A highlight for many visitors to Night Fever: Designing Club Culture is the Silent Disco where people can safely experience the visual and sonic intensity of a club night and dance under a mirrored light display to carefully selected playlists via headphones.
Exhibition designer Konstantin Grcic and lighting specialist Matthias Singer devised the music and light installation for the exhibition that celebrates night club design to provide an immersive experience for people to strut their stuff and appreciate some of the iconic tracks that forged the sound of modern dance music.
Night Fever’s silent disco features four playlists to choose from: Pre-disco, Disco, House and Techno.
Every tune has been selected for its irresistible rhythm, though each has its own story to tell from pioneering cuts such as Manu Dibango's Soul Makossa to popular hits like Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, alongside house and techno classics including Phuture's Acid Tracks and Cybotron's Alleys of Your Mind.
Ahead of Night Fever: Designing Club Culture closing on 9 January, a shortlist of eight tracks worthy of extra consideration have been revealed including four favourites from international DJ Ana Matronic, who supported the online opening of Night Fever in May this year with a guest DJ set streamed from her home studio in New York.
Tracks from the Night Fever: Designing Club Culture play list can be found on Spotify.
Following new Scottish government guidance, V&A Dundee has reduced visitor capacities within the museum and Night Fever exhibition. This allows for safe distancing and for fresh air replacement across the museum.
Night Fever at V&A Dundee closes at 16.00 on 24 Dec then opens 10.00 – 17.00 daily from 27 Dec – 9 Jan 2022. Book Night Fever tickets in advance.
SILENT DISCO TOP TRACKS - INCLUDING FOUR FAVOURITES FROM DANCE DEVOTION DJ, ANA MATRONIC
Fania All Stars – Viva Tirado
New York's Latin community has had a massive impact on dancefloors, from The Salsoul Orchestra's disco vibes to Masters At Work's house joints, but it all begins with the city's Fania label, which in the late sixties and early seventies was instrumental in updating Latin rhythms as salsa. Featuring the cream of the city’s Nuyorican musicians, house band the Fania All Stars took this new sound around the world – they toured Europe, Africa and Japan, as well as back home playing the Yankee Stadium. Their series of highly regarded live albums includes 1974’s Latin-Soul-Rock, containing this cover of big band leader Gerald Wilson’s paean to a Mexican bullfighter.
Carl Bean – I Was Born This Way
Years before Lady Gaga (who acknowledged the inspiration for her Born This Way), Carl Bean recorded this definitive version of one of the original gay anthems. Signed to the Motown label, Bean claimed his own family had rejected him due to his sexual identity. Now the vocalist's most famous number reminds us of disco's inclusivity, and how the most influential clubs often invited in LGBTQ+ communities and ethnic minorities to express themselves on their dancefloors.
Inner City – Big Fun
In the UK, 1988 became known as the Second Summer of Love, when rave culture became an overground sensation, with crossover hits from house playlists cementing themselves in mainstream charts. Among the earliest was this infectious anthem from the group founded by Detroit producer Kevin Saunderson and Chicago vocalist Paris Grey, showing that synth tracks and celebratory vocals could be accessible across the globe.
Rhythim Is Rhythim – Strings of Life
As well as founding Inner City, Kevin Saunderson was a key pioneer in the pure, futurist genre created in his hometown. He began by working on cutting-edge sounds with friends Derrick May and Juan Atkins, the group becoming known after their neighbourhood as the Belville Three. Under his Rhythim Is Rhythim moniker, May produced one of techno's best loved tunes – its synthesised strings nodding to the classicism of European influences such as Kraftwerk and evoking the hope of Martin Luther King Jr's speeches.
Ana Matronic, host of Dance Devotion on BBC Radio 2, said: “It's difficult to get through more than 50 years of dance music made for the club, but here goes.”
Soul Makossa by Manu Dibango 1972 - A true dance floor hit, Soul Makossa was an import record championed by David Mancuso of The Loft that took off in popularity with his crowd and spread throughout the discos of New York. It’s underground popularity rose to the ears of legendary radio DJ Frankie Crocker who gave it airtime on New York’s WBLS and introduced a generation of listeners to Afrobeat. The song helped sparked the world music influence on disco, and its iconic refrain ‘Mama ko mama sa make makossa’ became an international call to the dance floor (Makossa means DANCE in the Duala language of Cameroon), and was famously echoed by Michael Jackson in his song ‘Wanna Be Starting Something’.
I Feel Love by Donna Summer 1977 - What is there to say about the iconic trio of Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, and Pette Bellotte that hasn’t been said before? I just steal the line from my friend Brandon: “It always sounds like it’s from 15 minutes in the future.” - and it remains the #1 most requested song I get. Pure dopamine and serotonin in sonic form, this song is the living, churning, molten core of Planet Dance.
Love Can’t Turn Around by Farley Jackmaster Funk ft Darryl Pandy 1986 - It feels weird not putting Frankie Knuckles on this list, but this was the first US House song to chart on the UK pop charts. Embodying the Warehouse spirit and exemplifying the Chicago sound, it kicked off a transatlantic movement that would bridge US and UK club culture forever and create a global family of ravers.
Trans Europe Express by Kraftwerk 1977 - From the warmth of American R&B to the chill of Krautrock, no band heralded the future quite like Kraftwerk. Working to create something entirely new from the ashes of WWII, Kraftwerk helped redefine what it meant to be German and provided a counterpoint to the wild and woolly excesses of 1970s rock ’n roll. Building off the foundation of their groundbreaking 1974 hit Autobahn, it was 1977’s Trans Europe Express that really solidified their robotic sound, one that would be fully realized in their next album, Man Machine. This song would famously divide a dance floor back in the day, some people not ready for the long, cold, hypnotic ride — one of those people was Steve Rubell of Studio 54 — he famously fired Nicky Siano for playing it!