Music genres are unstable entities. One day you find one of them at the peak of the charts, and the next day that genre becomes a sound of the distant past. You never know when a music genre can fade into obscurity or spring back to life.
Certain genres such as rock and pop can be referred to as timeless classics. Regardless of which decade you’re in, they will always be enjoyable to listen to. Other genres unfortunately don’t share the same fate. They sound pleasant at a certain age and for a certain time period. After that, they are forgotten and die a slow death.
Fortunately for us, the music enthusiasts, some music genres are revived from time to time courtesy of the outstanding efforts and creativity of certain music geniuses. Once resurrected, these genres of the past may not sound exactly as they used to, but they still bear the essence that made them beloved in the hearts of music lovers of yester years. This is a part of the evolution of music, where elements of the past are brought back to be combined with the musical innovations of today.
Nu-Disco is the perfect example of a modern day form of a music genre from the days gone by. It falls within the periphery of Dance Music and is a 21st century genre that was created because of a renewed interest in the 1970s and early 1980s disco music. It also contains strong characteristics of mid- 1980s Italo disco and boogie. Features of the synthesizer-heavy Euro disco and P-Funk are also quite prevalent in this genre.
Origins of Nu-Disco
The name Nu-Disco was coined around the year 2002. By the year 2008, record shops such as the online retailers Juno and Beatport were already using this name to classify their music. According to these vendors, Nu-Disco is closely associated with re-edits of original era disco music. They also believe that Nu-Disco is strongly linked to the Dance music made by European producers. This particular genre of European Dance music was an offshoot of original American disco, electro and other mainstream genres of the 70s and the early 80s.
American label music that was previously known as Electroclash and French House is now being labelled by Beatport as Nu-Disco and Indie Dance. Hence, one could say that Indie-Dance is a twin of Nu-Disco. They are extremely similar in nature with slight variations here and there.
In the words of The Independent, Nu-Disco is the lovechild of modern technology’s pin sharp production and 70’s Disco/funk. The Independent came up with this definition in 2002. 6 years later, Beatport gave Nu-Disco a brand new definition by calling it the offspring of the late 1970s and early 80s electronic disco, boogie, cosmic, Balearic and Italo Disco continuum. Spin Magazine gave the genre a similar meaning by associating it with Eurodisco, Italo disco and electroclash. One could say that there is no standard definition for Nu-Disco. Such is the case when genres from the past are brought back to life. They become a product that is heavily influenced by various other genres and it is hard to categorize them under one particular defining label.
Throughout the first decade of the 21st century, Nu-disco was gradually walking up the ramp of popularity. This style was being incorporated in the tracks of several different Electronic and Dance artists. Given the vast amount of variations in the Electronic and Dance music scene, Nu-Disco was failing to find its niche. It was present in different forms and being well utilized, however the genre was struggling to reclaim the prominence that it had back in the 1970’s and 1980’s.
It appealed to the passionate Electronic music aficionados but it failed to attract the casual listeners. Perhaps it was being overshadowed by the success of House, Tech House and Trance. These 3 genres were the mainstay in the Electronic Dance Music scene, and thus there was little room for Nu-Disco to shine and take the centre stage.
The year 2013 was a lucky break for Nu-Disco as disco styled songs by artists like Daft Punk, Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke attained mainstream popularity. The songs by these artists claimed top spots in the in the pop charts of UK and the US. It was the first time since the laste 1970s that disco styled songs were leading the pack in the pop charts. This represented a sudden change in the taste of the casual music lovers.
Nu-Disco was well and truly on the rise with super hit tracks like Daft Punk’s Get Lucky and Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. The immense popularity of these songs cannot be described in words. To put it mildly, these two songs became a sensation among a wide variety of demographic groups. Other disco styled songs that were in the top 40 include Justin Timberlake’s Take back the Night and Bruno Mars’ Treasure.
On the back of the 2013 success of disco styled songs, world renowned artists such as Pharell Williams incorporated Nu-Disco into their 2014 albums. Not surprisingly, these albums were very well received by both the critics and the fans.
Nu-Disco Edits and Instruments
While we are discussing Nu-Disco, it is important to shed some light on Disco edits. These are basically re-edits or re-rubs of traditional disco songs from the 1970s and the 1980s. The editing is usually done with the help of software. The alterations can also be performed using a razor and reel-to-reel tape.
Many may confuse an edit with a remix, but there is a clear difference between the two. In remixes, you have additional production such as a rap intro or a beat box bridge. An edit only manipulates the source of the material. A lot of the Nu-disco producers of today are basically disco editors. Edits are not only done on classic tracks, modern tracks too can be edited using the same methods.
There are certain musical instruments that characterize Nu-Disco. These are the Synthesizer, sampler, sequencer, drum machine, bass guitar, electric guitar, vocals, talkbox and drums.
Hed Kandi Records – A regular publisher of the Nu-Disco Genre