Laserdance – The Best of Laserdance (ZYX, September 2015)

So, absolutely zero punk ideological thrust here – the kind of outfit Whitehouse would have tortured – but damn it, it’s gorgeous. ZYX seems happy to entertain itself with horrible sexy-woman, tacky house and best of Schalger compilations these days, which is perversely quite comforting. Let’s not fool ourselves: this it what Italo is, not the dreamy sophistication and playfulness we hear with our contemporary ears! However in the midst of all this, Bernhard Mikulski’s legendary ZYX label – responsible for coining the term Italo in the first place – decided to hit September with a raft of reissues from the golden age of their back catalogue, including Ken Laszlo, Scotch and this. Made of 100 per cent plastic, Laserdance is quite something.

Laserdance isn’t actually Italian but a Dutch project, started by owner of Rotterdam-based dance label Hotsound Records at the dawn of the 1980s, in typically Italo money-making fashion. The ‘best of’ compiled here chronicles all of the duo’s output that’s really worth hearing: televisual, video-gamey, tropical, cosmic you name the consumer-hunger of the time, Laserdance pander to that appetite. But as ten-a-penny as they might have been, they did what they did really well: every melody is a killer, satisfying and at times also interesting. The remix of “Fear” presented here is rhythmically generous and packed with neurosis and echoed screams, and the edit of “Future Generation”, which foregrounds the track’s foreboding childishness, is masterful. The LP closes with the band’s masterpiece, the dark and hammering yet gelato-tasting “Cosmo Tron”, right up there with Kano’s “Ikeya Seki” or Time’s “Shaker Shake”. If you want really good yet really banal Italo, this is it. Perfetto!