Friday, April 9, 2010

Death Of A Disco Dancer – Malcolm McLaren R.I.P.

Malcolm McLaren died 8 April at age 64. The Guardian's obituary put it best, describing him as "a musical provocateur". The infamous Brit encouraged and made music that didn't just provoke a response, it demanded a response. Although best know for his punk shenanigans (the street fashion store he had with Vivienne Westwood, taking on the monarchy with Sex Pistols, briefly managing New York Dolls), McLaren always had an interest in dance music. The first sign was 'Black Arabs', the ironic disco medley of Sex Pistols songs on The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle soundtrack - it was 'Pistols On 45'. Always an early adapter, at the start of the '80s he stole Adam Ant's band to bring the Burundi drum rhythm to the new wave sound of Bow Wow Wow, a pirate-meets-cassette explosion of post-punk club music. Then in '83 came McLaren's first real solo musical project Duck Rock, a mesh of African music and hip hop (working with pop producer Trevor Horn and electropop pioneer Thomas Dolby), which featured global hit 'Buffalo Gals'. In '84, he followed with the electronica opera album Fans, which featured another global hit in 'Madame Butterfly'. In '89 McLaren mixed classical music with house for Waltz Darling - collaborating with Bootsy Collins and early UK house advocates Mark Moore and William Orbit - including another global hit 'Deep In Vogue'. He continued to make music but never again reached the apogee of this late '80s dance triptych.

'Black Arabs' - Black Arabs:

'C30 C60 C90 Go (Live)' - Bow Wow Wow:

'Something's Jumpin' In Your Shirt' - Malcolm McLaren & The Bootzilla Orchestra:

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