What does Ronald Reagan, Pacman and the Depeche Mode song ‘Just Can’t Get Enough’ have in common ? They all date back to 1980. This, and many other things, can be learnt in the awesome Decade Mixes from the australian duo Flight Facilities. Passengers, please proceed to boarding.
Hi folks !
With the sunny days finally upon us, I come back to you with not one, not two, not even three, but four mixes; all of them courtesy of the australian disco-house duo Flight Facilities. With each one being dedicated to one of the past four decades, you are up for an already mythical flight through history and music.
Let’s start with the Flight Facilities themselves before getting into the mixes. These two young lads come from a country known as Australia for the aussies, and Down Under for, well, almost everyone else on the planet. Their background is not well known, they met and live in Sydney, and have released a handful of their own productions until now. Five singles exactly, numerous remixes, and (let’s admit it) some insane mixtapes. Hey, that’s why we’re here, aren’t we. Anyway those five tracks all smashed it: ‘Crave You‘ in 2010 (the perfect summer track), its sequel ‘Foreign Language‘ the year after (even better, and what a music clip), ‘With you‘ in 2012 (infectious, plus it comes with some solid remixes). Then the duo released ‘Clair de Lune‘, a more deep-house track, with a beautiful late night atmosphere; and finally came back to its undeniable disco roots with ‘I didn’t believe‘ this May. Talking about remixes, I’ll mention this one they did of James Curd, that I find outrageously amazing. Take a look at their Soundcloud page, make your own idea.
Back to the mixes now, and I can tell you it is something quite extraordinary. There really is no other word to talk about it. Last summer, the Flight Facilities were asked by an australian radio, triple j, to record a series of four mixes for them. They decided to go for decade-themed mixes: one mix for each decade of the past 40 years. But they didn’t stop there and included small extracts of political speeches, news (from the radio or TV), lectures, adverts.. which relate to important events of the considered time. Mixing music and history altogether, a formidable tour-de-force.
Firstly, the track selection is simply outstanding. Flawless. As they explain everything on this article on their blog (which I recommend, they’re funny lads), they spent days (weeks actually) going through the charts of these past forty years to come up with a list of songs that they liked and that best reflect these eras. Yes, it is insane, but it completely pays off. For instance, let’s take the 72-82 mix which features a variety of soul, funk and disco tracks. Everybody you need to know is in there: from Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye to Sylvester and ABBA. Kool and the Gang, Talking Heads, Dynasty and Depeche Mode tracks are also included. What’s great is that some of these songs are modern day edits made by modern day producers such as The Revenge, In Flagranti, Soulwax or Todd Terje, which gives them a fresh feel. Lots of mash-ups are also to be found and are not always credited in the given tracklist: sometimes it is just a few notes, so it is up to you to recognize them ! Finally, the selection (especially the two first mixes) comprises tracks that were largely sampled during the last 15 years or so; for example you will hear the song and specific sample that Daft Punk used to make up their hit ‘One More Time’.
So they did a selection of their (and the world’s) favorite tracks from the past 40 years. This alone is a huge, enormous work. But they thought that was too easy. So they went the full monty and did the same with the events that happened during those days. Only how do you include real events in a mixtape made of songs ? That’s right, they went through all the tv news and radio records they could find on youtube to highlight the events they thought were significant. Hence the 72-82 mix first “talks about” the end of the Vietnam war, then the attacks at the 1972 Munich Olympics and the Watergate scandal the next year (with a speech from Nixon taken from american TV) that led to the president’s resignation in 1974. 1976 refers to the death of Mao Zedong, the following year the one of Elvis Presley. Of course, those small extracts are perfectly blended within the tracks, and are used as transitions, making up for great outros and intros, almost as if they were timed to the songs. The Flight Facilities use them to give a true sense to their work: the annoucement of the death of Elvis Presley is ironically followed by Joe Tex’s “Ain’t Gonna Bump No More” whereas the story of the infamous Disco Demolition Night leads to ABBA – Voulez-Vous (which means ‘Do You Want’ in french): “Disco Sucks !” as they used to say back then.. maybe not that much anymore ! Another funny facet of the mixes is that they include sounds taken from movies, such as the artificial respiration of Darth vador right before Meco – Star Wars, or sounds taken from video games: the world famous ‘Pacman’, created in 1980, gets its moment of glory. And guess what ? It is exactly chronologically timed in the mix. Finally, the australian duo focuses on some defining moments in music history, like the creation of MTV, that completely revolutionized the way people listened to music back then, as did the Ipod/Iphone years after, the creation of the Compact-Disc in the 90s, and the birth of Youtube in the 00’s.
Now you should realize how amazing these mixes are, and how huge is the amount of work the Flight Facilities put into them. It is not only about the music, there is a real focus on the history and the events, at least the way they perceive them. You will learn and remember things while enjoying the music.
“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome onboard Flight Facilities 4 with service from 1972 to 2012. We ask that you fasten your seat belts and secure all baggage underneath your seat or in the overhead compartments. Make sure that your table trays are in the upright position. But please do turn on all personal electronic devices, including laptops and cellphones, and set volume to maximum. Get ready for take-off, it is going to be unreal.”
1982-1992: disco-ish and new-wave, with a bit of house at the end (one of my very favorite mixes EVER, top selection and perfect mixing; it is absolute, pure perfection. Plus the historical quotes are fantastic):
1992-2002: hip-hop dominates, and that is a good thing:
2002-2012: modern day electronic music, that influenced the Flight Facilities:
Note: you can download the last three mixes. Once uploaded on Itunes you get the images that relate to the songs and events. Total awesomeness. Enjoy the ride !