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Destined: Aeroplane

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Dustedís Dustin Drase profiles Belgian disco duo and Destined selection Aeroplane.

Destined: Aeroplane

Download Aeroplaneís remix of Friendly Firesí ďParis,Ē featuring vocals by Au Revoir Simone.

Balearic, Chillout, Cosmic, Space Disco Ė for those unfamiliar with the dozens of nuanced distinctions in the world of dance music, specific terms like these might not mean much. Quite honestly, they donít mean much to Stephen Fasano and Vito De Luca, either. Together, they form the Belgian DJ/producer duo Aeroplane, which others have already associated with the Nu Balearic movement. Theyíre wary of that specific tag.

"For us, disco music never really disappeared," the band writes via email. "We called it house or techno music when it was produced by machines, but itís still just a bass drum. We think the disco revival isnít a real one. [People] just want to dance to positive music thatís far away from the dark side of dance music thatís ruled the clubs last five years."

Balearic, or Balearic Beat, emerged in the mid Ď80s as the soundtrack to the beaches of Ibiza, but it wasnít until the latter part of that decade, when DJ Paul Oakenfold brought the sound back to UK nightclubs, that the sound took off. In its earliest incarnations, Balearic Beat incorporated extended house and disco tracks with remixes of current pop hits to create sprawling soundscapes that mixed nicely with the islandís ecstasy-fueled, al fresco nightlife.

Over time the Balearic sound became less and less adventurous, giving way to more benign tendencies evident on such compilations as the Cafť Del Mar series. The current crop of "Nu Balearic" artists sparked the resurgence by, oddly enough, slowing things down. In fact, they are updating the sound cultivated by Daniele Baldelli at Lazise, Italyís Cosmic nightclub: a psychedelic simmer at the threshold between beat music and dance music (typically around 90 beats per minute).

Fasano and De Luca first met some time in 2002. Fasano, a veteran DJ, would often buy records from De Luca, who owned a store at the time. After years behind the turntables , Fasano wanted to produce music as well. De Luca had gotten the producerís bug, too, and had begun to buy some gear. The two decided to combine forces, and Aeroplane was born.

In both their roles as DJs and producers, Aeroplane mix elements of disco, pop, house and melodic psychedelia alongside melancholic swatches of sound. In August of 2007, they released a self-titled 12" on the Belgian label Eskimo, which quickly caught fire amongst label fans and a DJ community that put the group in league with esteemed labelmates Allez Allez, Optimo, and LindstrÝm (with whom the duo have an edit in the works to be released later this year). A steady string of top-notch remix work for folks like Cobra Dukes, Allez Allez, MGMT, and even Grace Jones soon followed.

"We are really involved in both DJing and producing," they say. "Itís always a pleasure to make people dance. But you have to DJ with the records you have. Ö When we produce, itís a totally different approach. You start from nothing, from silence. So anything can happen. You have to know where you want to go. If not, youíll get lost."

Thus far, Aeroplaneís output as a band is a mere three 12"s, including last yearís "Whispers," which was remixed by Hercules and Love Affair to much acclaim). The short discography is mostly due to the flood of remix commissions, work-for-hire the duo usually enjoys. "We had fun when we remixed Cut Copy ("Hearts on Fire") and a lot of pressure with the MGMT remix ("Electric Feel") that they finally rejected," they write.

"Most of the time we receive proposals from labels and artists," they add. "First priority is to love the track. If we love it, we start thinking about what we can do with it, and if we find an interesting way to do it, we go. We like remixing pop / rock groups, there is much more to do with the parts. What we love is to keep the vocal only, and around that acapella, build a different chord progression and harmony. In the end you have the same vocal, but on a different song. Thatís the reason why sometimes we donít use a lot of the original, because in terms of harmony it just doesnít fit anymore."

Later this year the duo will head into the studio to produce a full-length record with the help of French producer Bertrand Bugalat. As of now, theyíre mum about the possibility of guest artists appearing on the tracks. "It will be a pop album for sure. Maybe weíll go deeper in our influences. But the people who like Aeroplane will like the album!," they write. "Itís kind of a concentrate of our music. We just do the music we love and that we always wanted to do. We are not stuck in a style. We are not Balearic. We are not Nu Disco. We are not rock or house. We put all this together on our music. Sometimes itís bad and we just delete it, but sometimes itís great and people like it."

By Dustin Drase

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