or spiritually. I get the same feeling with "Planet 21". It could be a physical or spiritual relocation. The gravity of the music pulls you completely into the journey to "Planet 21". Fiery synths and the soothing voice of Giannis propel you into the cosmos searching for your own Byzantium.

"Running (Thousand Miles Away)" showcases some amazing synth arrangements by Costas Andriopoulos. The music is a bit darker and works well with Giannis' deep voice. There are references to saving your soul, the tunnel, detachment and finding a better place. All references can easily be seen as someone giving up, perhaps a form of egoistic suicide defined by Emile Durkheim. Given the overall themes of this record, I feel ultimately suicide is not an option, see track 1!

"Tears In My Mind - Dream Version" changes things up a little bit with Nadia Vass sharing the vocal parts with Giannis. Dueling male and female vocals reveal a sordid relationship between two people. As bad as they are for each other the sex is great, so lets bang each other until the appetite is sated and the desire indulged! Keep repeating until you wake up. Is this real or just some perverted wet dream? Hmmmmmm. Regardless of what the song really about, it's a great song. Nadia's voice is beautiful as she calls out for one more night. She appears to be the antagonist in this story. She tortures him with anticipation, leaving him yearning for more. Poor bastard!

"Because Of Me" is another super catchy Italo-synthpop sizzler. More heavily pronounced Italo love set to a steady beat with an assortment of tempo changes and sing along choruses. Also, there is another version of "Because Of Me" that is two minutes longer and is just as catchy with some added synth workings sure to enhance an already top notch original version.

"Chances", like most of the lyrics seem to deal with the life events like a break up or a failed relationship. Perhaps we never really know someone until it's too late? Something happens to make a person reveal their true self, and it's not flattering. "Chances" appears to tell us of a relationship that has had it's ups and downs, and this may have been the final fight. More great synthwork pulsates through the air with a taste of dark wonder accompanied by Cinemascope's Leo Skiadas' on vocals.

"My Life" keeps the Italo bus moving forward. The lyrics seem to revolve around making one's life better. "I want to conquer the world" and "I never imagine failure" take break for the relationship themes. Leo's vocals are very clear which makes the sing along even easier!

"Invisible" & "Invisible - Another Version" both feature the vocals of Leo and Nadia. "Invisible" is a solid track where the beat will chill you and the voice will soothe you on your journey through the night. Both versions sound more or less the same. The only real difference I detect dwells in the time of the two tracks. The second version is about two minutes longer.

"Everytime" starts off with a nice thumpy bassline followed by a dowsing of lovelorn and unrequiting lyrics. The song is about missing someone in the time of need. We don't know why the lovers are not together, but it is evident something happened, most-likely a break-up......shocker! Nadia's amazing and captivating voice really adds more dimension to every track she is featured on. It's very addicting and complimented nicely by Costas' music.

Nadia gets full vocals duties on "The Boy Within" & "Remember". "The Boy Within" caresses us with its killer keys and airy rhythms set to subject matter that deals with a past vision or an old picture of a child. The song yields a Blake-like theme reminiscent of 'The Echoing Green' by explaining the way the innocence of the child morphs into the experience of the child. We wonder what has become of the child. Happy?, sad?, we don't really know. What we do know is that we all have a time to live and we need to do it before we get old and realize we never really lived in the first place. "Remember" keeps us in the flow of 'Real Life' as the journey moves forward we are introduced to another heart-warming tale of a lost love leaving an empty place in one's heart.

One way to forget about all the heart-break is to grab some drinks at the nightclub and dance the night away. "The Night Has Come" is painted over with an 80's persona with a heavy emphasis on the keyboard and a faint guitar that drifts in then hides within the composition. The DJ is galvanizing the crowds to get on the dance floor and go nuts for Italo disco music until the dark of the night gives way to dawn's light.

