Daniele Baldelli

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From the public dance hall to the disco, from the smooch to the shake, from the orchestra to the deejay. Daniele Baldelli, one of the first Italian deejays, talks about and reveals the secrets of an era. Before the 1970s, the disco didn't exist. In the dance hall, live music reigned. Afterwards, people started to dance to records as an alternative or as a musical break for the orchestras. Here, we saw the birth of the first dee-jays. They had simply to put on one record after another. It will only be later on when they are able to superimpose one or more pieces, mixing songs … expressing their own ability. They will become artists skilful at playing with records, reaching a very high standard, divulging all their musical expertise and knowledge. Investing in musical research and techniques. Let's venture together, on this fascinating journey of discovery in a profession that has made history…… 1969 saw the professional birth of Daniele Baldelli. It all started, almost by chance, when he was a youngster. He was discovered by a talent scout who was the owner of the TANA CLUB DISCOTEQUE (and had been in France, where he had seen some music bars called: discotheques). So he was interviewed by the disco owner who offered him the job of “putting on the records” as the word Disc-Jockey, at least in Italy, hadn’t been coined yet). Neither mixer or pre-listening device existed, his task was limited to programming records one after the other that had already been chosen by the disco owner. You began by lowering the volume of one of the 45 rpm record turntables and at the same time that you were listening to it, you began to turn up the volume of the other turntable where the other 45 record was ready. Naturally mixing didn't exist, there wasn’t a gap or space between records. It was the dawning of the Dee-Jay, a job still to be invented. Daniele Baldelli, then, didn't have a model he could refer to and without equipment, (it would arrive later), he started to experiment and invent methods that allowed his music to have a certain flow. Briefly, he disliked the pause between one record, and another. So, he tried to make the needle make a noise when it reached the first groove of the record in order to understand the moment when he had to turn up the volume. Or he would mark the different variations of speed on the “LENCO” turntable to have a point of reference, or he would even attach adhesive labels to the records to show the exact point, where the music should start (a practice later copied by the scratching dee-jays, virtuosos of the vinyl records, and of D.M.C. competitions). In 1970 he moved to the TABU CLUB in Cattolica. The music he played in those days could perhaps be divided into two large categories: white music, mainly from Europe and black music mainly from America. We are, of course talking about the 45 rpm (or the 7 inch) that then cost 600 Lire. The album which cost 3.300 Lire was almost always a useless expense, because the only dance piece it contained, was also released on 45. So in that year, there was a mixture of European records, which where almost always cheerful commercial songs, alongside American soul records, rhythm and blues and funk by artists such as Arthur Conley, Joe Tex, Wilson Picket, James Brown, Rufus Thomas, Lyn Collins, etc. Naturally getting hold of this material was not always easy. Usually the Dee-Jay was limited to the services of the only musical shop present in their town. Daniele Baldelli, however, used to catch the train and go to Lugano (there, there was a shop called Radio Columbia), and sometimes he would even go to Paris where he was always able to get hold of imported records. Another trend of the evenings in the 70s discotheque was that the fast music was danced like the “shake”, alternating with slow dances. The proportion was 5 shakes and 5 slow dances, then over the years 30 minutes of shake and three slow dances. In 1974-75 LA BAIA DEGLI ANGELI opened, a club which certainly marked the historical beginning of discos in Italy. Situated on a hill in GABICCE (PS) facing the sea, designed on various communicating floor levels. A completely white structure with a panoramic view, having many innovations such as a dee-jay console, which was a lift made of glass, that allowed the dee-jay to move from the first floor to a second-floor while maintaining an overall view of the various internal and external dance floors. A mechanical arm with a cage, (similar to the type used when repairing high tension wires), full of lighting effects that could even be moved onto the various dance floors. An internal swimming pool (with dance floor) and an external one too, an avant-garde graphic, opening hours never before seen (until 5 or 6 in the morning), illuminated during the day and no slow dances, only beautiful American music that had never been heard before (six months ahead of the other dee-jays on the Adriatic Riviera) The music was entrusted to two American Deejays: TOM SISON and BOB DAY. After a while, everyone started to have mixers – headphones – pre-listening devices and monitors, but they probably didn't know how to use them properly. He was certainly fortunate to be near the Baia Degli Angeli and it certainly contributed in a positive way to Daniele Baldelli’s technical evolution as a deejay. He learnt for the first time, by watching the two American dee-jays, how to execute the perfect mix. You had to take off the rubber cover of the turntable and replace it with a 45 record in its paper cover, (later to be replaced by the classic cloth) on top of it, you placed the record waiting to be played (a 12 inch, record appeared on the scene, as large as an album containing only one track, which was more practical and suitable. The record industry started to equip and specialise in products created for the discotheque). In this way, you could slow down or accelerate the speed by hand, allowing you to correct the speed of the turntable, creating the same rhythm between the two pieces, obtaining the perfect overlap. It was a great surprise for Daniele Baldelli, when one afternoon Bob Day and Tom Sison were casually listening to his music in the Tabu Club, later congratulating him on his work. They were so impressed that they recommended him to the owner of the Baia as a replacement at the end of their contract - and they even left him as a gift, a dedicated autographed copy of the much sought after record by LOLEATTA HOLLOWAY “hit and run”!!!! Roundabout the same time he was contacted by Claudio Rispoli, artistically known as Mozart. So, the two set off together on their great adventure BAIA 