Top-5: Matt Rosa

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Matt Rosa is an educator, DJ, musician, and record collector from San Diego. He is part of the Los Angeles DJ collective, Rendezvous! Matt’s passion for record collecting specializes in ‘70s through early ‘80s disco and Italian library records and soundtracks.

Sexy Soxy – Slow Very Slow 7” [1981, Pathe Marconi, EMI]
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This is the 7″ that forever changed my record collecting future. A throwback to ’70s lounge with early colors of shoegaze guitar seen in the “Slow Very Slow” side paired with a proto techno synth cosmic disco masterpiece titled “A Million Dollar Melody”. French master composers Jaques Plait, Bernard Estardy, and Slim Pezin created the concept. “Slow Very Slow” has a very summer breeze appeal. The female vocal line is relaxed and welcoming, “Slow very slow, I love you so” repeated throughout. The b-side, “A Million Dollar Melody” is entirely different and is surprisingly not found on the 12″ release (an extended mix of “Slow Very Slow” is added). The vintage synthesizer sounds and electronic beats take you on a cosmic journey with an endearing slide wheel to create in my opinion, the undulating cat’s meow sound that can be heard throughout. It is brilliant and there is no other song around that has ever sounded like it.

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Venus Gang – Galactic Soul LP [1978, Synthetic Soul, Philips]
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Along with Sexy Soxy, Venus Gang solidified my forever love of cosmic disco. French master composer and production extraordinaire Jean-Pierre Massiera created this album alongside his brother Bernard Torelli. The album opens up with the iconic “Cosmic Daddy” which is a restatement of “Miss Broadway” by Belle Epoque. There is awesome galactic space funk on “Space Inferno” with munchkin vocals and a musical theme that can be heard throughout the Massiera cannon. This record definitely puts a smile on your face. “Take Me Back To My Planet” is the perfect mellow jam you would find on a traditional cosmic disco 7″ or 12″ b-side. Their cover of Joe Meek’s “Telstar” is wonderful with classic J.P. Massiera guitar riffs. There are hits all over this record. This is a perfect introduction into the world of J.P. Massiera.

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The Black Fire – Cream LP [Mid ’70s, Flirt]
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The Black Fire is Antonio Occhipinti, Rosario Rodilosso, and Renado Sperduti. This is definitely a favorite among my Italian library original soundtracks. This is the mythical and illusive pressing on the Flirt label. This is a masterpiece recording showcasing psychedelic scat, spaced-out synth, lounge, funk, jazz, and all around groovy mood music. Edda Dell’Orso appears with beautiful vocals you want to scat along with. “Magnum” reminds me of Joe Harnell’s “Theme from ‘The Incredible Hulk’”. Every song is a gem. This is booming production and an example of the library genre at a zenith state of perfection.

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Sparkle – Sparkle LP [1979, Jam Sessions]
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This is what you find at the end of the rainbow for disco records. With unprecedented disco record collectability, Sparkle delivers quintessential American disco from 1979. Recorded on the small independent label Jam Sessions, Sparkle shines with just the right amounts of disco, jazz, funk and soul to make up their own memorable sound. It is American disco with exquisite female vocals and the right amount of punch in instrumentation and production. Every instrument is recorded perfectly throughout to create the overall no-nonsense get the party started temperament. This record was recorded with a perfect balance of instruments with a disco musical rawness from the players only late ’70s America could have delivered. My favorite instrument sounds are the guitar and keyboard work which cascade out of the speakers like a disco waterfall. The fidelity of the vinyl must be emphasized, it sounds so amazing. The record has seven songs that deliver a truly rewarding audiophile experience. After the opening disco instrumental track, “Six Million Steps”, a mellow jazz disco with a hint of samba track is dropped in the mix. The song is “You” and completely jaw dropping, it so beautiful with vocals to fall in love with. “Let Yourself Go” is pure dance floor bliss, the funk synthesizer reminds me of why I own a Moog. Slap on the high positivity title track, “Disco Madness” for the disco soul experience. Sparkle’s self-titled release is the ultimate disco record. This masterpiece record has the lyrics and music to make you believe you are sparkling in 1979, now, and forever.

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Bruno Nicolai – Il Trono di Fuoco aka The Bloody Judge LP [1970, Cinevox]
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Il Trono di Fuoco aka The Bloody Judge is a special record before you even put it on because of the monikers it carries. It is the rarest Bruno Nicolai record and Jess Franco soundtrack coupled with being near the top of the list as one of the most sought after Cinevox releases and horror soundtracks of all time. It lives up to the reputation. The orchestration of the opening “Il Trono di Fuoco” theme slowly illuminates, adorning the pathway with a crawling incidental harpsichord. After, you find yourself in the throes of battle with a heavy pounding military theme presented in “Il Tragico Incantesimo”. Brash drums, horns and strings build suspense and add tension for the embarkment. After surviving that track you are thwarted into the song, “Occhi Fiammanti” which romantically superimposes the main theme on your own life’s contemplations. The blossoming of the main phrase is beautiful and unforgettable. Afterwards, a booming organ shows what is possible on the keys when you set your mind to them. Il Trono di Fuoco is a fantastic album to DJ with offering plenty of interludes and themes to build an enchanting and exciting atmosphere.

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Photographs and texts Matt Rosa