"You'll Never Know" & "Sometimes - Another Version" are two Italo dance stunners that originally appeared on the debut 12" over five years ago. The versions here for "Sometimes - Another Version" seems to be the same from the 12", but "You'll Never Know" is a bit shorter. Regardless of what the exact version these two songs are, they are the two songs that became the genesis of 23rd Underpass. Prior to the unleashing of the monsterous 'Real Life', these tracks could be found not only on the 2009 debut vinyl, but also on various compilations such as 'Venti' 2CD featuring Italo greats such Fred Ventura and Ken Laszlo. After the 12" debut, which sold out immediately, vocalist Taxiarhis Zolotas took his talents elsewhere, hence the assorted vocalists used throughout the last five years. Every track helped spawn the mission statement of Nadanna, an "Indie label dedicated to blurring the lines between minimal synth, Italo disco, and electropop". 23rd Underpass really found a nice balance between synthpop and Italo disco.

As we move on to the double CD we get ready to explore the 23rd Underpass 'Real Life' experience in different ways. The 2CD version contains extended versions of the LP tracks and a who's who of remixers that are hand picked by Nader to display the best re workings in their Italo wonder. Nothing from the vinyl versions appear on the 2CD. The extended versions are found on the first CD. Most of the tracks on this disc are featured on the 2LP version in their original form. There really isn't anything on this disc that will take you somewhere the 2LP version didn't. The playing time of the songs are generally in the 6-8 minute range. I can see this disc really being formatted for person that can't seem to find the strength to purchase vinyl. Fair enough, because you get most of the tracks anyway, and they are a bit longer to extend the listening pleasure. "Because Of Me" clocks in at over 9 minutes with last 3 minutes taking us into synth bliss. "Tears In My Mind" and "Everytime" both help bolster this disc with versions cracking the 8 minute mark.

Selofan is the first of all the remixers on disc 2 to showcase their vision. Like 23rd Underpass, Selofan are also from Greece. The duo is known for their moody melancholy style of minimal electro. Selofan strip down the track "Real Life" into murky dark and echoing version that sounds like it was recorded at the bottom of a deep well. Selofan captured our attention with their debut cassette on Vocoder Tapes and solidified their existence with their album 'Verboten' on Fabrika and Mecanica Records.

The Sweeps are an excellent act out of Hamburg that play a very solid style of electropop with Italo influences. "Planet 21" is their mission. Aside from a few tweaks, there isn't anything too distinct here that the casual listener will pick up on. You get a very nice version of "Planet 21" that is similar to the LP version. The Sweeps just released 'Cascading Styles - The Best So Far' 2CDr. This will certainly cater to the Italo freak that needs to catch up with The Sweeps!

Tony Marinello, a long time veteran of the Hi-NRG scene of the 80's, 90's and beyond, takes us all to school with his amazing remix of "Running (Thousand Miles Away)". Tony is known for his work with Bobby Orlando as well as being a well-documented composer for Tony Caso, Nancy Dean, Legstacy etc. Tony has written, composed, produced and performed on 100's and 100's of songs. Tony's Hi-NRG background and massive collection of over 150 synths and drum machines propel "Running (A Thousand Miles Away)" to another very distinctive level with his use of hardware synthesizers to achieve the mid 80's feel Tony was looking for when he created his mix to the track. Tony used Linndrum MKII for Drums, Simmons SDS7 drum rack for toms, Yamaha DX21 for bass, Roland JD800 for chords & synthpads, in addition he used a few softsynths like Hybrid & Xpand! for the extra blips & bleeps, and all synced and sequenced using protools HD. Tony is currently working on a new TMGuy spacesynth track for Marek Kolodynski's Space Sound Records XMAS comp for 2014 as well as two new remixes for Energise Records artist, Peter Wilson. There will also be one new remix for UK NRG diva, Hazell Dean and also a follow up to the original single for ex The Flirts, Debra Gaynor to be released in January 2015.

Another unbelievable remix is done by Ralf Henrich under his Westside/ZYX moniker Axodry. Axodry has always been a top artist for me personally so naturally I was very excited to hear what Ralf is up to with Axodry these days. Axodry turn up bass and the pace to create a more robust sound than the original 2LP version. The bass reminds of "The Time Is Right (12" Mix) from 1985. Wow! Ralf has been busy with his reboot of Robotiko Rejekto and hopefully he finds some time for more Axodry! This is sweeeeet!!!!

