ANDY BUTLER with WILL MUNRO at Wrongbar (1279 Queen West), Saturday (December 15). $5 before 12:30 am, $7 after. 416-516-8677. Rating: NNNNN
Fans of the DFA label and of LCD Soundsystem often get confused when they go out to hear James Murphy DJ and find that instead of the indie-dance and electro they associate him with, he plays obscure cosmic disco and proto-house.
That side of him may start making more sense after the upcoming album by Hercules and Love Affair, the newest addition to the DFA stable. The brainchild of NYC-based DJ Andy Butler, Hercules and Love Affair is a love letter to that magic period just after the peak of disco and just before house music blew up worldwide.
The first single has already garnered the project significant buzz, but it’s the sneak peek available online of the upcoming single, Blind, that’s really got people talking, particularly because of the otherworldly, emotionally charged vocals by Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons fame).
“I met him casually, through some mutual friends, about seven years ago, over dinner at a diner in the East Village,” Butler recalls from his NYC home, just back in town after shooting a video for Blind in London.
“He mentioned that he was a singer, but that was the extent of it. Later on I heard some of his music through a friend, and I was just crazy about his voice.
“When we first recorded Blind four years ago, it was a synth track. We walked away from it and didn’t really listen to it for a year. He actually prompted me to start exploring it again, and it just kind of snowballed from there.”
No longer an electronic-based house track, it’s since been fleshed out with live instruments into the kind of outsider disco record that Arthur Russell might have recorded back in the day. This is disco for people who think they don’t like disco, as much as for the heads who understand that below the era’s tacky pop excesses was a real underground that churned out some truly adventurous and genuine music.
“It’s going to be a challenge presenting dance music to people who are used to saying that they don’t like dance music. Trying to get them to open up their minds and even consider it a legitimate form is a challenge in itself. I just hope they can hear the sincerity in this project, even if it lands outside of the spectrum of Antony’s other work.”