- Bold reinventions of an Italo classic.
- From the opening kick drum of I-F's Mixed Up in The Hague Vol. 1, the Dutch luminary takes off for the firmament in his scene defining mix. This builds to a frenzied peak about 20 minutes in as the Jonzon Boy's early electro roller "Space Is The Place" comes crashing into the icy claps of Charlie's "Spacer Woman." That transition, which launched a thousand electro and Italo reissue ships, gives me goosebumps: "Spacer Woman's" drums are austere in their mechanical propulsion—even so, the swelling of the synth under each syllable of the chorus feels hopelessly human ("I want to know / I need your love").
That mix catapulted the 1983 hit, "Spacer Woman," the only release by Italians Maurice Cavalieri and Giorgio Stefani under the Charlie alias, back into the cultural imagination. Originally released on Mr. Disc Organization, it was quickly repressed by ZYK, the German label widely credited with christening the term "Italo disco." It's not hard to see why the song has been included on some 30-plus compilations (most of which feature some sort of appellation "Best Of Italo" or "Italo Classics").
This is all a long-winded way of saying that Dana Ruh and Valentino Kanzyani had their work cut out for them when they took on remix duties of the Italo classic for Rome's Autum label. "Spacer Woman," like every good Italo track, remains somewhat outsized. Its huge chords and vocal are quite frankly, too overtly emotional for the types of dance floors Ruh and Kanzyani play to. Both remixes attempt to tackle this problem in their own way, molding the Italo classic into something more refined and contemporary.
Ruh's version is very much in line with her reputation as a master of loopy, classy house. The first four minutes take only the claps and the whispered “Spacer Woman'' refrain from the original but pair it with an absolute earworm of a bassline, catnip to DJs like Zap or Margaret Dygas. Even when Ruh finally lets the synthline of the original back in, it's filtered to sound as though you're listening to the track from the other side of the looking glass (or maybe on some well-worn bootleg tape while you hotbox your older brother's girlfriend's car).
On the face of it, Slovenian producer Kanzyani does a lot less to the original than Ruh (at least in the first seven minutes). Where Ruh's version is smudged and druggy, highlighting the original's latent weirdness, Kanzyani's rendition is all high-definition energy. The drums are tighter and faster, the bass leaner and tougher. He even adds a snare that gives the song a slight techno timbre. But then the original track drops out and Kanzyani treats us to three minutes of swelling ambience, a duet of what sounds like a xylophone being played underwater and a sax-like synth. It's a fitting postscript to the original—a bit like watching the credits roll as the titular "Spacer Woman'"s shuttle takes off over the horizon.
01. Spacer Woman feat. Iury Lech (Rework By Valentino Kanzyani)
02. Spacer Woman (Rework By Dana Ruh)