"Because Of Me", "My Life" and "The Night Has Come" showcase some very cool remixes by Sweden's SwedIT. Krister Petersson is the main man behind SwedIT. He has played in many bands, most noteworthy, Vision Talk and Chinese Theatre. He definitely has a flair for synthpop with a touch of dirty Italo disco splattered about. All three remixes are fantastic. They, like most of the remixes are bit more upbeat with a little jolt to the bass. "The Night Has Come" is my favorite of the three by SwedIT. The altered composition commands our attention to the details with what I assume to be different brands of synths which give way to the alternative sounds not found on the LP versions. There is also a synth piece the reoccurs throughout the track after the second minute. It sounds similar to the Japanese instrument, the Shamisen, but obviously completely synthetic in nature. A nice touch to keep the seemingly endless versions of every song fresh.

The Canadian new wave/synthpop act Techniques Berlin have kept collectors busy try to find all of their music. Fabrika Records out of Greece, released a compilation of Techniques Berlin tracks titled "Suburban Playgrounds And Concrete Beaches" on vinyl. Only 300 were made, so there is still a demand to find that release as well as their Back Issue CDs. Songs like "Scarlet Woman" and "Metropolis" are favorites of the DJs and fans, and are too good to stay secret. It's nice to see Andreas Gregor keeping Techniques Berlin alive. "Chances" immediately enchants our senses with Techniques Berlin's style in the mix. Throbbing basslines and pronounced new wave influences blast us into another world of creative interpretation.

Sandro Codazzi is a Swiss electro house Italo-synthpop producer. Besides his self titled release from 2011, he has done some remixes, most notably with Italo disco wizard Fred Ventura. Codazzi's version of "Everytime" is a welcome addition to the renditions. The vocals are treated slightly with some effects and and music tends be a bit more uptempo than the LP version.

More Italo magic via Riccardo Campa comes through our listening highways. Ricky takes on the vocal duties for "The Boy Within". Just another solid addition to the 23rd Underpass release. Ricky has been creating Italo music for many years. He has been associated with Finland's Flashback Records, a label dedicated to Italo disco. The LP versions feature Nadia's beautiful voice. Most of us would be content to leave it alone but, an all male vocal version by Ricky isn't a bad thing at all.

Denmark's Flemming Dalum is a renowned collector and historian of Italo disco records. He is also known for his DJ mixes and helping to promote Italo music to the new generation of producers. His mix is laced with swarming synthesizers that swirl in some new sounds to "Remember" making this the best version of this track. Well done Mr. Dalum!

Last but not least is Sweden's Tobias Bernstrup. He has released 4 albums and several 12"s on various labels. His music is full of hi-powered dance beats coupled with well crafted song writing. Tobias sets the tone to bridge the synthpop influence to the Italo disco influence. Both tracks "You'll Never Know" and "Sometimes" originally appeared on the 2009 debut 12" are amped up and littered with Tobias' signature and unmistakeable sound. He is amongst the best at blurring the lines of the genres.

As always, people that read reviews always look for points of reference. For those not overly familiar with Italo disco looking for a starting point I suggest looking into the artists on Anna Logue Records as well as exploring Italo staples like C.C. Catch, Gazebo, Koto, 'Lectric Workers, M & G, Fred Ventura, Fockewulf 190, Ken Laszlo, The Hurricanes, Den Harrow, Tobias Bernstrup and so on. There are other labels like Telefuture and Werkstatt Recordings that uncover artists that push the boundries of synthwave and outrun into Italo directions.

23rd Underpass have a lot in common with elders as well as the modern artists. Imagine taking your favorite parts of these great artists and meshing them with your own ideas and creative output. I believe 'Real Life' is what you would get. Costas had a vision, and he brought it to life!

It is obvious that the years of labor and love have paid off. Costas Andriopoulos and company have created an amazing collection of music and art on the 'Real Life' the 2LP/2CD experience on Nadanna Records. This will serve as an important document to help bridge the gap between Italo disco and other electronic genres. You haven't heard the last of 23rd Underpass or Nadanna. More releases are already planned. Stay tuned.
Dec 04 2014

Luke Jacobs

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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Shortly about us

Started in spring 2009, Brutal Resonance quickly grew from a Swedish based netzine into an established International zine of the highest standard.

We cover genres like Synthpop, EBM, Industrial, Dark Ambient, Neofolk, Darkwave, Noise and all their sub- and similar genres.

© Brutal Resonance 2009-2016
Designed by and developed by Head of Mímir 2016