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The Parallax Corporation - Cocadisco

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Artist: The Parallax Corporation

Album: Cocadisco

Label: Disko B

Review date: Dec. 8, 2002

The Slow Redemption of Disco

Disco is power. With disco on your team, you can engineer a psychic dictatorship. But disco runs with a bad crowd.

Even though disco just wants to boogie, she can’t hit the dance floor without getting fondled. Before sunrise, she invariably finds Machiavellian lotharios and stick-figure models snorting lines of coke off her shapely thighs, wondering how she can look so glamorous and yet feel so drained. Whenever you see a catwalk, a pack of empty-but-fabulous clotheshorses or people getting fucked out of large amounts of cabbage in exchange for flashy bullshit they don’t need, disco is there. You’ve always assumed it’s her natural milieu. But maybe she’s not truly happy.

Such is the rationale of Interr-Ference and Intergalactic Gary’s cerebral courtship of pop music's most notorious harlot. Much as Tarantino resurrected Travolta, our protags salvages disco’s dignity by giving it something to do. They put disco to work bringing the pain, anger, fear and genuine ‘tude.

Don’t worry. They aren’t didacts. They aren’t Chumbawumba. The Parallax Corporation exists simply to advance the long-dead idea of disco as pop art of the sort that will never be altogether cannibalized by pop commerce.

The “concept” behind Cocadisco revolves loosely around the narcoleptic ‘70s art flick The Parallax View, but don’t worry about that, either. The allusions are predictably obtuse. Cocadisco is its own entity; it has no more to do with The Parallax View than 36 Chambers really had to do with Kung Fu films.

The opening snake charmer “Lift Off” sets the ominous undercurrent of hostility that runs even through moments that promise cheeseball transcendence, such as the goofy Space Invaders funk of “IRO” or the crisp, rubbery aerobics of “(Searching For A) Cybernetic Lover.”

Although it keeps itself busy reconciling disco and soul, the Parallax Corp. also makes time to drop some positively futuristic shit on that fashionably cynical ass. “Thema Di Cocadisco” leads a conga line of barely syncopated beats into the misty Megamix Forest, revamping some ancient gimmicks to create a haze of thumps and blips that stands out from the stuttering Timbaland soundalikes like a fat joint in a fresh pack of Camels.

Of course, disco skeptics will notice that Parallax lacks “personality,” as traditionally defined. And, if you’ve come to expect hip hop’s sense of humor from all your digital beat science, Cocadisco may seem cold. But disco has had a rough time. Disco has spent too many years too eager to please. Disco needs a chance to be pompous and shallow and to take itself too seriously as it waits for its heart to reemerge. So, if nothing else, thank Parallax for restoring some of disco’s dignity. Disco needs its dignity. Power without dignity has destroyed empires.

By Emerson Dameron

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