Your Mix Fix: Ric Piccolo

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The word mixtape has plenty of different interpretations. It used to be that mixtapes were actually DJ sets recorded on cassette tapes, but with the coming of the digital music age, the name remained the same, but the definition expanded. Nowadays, people call mixtapes many different things, some of which are not necessarily mixed and most of which were never taped. Here we try to cover them all. In this column, Juan Data gives you a worthy one every week.

DJ: Ric Piccolo

MIXTAPE: PampasDiscoShock Vol. 3

During the years of the disco fever, apparently a lot of this type of music was recorded and released in Argentina, mostly by totally unknown artists or studio bands with made-up names. Some of those musicians, it’s rumored, were actually playing in prestigious rock bands from the rock en español pioneering period. However, they never signed these works with their actual names because disco — and by extension all music made for the dance floors — had a really bad reputation, and they could easily lose their rocker cred.

I didn’t know any of this until a couple of days ago when, during one of my many music archeology digging expeditions through Buenos Aires downtown’s record stores, I randomly ran into Ric Piccolo. I overheard Ric talking about exactly this to the friendly record store clerk. Ric told me he specialized in excavating rare disco gems from that period of Argentine music and exposing them to the international public in the form of re-edits, and series of mixtapes like this one. I later learned he also does some pretty cool pop electronic dance music in the duo Ambar.

PampasDiscoShock Vol. 3 is a 40-plus minute long DJ set where he shows off some of the most oscure treasures of his collection, including some Argentine versions of international tracks and plenty more unexpected originals (did you know people were trying to do disco tango? I mean, playing tango arrangements over funky dance beats, like two decades before Gotan Project was even conceived? I didn’t). There’s some singing (in English) on a couple of tracks but the selection focuses mainly on instrumentals that were probably made for movies or cheesy TV show soundtracks (my guess). Unfortunately it doesn’t include the playlist or any information about the records used.