Dresden-born Tino Piontek is, in both name and output, the Purple Disco Machine. His hard-groovin’ jams have been rolling off the production line since 2009, so it might come as something of a surprise to learn that only now is he releasing his first album.
Soulmatic, his new 13-track LP, goes on sale today (you can buy it here), and deals not only in his trademark disco house, but also funk, soul, boogie and indie dance. What’s more, it features collaborations with the likes of CeeLo Green, Faithless, Kool Keith and Boris Dlugosch.
The album also wears its influences on its sleeve - the likes of Chic and Patrick Cowley - and these funky forebears are among those that Tino chose to recognise when we asked him to select the 10 tracks that blew his mind. Read on to find out what they are...
1. Surface - Falling In Love
“Such a great ‘80s disco classic from one of the great disco labels, Salsoul Records. The record is simple and clean with a sweet vocal and a powerful rhythm section underpinning the whole track.
“1980s disco differs from the 1970s blueprint as drum machine and bass synths had been invented by then, which started to replace the orchestras and live players of the earlier era. Plus the hype had gone out of the scene after the Disco Sucks! backlash which meant that the disco music coming out of the USA got blacker and funkier again.
“One of the disco scene’s greatest ever mixers, Shep Pettibone, remixed this track, which adds to its classic status for me.”
2. Chic - I Want Your Love
“Chic are still one of my favourite artists. All their tracks have such an amazing groove. If I feel a bit sad then I listen to one of Nile's songs.
“For me, Chic are the best of the big disco artists that dominated the disco movement at its peak in the late 1970s. Pretty much all of their singles and album tracks can still rock any dancefloor and sound cool, whereas maybe Earth, Wind & Fire’s big hits sound too dated and a bit ‘wedding music”! To me, anyway.
“I also love the fact that Chic’s music played such an important part in the beginning of hip-hop and that Nile Rodgers went on to produce amazing funky pop and rock records like David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Duran Duran’s Notorious. And he was still having huge hits 30 years later with Daft Punk!"
3. Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight
“The hero of my childhood. My father collected everything by Phil Collins and Genesis that he could get his hands on in East Germany at that time.
“In The Air Tonight is Phil's masterpiece IMO. When I was 14 I went to see him live for the first time and it is still was one of the best experiences of my life. I know that his reputation can be seen as a little cheesy, but no one can question how well written and executed this song is. A perfect lesson in tension build up and release.
“On the ‘80s US soul and disco scene Phil was actually held in very high esteem. Sussudio was a big club track and of course Earth Wind & Fire’s Philip Bailey collaborated with him on the fabulous Easy Lover."
4. Mike Mareen - Dancing In The Dark
“Back to my lifelong passion for Italo disco. Mike Mareen is one the Italo guys from Germany. The Galactic Version of Dancing In The Dark is amazing.
“The Italo disco sound grew out of the bassline and drum pattern innovations of Giorgio Moroder, whose work with Donna Summer and movie soundtracks went on to influence the French guys like Cerrone and Patrick Juvet.
“As the main producers were from there, this style of disco really resonated in Europe - especially in Italy, where a whole industry built up around it - and dominated club dancefloors pretty much until the house music era began in the late 1980s.
“Patrick Cowley and Bobby Orlando were really the only US disco producers who were influenced by Moroder. I sampled Patrick Cowley’s production of Sylvester for my record Body Funk this year.”
5. Quincy Jones - Summer In The City
“Jazzy, funky, effortlessly cool and featuring one of the classic hip-hop breaks, most notably in used in The Pharcyde’s Passin’ You By.
“Quincy Jones is an absolute legend of music. From awesome jazz player to probably one of the greatest record producers ever, he has had such a phenomenal career. I always like to play this track in an early-evening DJ set at a pool party or on a rooftop in the summer. The title says it all."
6. DJ Hell - For Your Love
“The debut LP from DJ Hell came out in 1998 and it had plenty of great techno tracks with a touch of disco.
For Your Love was a track that inspired me a lot. Even though I was already collecting soul, funk and disco vinyl from an early age, the first clubbing I did was to techno - like a typical German! So when I discovered an artist that was able to combine both disco and techno I was amazed and became an immediate fan.
“I also started to collect the releases from DJ Hell’s influential International DJ Gigolos label and followed their move into electro-clash. I nearly added Fischerspooner’s Emerge to this list of inspirational records. Still a great and unique track and video.
7. Wham! - Everything She Wants
“Like everyone else I bought Last Christmas and I loved it from the first listen. After a while I realised that the B-Side of the single is even better.
“This record, with its simple groove and arrangement, is still one of Wham!’s best songs. And you can tell that George Michael liked and understood soul and disco music.
“I guess in the UK he was what they call a ‘soul boy’ before he became a pop star, collecting the records and going to the big soul raves in London. This scene never really happened in Germany, especially the east side where I grew up, but I find it fascinating that so many UK people are totally in love with the black music of America and the Caribbean and it is such a big part of the UK sound."
8. Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You
“No words to say on this track. Just one of the best house records of all time. It was on heavy rotation for years at my home. It is also a great example of a record where the new sampling track is probably better than the track which was sampled.
“Chaka Khan is a great artist, of course, but I don’t think that many people would argue that ‘Fate’ is her best song. So it was really clever that Stardust found this sample and then made such an emotional track around it. As a ‘sampler’ producer myself this kind of crate digging inspires me to keep digging for those nuggets!”
9. Boris Dlugosch - Keep Pushin
“This track is one of the records that brought me into house music. Guys like Boris and Mousse T are the true house pioneers from Germany. It is a real honour and privilege for me to count them as my friends now.
“Most Germans’ first love is techno, and it is true that Germans have probably supported and nurtured that genre more than any other nationality since the Detroit pioneers. So, to be a German house producer in the ‘80s and ‘90s was quite a tough challenge, as all of the US, UK then the Italian and after them the French producers were strong on the scene. But Boris, Mousse and also the Knee Deep guys stood out and delivered great records - and are still doing it today, of course.”
10. Shalamar - Right In The Socket
“Most people know Shalamar from their big ‘80s hits like Night To Remember, Friends and I Can Make You Feel Good. These are good records, for sure, and have stood the test of time, but before these more commercial hits Shalamar were a big underground disco group whose records were huge at the Paradise Garage. Especially Right In The Socket.
“Produced in 1979, this track is right on the edge of the older 1970s style disco as it evolved into the 1980s ‘electro funk’ boogie sound. In my pure disco sets I often use it as the bridge track between the two styles. And as it always goes off I made a special PDM Edit of it so I can play it in my house set too. It is a record that never comes out of 'my box’, as they say."