Friday, April 21, 2006

Fly with you to the misty hills of Katmandu..

Hills of Katmandu

Tantra - Hills of Katmandu (1979, Philips) | LINK TWO

In case anyone's wondering, this week's disco delivery will be up either later tonight or sometime tomorrow, rest assured, I'm working on it.. In the meantime, I figured why not put something up, instead of leaving you all hanging. A short while ago, I got a suggestion to put up some Tantra, I figured why not just put it up now..

"Hills Of Katmandu" would easily be Tantra's biggest hit. It's one of those amazing, epic tracks that just seems to go beyond classification. An Italian production by Celso Valli (under the alias Quelli Del Castello) it could probably be described as an excellent example of European electro-disco, even an early example of both Hi-NRG and Italo Disco.. Often times it's those tracks which are in genre limbo, so to speak, that seem to be the most timeless and enduring. It was originally released in 1979, yet it would reach the States by 1980 in the early part of that oft-neglected post-disco period. Though, in my opinion, essentially a product of disco, it also seemed to encapsulate the increasingly underground direction that "disco" (as it was no longer being called) would seem to take, even foreshadowing the emergence of Hi-NRG. For me, "Hills of Katmandu" still sounds as fresh and futuristic today as it must have in 1979. It's probably no wonder why, even today, there are contemporary DJ's (Danny Howells and the Idjut Boys to name a couple) that still play this track .

Just to give an idea, at over 16 minutes, the track starts off dark and menacing; with electronic guitars; bold, layered, echoed percussion; eerie moans and those exotic synth effects. Following the intro, a female voice comes in softly, yet aggressively chanting.. "I fly with you to the misty hills of Katmandu.." The next couple of verses come in after an instrumental break.. "Packed my case, gonna leave behind this human race.. come with me, where your spirit and your mind are free.. " With a dreamy, blissful interlude following that, the drug/escapist metaphors start to become pretty obvious, particularly with those lyrics and the shifting musical themes.. After that interlude, it lapses back into it's original dark, rhythmic pattern and then back again later on. It all seems sort of symphonic in it's structure, albeit in a druggy, electronic, disco-esque sort of way.

Patrick Cowley later did a megamix of this, slightly shorter at 13 minutes (which I have yet to hear). I even heard that the hacks at Klone Records did a cover of this (for shame!). In any case, hope you enjoy this classic. Either next week, or the week after I'll have some more Tantra up on here..




Anonymous said...

Thanks for this classic; Tantra is a must have for the late 70 's disco classics lover: listen also to Top Shot, Macumba suite, Get Happy and the wonderful Tarot Suite...Looking forward for those tracks!
Thanks anyway!

Anonymous said...

I love this song - but mine's in Spanish. Really! It's the "Tantra En Espanol" single with long, spanish-language alternative mixes of both Hills of Katmandu and Wishbone (or "Camino El Destino" as it's called). It's really Tantra, not a cover, a really great, so what is the Spain - Italy connection? (yes, besides the Med.)

Anonymous said...

wishbone, next? :)

Tommy said...

Thanks max! :) "Top Shot" is one of my Tantra faves.. I have to hear Macumba and the Tarot suite one of these days..

Interesting stuff about the "Tantra en Espanol" album logan 5! I'd really love to find out how that came about too. Sounds like that album's pretty hard to find nowadays. They really have to put all of Tantra's material on CD!

Sorry anon, it won't be "Wishbone" this week.. I'll probably put up "Wishbone" some other time though :)

Ender said...

hi! friend! great post! check the spanish version ("las colinas de katmandu") in our blog.

Tommy said...

Thanks for pointing me to your blog ender! I love the mix of the Spanish version.. Great site you have there too! :)

Anonymous said...

I just heard this song this week on XM radio I had not heard this song in 25 years.. I got goose bumps and it reminded me oh how much I loved this song.....

FunkDeli said...

Hot Tracks remix is the best

Unknown said...

I'm in Kathmandu listening to it. Loved it since the 80's. I came here just because of it.

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