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North Satellite’s Journey from ‘Past Life Half-Lived’ to Cosmic Disco Mastery: The Stars Are Ours

Kono Vidovic March 11, 2024 80 9 5


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The label El Triańgulo is operated by Quinn Lamont Luke, sometimes known as Bing Ji Ling, and an original member of the Phenomenal Handclap Band. Created as a home for his own productions and for music from friends around the globe, the label touches elegantly upon a wide spectrum of musical genres, from serious basement dancefloor fillers to soft, sweet, acoustic, singer-songwriter offerings of loveliness.

In March of 2023, El Triańgulo released North Satellite’s debut full-length album ‘Past Life Half-Lived’. As a reference point, think Compass Point Studios in Nassau – the birthplace of Tom Tom Club, Thompson Twins, and the Grace Jones masterpieces – and Wally Badarou, who is one of North Satellites most favourite inspirations. The album marries live instrumentation and a wide array of tones and colours that bring ‘Past Life Half-Lived’ to life, resulting in a subtly sublime sonic listening experience. It was mixed down by fellow cosmic traveller and purveyor of only the good stuff, Darshan Jesrani, who has assisted North Satellite along his journey, as well as releasing North Satellite’s ‘A Rising Sign’ on Darshan’s own Startree imprint. 

North Satellite - ‘The Stars Are Ours track talk interview

As a youngster growing up in Seattle, North Satellite aka Eugene Tambourine, was fascinated by the north satellite of Sea-Tac International Airport. That terminal was a portal to mystical adventures and airplane flights that ferried families to and from the East Coast onto new adventures in distant lands.  

Here North Satellite reworks his original album arrangement with a nod to New York’s Fun House club of the mid ‘80s. This new EP is a collection of remixes of ‘The Stars Are Ours’, the track lifted from the 2023 album, with a remix by Conrad of the Idjut Boys. Across the Atlantic ocean, Conrad renders a deadly groove which evokes the sonic landscapes of the Orb if they were to shimmy their way through a carnival setting. The sublime ‘Cosmic Freestyle’ versions complete this starry package, they were mixed down by master of time Darshan Jesrani and mastered by Paul Gold.

I WANT TO LIVE IN A WIGWAM by Cat Stevens

Cat Stevens was the first male singer I ever heard on a record. This is the b-side to”Morning Has Broken”, a 45 that belonged to my parents. When we moved to Seattle I became fascinated with totem poles and thought it was a quirky inaccuracy that Cat Stevens portrayed them and wigwams together.

Anyway, I love the gentle anti-establishment yearning, the dramatic building

arrangement with its confident guitars, distinct hi-hats, pounding drums and that strange floaty keyboard tone.

TORNADO written by Timothy Graphenreed. Arranged by Harold Wheeler

A hip babysitter introduced me to this via the Broadway soundtrack to “The Wiz”. Later I was amazed to learn that this was an early underground disco favorite in NYC, complete with a promo 12″ remix. The more linear album version is a masterpiece to me. Every instrument is doing something interesting when you focus on it. Without a doubt “Tornado” prepared my senses to appreciate the orchestrations of Barry White and the Philly Sound in years to come.

RAIN by Barry Manilow

This reminds me of a time when there were not as many groovy records in my

household. Still, certain songs and sounds would grab my attention and become

influences later on. In this case it was the arpeggiator and the use of the muted cowbell.

A BRASS BAND IN AFRICA by Simple Minds

“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” was an inescapable song when I was growing up. Its bside is actually the flipside to a previous single (“Up On The Catwalk”). While it has the same arid, crashing drums, the rest of “Brass…” is replaced by soaring keyboards, emotive U2-like guitars and no bassline. I took a chance and covered this on my album last year, having loved the mood and the melody since I was a teenager.

I’LL FLY FOR YOU (Glide Mix) by Spandau Ballet

I love the production style of Steve Jolley & Tony Swain and the recordings they did with Imagination and Bananarama. