To call this record a pleasant surprise is an understatement the size of Vesuvius. House of Music was the greatest Italo Disco label ever, and it’s not really up for debate in my eyes. Half of the records were forgettable but the other half were stone cold classics, four or five of the best Italo records ever made pumped out in a short period, including Livin’ Up/Stop (BWH), Mr Master’s “A Dog In The Night” and “Cybernetic Love” by Casco.
And this one. Um:Bros were apparently a live act (this itself was something of a novelty: most Italo “bands,” like Kano, were studio creations and often hired completely unrelated musicians to play, or more often pantomime, on TV or stage). In 1984 they were signed by House of Music out of an electronic music club called Suburbia in Perugia. However the short shelf life of House of Music, like most Italo labels, meant the album was never released.
And here it is: The Law of the Three Trees: Motus, an artifact out of music history from one of the most important dance music labels, without the film of fuzz and visceral scratches that plague even the best preserved records from the era. The sound is more or less Italo ’84 + 30: “Motus 1984” leads with some modern flourishes but one bar of the vocal and you know it’s legit. I can pick out a few words here and there, together they don’t seem to lead anywhere but one at a time they welcome you back to a world of pulsating, stylized radiance. An unnerving acappella and heavily synthesized version follow. “Circle Mountains” sounds like modern electronic music through the prism of Sergio Leone’s films, with a demented grandeur that sets the teeth on edge. “Technocracy” is the most “modern” sounding track here; “Bank Hannibal” is like a demented soap opera theme.
Out: On vinyl via Juno.
Originally published inside 5 Magazine Issue #133 featuring Vincent Floyd, Karizma, Tony Humphries, David Marston, Doc Link, Deep Club Denver and more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music – on sale for just $1 an issue!