When people talk about Italian dance music, they tend to focus on Rome and Napoli rather than Bologna. Yet the city in Northern Italy not only played a key role in the development of “Italo-house” in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, but also boasts a vibrant contemporary scene. To prove the point, Boogie Café has put together “Bologna On The Move”, a four-track selection of sizzling hot cuts from some of the city’s latest wave of deep and soulful dance music talents.
Leading the charge is Sam Ruffillo, a producer who first appeared on Boogie Café last year following an impressive 2018 debut on Irma Dance floor. He kicks off proceedings with the infectious “U Make Me Sing”, a heavyweight slab of rolling breakbeat goodness rich in tight vocal samples, jazzy guitar licks and wonderfully warm and weighty bass.
Later in the EP Ruffilo returns to action alongside Brine, another rising star with links to legendary Italian label Irma. “Request Line” is a fine slab of chunky, U.S garage-influenced deep house that sees the duo pepper swinging drums and toasty bass with heady organ stabs, cut-up vocal samples and trippy electronics.
Fittingly, Brine gets a chance to showcase his skills as a solo producer via “Star Chaser”, a looser and jazzier house excursion that doffs a cap to the glory years of jazz-funk whilst championing rich deep house synth riffs, jaunty bass and more spaced-out vocal snippets.
You’ll hear a similar jazz-funk influence at the heart of the EP’s only contribution from Red Rooster founder and former House of Disco artist D’Arabia. The most experienced of the three artists on show, he offers up “Straight Outta Fire”, a bouncy, deep and percussive affair that wraps drowsy male vocals, sustained chords and harmonica samples around disco-influenced house beats and what may well be the squelchiest bassline ever to emerge from Bologna.