All Time Top Ten: dance music producers – G. Bortolotti

Its been ages that I’ve been meaning to write something about this ledge of a man. As a DJ back in the early nineties G. Bortolotti was a name stamped on to many fine dance music releases. These weren’t the usual early nineties techno break beat rave tunes mind you, these were uplifting vocal sampled tunes, which, more often than not in the early nineties, hailed from Italy.

The brilliant introduces Gianfranco Bortolotti this way:

Gianfranco Bortolotti is Media Records genial founder and the “innovating spirit” that leads his Record Label to face every day new important challenges!

Gianfranco was really prolific, and this is really saying something coming from me – an unknown DJ with a vinyl habit buying records from minor independent record shops in the Thames valley! His name was everywhere back then in a way that could never happen these days.

Here are just a few of the acts that he was involved with a lot of which I still have vinyl releases from at home:

49ers, Allan III, Anticappella (releasing the fantastic Everyday), Antico, Axcel, B. B. C. M., Bezugsband 39, Bezugsband 40, Brahama, C.K.A., Cappella (Heylom Halib and the epic You Got to Know), Carl Roberts, Claps, Club House, Coconut Groove, Collapse (the exquisite My Love), Different Faces (2), DJ Creator (2), DJ Spy, Drop (2), East Side Beat, Eddy Brando, Fits Of Gloom, Funky People, The, Funny Twins, G.G. Near, G.J. Singulair, G.T., House Bam, Hovoyds, Joli Band, K.C. Tronic, Legend (10), M.P. (5), Max And The West Avenue, Mig 29, Mod 222, Mod-it, Morositas, Nahima, Neon Light, Night Communication, Ocean Wings, One System, P.W.M., Patrol (2), R.A.F. (releasing the huge techno track We’ve Got To Live Together), R.A.S.S., R.F.T.R. (the massive Extrasyn which used to light up rave nights at Prism & Spectrum where I had a DJ residency in Oxford), Sharada House Gang, Sosa, Stravaganza (2), Superbowl, Tom Dollar, Venice (2), With It Guys, X-Traordinary

Below is the fantastic biography from the website:

One of dance music’s most colourful ambassadors in the golden period of the late 80s and early 90s, Bortolotti was the name behind many ‘Italo-house’ classics as manager of Media Records. Bortolotti had originally found himself in the DJ world to supplement his university days. He was initially influenced by DJ Pierre (not the US DJ), learning his craft from him, and when the latter’s career began, actually helped in distributing records. His involvement grew until he too recouped the rewards of a couple of minor hit singles, reinvesting the money in a home studio and founding the Media label. The success of Media allowed Bortolotti to invest in no less than 10 studios – the main complex in Brescia, North Italy, was built on the Motown Records principle, churning out hits at a rate other factories ship beans. Cappella’s breakthrough hit, ‘Heylom Halib’, introduced the insistent rhythms, zany samples, tinkling piano and memorable choruses and catch phrases. This in turn predicted the wave of Italo-house hits (Black Box’s ‘Ride On Time’, Starlight’s ‘Numero Uno’, Mixmaster’s ‘Grand Piano’) that dominated the late 80s dance scene. Media continued to release a unabated flow of hits through acts such as the 49ers (‘Touch Me’), Fargetta (‘The Music Is Movin’’), East Side Beat, Clubhouse, Clock, DJ Professor and RAF. Just as Berry Gordy might have envisioned had he enjoyed access to the technology, the Media set-up ran along strictly businesslike lines, with three main producers (DJ Pierre, DJ Professor or RAF) working on their own floor. Each record was mixed between 15 and 20 times to suit individual territories, an astoundingly efficient and economic approach to making music.

Here’s the entry from Wikipedia for perhaps his most well known outfit Capella:

The name Cappella was first used in the year 1987. In the beginning, they were a Hi-NRG act and the main man behind Cappella was the Italian producer Gianfranco Bortolotti of Media Records, with contributions from the likes of Michele Persona and Mauro Picotto. In 1988, the act debuted on the British charts with the song “Bauhaus (Push the Beat)”, and the following year with “Helyom Halib” which peaked at number 11. At the time, the act was fronted by the singer Ettore Foresti.

Three years later Cappella scored another UK top 30 hit with “Take Me Away”, which sampled Loleatta Holloway’s “Love Sensation” – the same track that had been sampled on the number 1 hit “Ride On Time” by Black Box in 1989.

It was not until 1993 when Cappella began to gain momentum. After “U Got 2 Know” (which was based on the distinctive riff of Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Happy House”) got to the heady heights of number 6 in the UK, two permanent members were drafted in: rapper Rodney Bishop from London and ex-SL2 dancer Kelly Overett from Ipswich. “U Got 2 Let the Music” (which sampled Alphaville’s “Sounds Like a Melody”) was released in October 1993 and climbed to number 2 on the UK Singles Chart, held off from the top slot only by Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”.

There are many others worth mentioning in the same context: Mario Fargetta (who’s wonderful Music Is Moving is still one of the early nineties most classic uplifiting jems), Pietro Paolo Pelandi or P Lion (who’s Spanish Guitar Mix Burn In His Hands is still an undiscovered jem), Mauro Picotto.

Here’s one of his more rave-tinged numbers, the wonderful Extrasyn. Just love those soaring female vocals!

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Not in the least bit copyrighted by Tim Aldiss 2012