In our second installment of Track of the Week I am taking the wheel myself to discuss Take a Chance by Mr. Flagio. I discovered this track over the Labor Day weekend thanks to Chris Frain’s excellent article about the Are Sounds Electrik? YouTube channel. This was actually a recommended video that I clicked on for some reason while I was surfing these songs. Why? I’m not entirely sure, to be honest. The cover art doesn’t exactly give off “you gotta listen to this vibes”, nor does it draw the eye (see the header photo!). Fate seemingly took over that weekend and pulled my mouse over to one of the greatest musical gems I’ve ever discovered.
If you didn’t know it already, pretty much everything cool you hear these days in synth based music was being done, and being done better, by the Italians in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Italo Disco continues to be an inspiration for bands from Chromeo to Daft Punk and countless acts in between. And if you’re seeing the word “disco” and cringing, don’t. There’s a massive difference in Italo Disco and the leisure suit era that you attribute to the word here in the States. The Italo Disco scene took influences from all over the globe and fused the sounds of artists like Kraftwerk, Devo, Gary Numan, Giorgio Moroder, and Telex and created pop gems out of them. Unable to afford import vinyl the Italian DJs started recording their own singles using vocoders, drum machines, and imitation as the highest form of flattery. Not only did they end up creating something special, they created an entire sub-genre of music that is still much loved to this day.
One such classic from that era is Take a Chance by Mr. Flagio. Released in 1983 on Squish Records, it would be one of only two tracks that Mr. Flagio would put to vinyl. In fact, Squish Records only released six records, all of them singles. So who exactly is Mr. Flagio? It’s not actually one man, it happens to be TWO men, Giorgio Bacco and Flavio Vidulich. Not much is known about them other than the fact that Bacco was a radio DJ. Not even VICE could come up with much about the duo in a brilliant article they did on the track (found HERE). As they mentioned, these little labels popped up, released a few singles, and then disappeared forever. Thankfully vinyls of the track survived and have been transmitted into a digital format that we all get to enjoy!
For me, Take a Chance is a perfect song. From the opening chords it had me hooked with some sort of time machine magic. The first time I heard it on that fateful Labor Day weekend I sat slack-jawed as the song unfolded over its near 8 minute timespan. Then I listened to it again. And again. Then one more time. I’ve probably listened to it a hundred times since then and I’ve had it on repeat while I write this article. The short lesson here, this song does not get old. Like all of the all time great songs, there is just something about Take a Chance that add a listenability that cannot be described in words. I think the most amazing thing about it is how much of TODAY you hear in this flash of brilliance from some obscure Italian Italo Disco label in 1983. It’s like taking a time machine back only to hear music that you’d expect to hear at a Röyksopp show in 2017. Mindblowing!
I’ll be doing a deeper article into some of the other Italo Disco tracks that I enjoy but Take a Chance really deserved its own space. I am thrilled to no end that I could possibly be introducing someone to this song for the first time, and if you are that person, please, I beg of you, get back in touch with me about it! I want to hear your thoughts! In the meantime, enjoy Italo Disco at its very finest!