New York in the '70s and '80s is shrouded in legend as a period of unparalleled musical and artistic revolution, spawning the dextrous beginnings of hip-hop, the glamorous decadence of disco, and the no-wave dissonance of the arty downtown scene. So having experienced it first hand, it's not surprising that it still drives the sleazy, discofied vision of In Flagranti.
"I moved to New York in 1984," says Alex Gloor, the group's artistic director, now based in Switzerland, who picks over the era's cultural detritus, scouring records, VHS and magazines to create their vintage collage record sleeves and YouTube videos, and provide samples for the tracks. "One of the first clubs I went to was Paradise Garage. Keith Haring had his first 'Party of Life' there, post-Studio 54, pre-Aids: sex, drugs and disco."
"It's the '70s in general," adds Sasa Crnobrnja of this retro fascination, the London-based producer who cuts and pastes Gloor's sound files into a modernistic take on these roots, before transferring the audio to reel-to-reel tape to recreate the warm, hissy recordings of his youth. "It had so many different styles. Drum & bass in the '90s was something new, but most stuff — heavy metal, disco, reggae, dub and punk — started in the '70s."
Bonding over Daniele Baldelli's famous Cosmic mix-tapes in a Swiss record shop in 1994, Crnobrnja followed Gloor back to New York, where the pair started their own record label Codek in 1995. But it wasn't until they began recording together that they collided with the burgeoning new disco scene.
"In the '90s we were listening to disco but it wasn't necessarily something you'd play out," says Crnobrnja who ran the club, Organic Grooves, in New York for 10 years. "It started to get rediscovered at the same time as some of the records we were working on. I put out 'Just Gazing' from New York in 2002, and I had no idea there was a crowd for it over here."
Having now completed three albums and a series of cult EPs, with each release a conceptual whole of art and music, united by overt sexuality and dirty, tongue-in-cheek humour, they've won plenty of fans, and completed remixes for Permanent Vacation's Jackpot, Crystal Fighters and Headman, whose 'Gimme' was given a superb twist reminiscent of early Daft Punk.
Next release, 'Ex Ex Ex' (out 25th January on Codek), a glam-rock-inspired stomp featuring Natalie Smash who previously appeared on their 'Sex Piss Tool' EP, sees them come to collect with Riton, Headman, DJ Wool, Golden Bug, Bottin and Hercules and Love Affair's Andy Butler all dropping versions that vary from narcotic heartbeat house to mutant techno.
A fourth album is ready to roll, though as with everything, not until it fits into the unfolding of their grand artistic vision. "It's a different sound, darker," says Sasa. "We make stuff all the time, but we need a theme to put it all together. Otherwise they're just individual tracks. And we're not into releasing tracks just for the sake of it."
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