Ghibli – I’m Looking for You (Dark Entries, April 2016)

By now, lovers of Italo and Dark Entries have both almost come to expect the label’s traditional ‘Springtime hamper’ collecting three unmissable Italo 12’’ you’ve had pounding in your ears for decades. Seemingly always three of the Italo singles that you’ve seen go off on Discogs at prices that made you feel heartbroken, deserving and poor. This year’s bouquet is probably the best assorted so far, containing the sociologically and emotionally brilliant Are You Loving? by Brand Image, the monumental Italo folk tale that is Dario dell’Aere’sEagles in the Night and this, Ghibli’s I’m Looking for You. It’s the latter chosen for this column; although less beautiful, it’s something quite different, and completely glorious in just how unhinged it is.

The only testament to the existence of young Milanese Alberto Garbelli, I’m Looking for You is a rare example of maximalist, dare I say even Baroque (!) Italo Disco. Fabulously melodic driving synthline: tick (and even darker and thicker in the instrumental); overly high-pitched girl chorus: tick; relative lack of sense, albeit terribly inspired: tick. And then? And then everything happens! Ghibli (named after a Maserati and a desert wind) throws himself into an Escher painting of operatic arias, lovelorn spoken word and jazzy schizo-euphoria over driving disco chords, a sophisticated and strange multitude of influences expertly patchworked together to bring you one of the richest Italo experiences of your life. Probably the best record to contribute to the bankruptcy of its original label, the historical Italian Durium. May it bring roses, champagne and discotheques to Dark Entries.