Monday, August 04, 2014

Don't let it go..

Ray Vista - Don't Let It Go
Ray Vista - Don't Let It Go (Extra Time Mix)
Ray Vista - Don't Let It Go (Instrumental)

Note (8/5/14): Corrected Instrumental link

Sometimes I bristle whenever I hear late disco records from Quebec offhandedly lumped in as Italo, however with the melodic, synth-based (not quite as heavy on the arpeggios as actual Italo, but still there) production and the Italian names in the credits, one would be hard pressed to actually deny the similarity and continuity between a great many of them. Will Straw, professor of Art History and Communications Studies at Montreal's McGill University wrote a journal article on the very subject in 2008 called "Music from the Wrong Place: On the Italianicity of Quebec Disco" (pdf file), which is fully available online and well worth a read for anyone interested in the subject. To steal a quote from a ten year old Todd Burns review (which Straw had used in his article), "if the pedants are going to call it Canadian Disco, no one is listening.."

That aside, this single here by a one Ray Vista is perhaps one such example of that Quebec-Italo continuity. Have to say that this is one record that I had long been after, which I'd finally found recently at a local record fair. With an emotional vocal sung over a gently arpeggiated synth backing, whoever Ray Vista is; between the vocals (which are sung much more proficiently than a lot of Italo, though still with a slight giveaway on the accent), credits and producers (both of whom have Italian surnames - Biagio Farina and Dominic Sciullo) - if one didn't read the copyright on the label, this could have been easily situated in firm Italo territory. It should be noted that one of the producers here, Dominic Sciullo had also produced Nancy Martin's (AKA Nancy Martinez). "Can't Believe," also on the Neige label and one of the greatest examples of the same Quebecois/Italo sound. Going a little further back, Sciullo had also been involved in Carol Jiani's first record (covered here earlier - see Disco Delivery #35: Montreal featuring Uchenna Ikejiani (1979, Salsoul)).

Biagio Farina, the song's writer and co-producer posted the song YouTube not long ago, along with an iTunes link, for anyone who wishes to make a legit purchase (although both seem to be mastered a lot faster than the original 12").. These days, Farina leads a band called the Remix Orchestra, which judging from their website, plays quite a few corporate gigs and weddings in the Montreal area...

Though I can't say this record came particularly cheap, definitely one Can-Con sleeper that I'm happy to finally have in my collection.

discogs: ray vista - don't let it go (12" single)
discogs: biagio farina
discogs: dominic sciullo
discogs: neige records
mcgill institute for the study of canada - will straw
music from the wrong place: on the italianicity of quebec disco (by will straw) (pdf file - journal article - criticism, winter 2008)


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