The Freelance Mentalists.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Nicky Siano, turntable prodigy of the early 70s, graduated from the dancefloor utopia of David Mancuso's Loft, and then set up The Gallery. Not (despite the acid, balloons, and food bar) that The Gallery's scene was (necessarily) as merely blissed out as the term "utopia" implies. In the booklet included with Soul Jazz Records' new collection, NICKY SIANO'S THE GALLERY, Nicky describes how his innovative sound system logically arrived at the space he had to work with and from.
Post-grad wiring that still hears these songs, mostly recorded when "disco" was still embryo lingo, like "punk" and "heavy metal." "We can make it," Loleata Holloway proclaims. "I can understand it," Bobby Womack decides. Can ain't canned, the deal's not done. In Gloria Spencer's gospel (the one out-and-out such here, despite the Ray Charles Express, chugging past conga lines and mutable horns, back and forth from Glory's halos and holes, on so many of these tracks),is it not said:"I got it! I don't understand it." Hallelujah! Because she's come to where she sees that she must and can and *does* say that she doesn't know, and (downwind from the Temptations' "Law Of The Land," "made by Almighty Man"), that's a fitting place to try your wings.
Fitting because: a)despite aforementioned "logic," and b)though here unmixed, so that we don't get a taste of Nicky's vaunted three-record-monte skills, these uncut cuts are c)to z) about making the most of surprises. Sometimes at the literal last minute, songs suddenly surpass "themselves"(as prematurely profiled by me). Sometimes all along, sections of other songs keep bursting through walls of plausibility and acceptance.(I like this, I think I'll keep it, and I'm well-trained, by trends/samples/beats/ideas/premises/promises, by now, to "go" with repetition.)
In either kind, any kind of song picked here, hot grapeshot and grapefruit sections of sections come whirling through the webs in my headphones; singers come singing (never as histrionically as in the historically correct Age of Disco), dancers keep dancing, DJ is the pilot, spinning is the navigator, rattling roulette (on Bonnie Bramlett's "Crazy 'Bout My Baby," the whole band's a tambourine, 'til the dobro arrives and applies slo-mo, then it's a wheel in a wheel, that just emitted sparks).
Ah yes, young people getting together. Dealing with Freedom's opportunities and frustrations. The Exciting Adventures Of My Heart! Or somebody's. Better you than me, when it comes to some of these lyrics, but we're not *that* young, we've all been there, honest! Past the dogends of the 60s, alongside the cautionary Motown strings, still skittering across mirrorshades skyscrapers, we're moving into our prime, ready for more. Tonight it's true like it never was (for one thing, I never heard or looked for this stuff back in the early 70s, or since). To Be Continued offscreen I hope.(PS: Nicky disappeared for a long time, but now he's performing again. See, Tim's book, LOVE SAVES THE DAY: A HISTORY OF AMERICAN DANCE MUSIC CULTURE, 1970-79, and, to get this CD, try for instance
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