Dick’s Picks: With this week’s pick Dick has chosen this Sci-Fi inspired disco long player ‘A Dance Fantasy’ by Montana and thereby single-handedly managed to combine two of his greatest passions; Disco and Sci-Fi! You can find out more about this LP at 991.com but for now read on….
Montana / ‘A Dance Fantasy: Inspired By Close Encounters Of The Third Kind’
What Is It?
Firstly, if you could transport yourself back to 1978 you might well notice that Sci-Fi and Disco were King, with the pop charts awash with disco makeovers (Rod Stewart, Barbara Streisand, Barry Manilow et al), Saturday Night Fever, the Bee Gees and countless others whilst film and TV were finding that in the aftermath of Star Wars, anything sci-fi related stood a good chance of raking in the cash, hello Close Encounters, The Black Hole and, err, Blakes 7.
So although the LP does carry the distinct whiff of ‘cash-in’……disco + sci-fi = HIT! Thankfully, there is a bit more to it than that….
The artist ‘Montana’ was no mere studio concoction, the name belongs to one Vincent Montana, Jr, bandleader and vibraphonist for the hugely influential US label Philadelphia International, he created all those wonderful string arrangements for MFSB, Lou Rawls, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergrass and more.
After leaving Philadelphia International Montana took his services (and huge 37 member band!) to the new and upcoming underground disco label ‘Salsoul’, they quickly became the label’s ‘house band’ providing some wonderful arrangements for Loleatta Holloway, Bunny Sigler, Carol Williams and more, they also released several disco bangers themselves under the name ‘Salsoul Orchestra’.
So, what about the ‘Montana’ LP?
Unlike other Montana productions from this era the LP shows a slightly more experimental side, the title track incorporates elements of John William’s original score and then runs with it. Side One of the LP is a no-holds-barred ‘disco symphony’ in seven parts no less (eat your heart out Rick Wakeman), it’s a great piece, heavy on the atmosphere and not always relying on an overt kick drum to remind you it’s disco.
Flip it over for Side Two and you get a slightly more jazz flavoured sound, with the pick of the bunch being the ‘Star Trek’ inspired Warp Factor II, all rumbling bass manoeuvres, trance like drums and Vincent’s trademark vibes (vibraphone), check out the YouTube film below where Vincent runs through the track on a 1978 US TV show.
For full info please check eil.com