1977/88. COSMIC opened in 1979 in Lazise on Lake Garda. The intention of the founder was to create something alternative, starting with the choice of logo - where you could see the word “COSMIC” advancing at speed, crashing against a glass, which symbolically contains a terrestrial landscape (clearly inspired by one of the “Commodores’ covers”). The dee-jay Daniele Baldelli who had been seen and liked in 1977-1978 at “Baia degli Angeli” in Gabicce (PS) was their choice. Everything started with the idea that the music had to be the main element of the project. Furthermore, the discotheque, that was made for 1,200 people and had a dance floor for 700, also had a never before seen lighting system. Certainly something that was unique considering what was on offer in that period. All supported by a very powerful music system. The interest created on the first inauguration evening, saw a great number of people flocking to the disco, so much so that the inauguration party was repeated over the next four evenings, sold out every night. Very soon, the fame of “COSMIC” spread and within a few months reached the provinces of Verona, Brescia and Mantua. The disco, within a year became the meeting point for all “trends” and remained so from 1979 to 1984. In the car park you could see the registration plates of cars coming from Palermo to Udine, from Naples to Turin, from Innsbruck, to Florence. All of the trend setters of the Peninsula booked a Saturday evening at “COSMIC” anxious to participate and listen to that musical phenomenon labelled “AFRO”. Naturally, even if it is still used today this term was inappropriate. Unless one considers Afro as the only root which influenced the various musical styles of Daniele Baldelli. In fact, even if various periods in the history of “Cosmic” can be distinguished (that of Funky - Disco in the first year to that of Electronic in 1980-82, followed by moments more influenced by Reggae, Fusion, Jazz and Brazil), Daniele Baldelli’s Afro style was expressed when he played Ravel’s Bolero overlapping it with a track by Africa Djola, or an experimental piece by Steve Reich on which he would mix a Malinke chant from New Guinea. Mixing the T-Connection with Moebious and Rodelius, discovering in the album Izitso the only hypnotic-tribal track by Cat Stevens, extracting Africa from Depeche Mode by playing them at 33 rpm or vice-versa by creating music using a Reggae voice played at 45 rpm. Mixing 20 or so African tracks on the same electronic drum pattern or by playing them together in batucada with Kraftwerk, using the same electronic effects of a synthesiser to overlap pieces by Miram Makeba, Jorge Ben or Fela Kuti and also by uniting the Indian melodies of Hofra Haza or Sheila Chandra with the German electronic sounds of SKY RECORD. Even if largely emulated or taken as a reference point, the Daniele Baldelli of that period was only: fruit of his fantasy, musical passion and his technical research, which allowed him to be creative and experiment with various styles without having set patterns or models on which to base himself. Without doubt, one can say that Daniele Baldelli was the precursor, to what is known as today, as the dee-jay. Starting in 1969 when neither mixer nor headphones for pre-listening existed, up to the invention and use of electronic drums, synthesisers and the first sampling systems in discos, which only had four seconds of memory. In 1980, Daniele Baldelli invents the “Dee Jay concert”. Consisting of four turntables, two mixers and electronic drums or live percussion, the turntables in not much more than half an hour, (80 to 100 tracks were mixed), gave life to a super mega-mix, everything being carried out live. Another novelty of “Cosmic” was the equalizer, which was used as a musical instrument, intervening rhythmically on the keys and cursors, where various frequencies could be manipulated, creating accentuation on the “Cymbal” or on a voice or base. He even pushed to the limit, intervention on the keyboard, turning the track upside down or by loading it so much that it appeared like a live remix. The mix was another characteristic or almost an obsession of Daniele Baldelli who literally spent his time by listening to his records (today almost 60.000) in order to find the ideal moment where two pieces overlap and create a third one. The “Cosmic” closed its doors in 1984.

Releases: NANG039: Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Space Scribble EP
NANG040: Various Artists : Nang Presents The Array Vol 2
NANG079: Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Podalirius (Buy CD)
NANG102: Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Podalirius Remixes, Vol.1
NANG110: Various Artists : Beach Disco Sessions Volume 4
NANG121: Various Artists : Nang Presents The Array Volume 5 (Buy CD)
NANG125: Various Artists : Beach Disco Sessions Volume 5
NANG131: Various Artists : We Are Five (Remixes)
NANG183: Various Artists : Beach Disco Vol 9
Tracks: Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Space Scribble (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : RoBa Che Scotta (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : RoBa Che Scotta (Ichisan Remix) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : RoBa Che Scotta (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Complotto Geometrico (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Podalirius (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : RoBa Che Scotta (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Rate The Stars (ft. Tahamene) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : A TV Show (ft. Ghostape Boy) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Real Like The Music (ft. Mark Borgazzi) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Teorema (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Haughty Rhino (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Flugdisko (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Space Scribal (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Complotto Geometrico (Andrew Weatherall Remix) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Space Scribble (Prins Thomas Remix) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : A TV Show (Luke Solomon Remix) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Space Scribble (Prins Thomas Remix) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Complotto Geometrico (Andrew Weatherall Remix) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca : Complotto Geometrico (Andrew Weatherall Remix) (Buy Download)
Daniele Baldelli & DJ Rocca , FtMark Borgazzi: Real Like The Music (Pete Herberts Blu Haze Remix) (Buy Download)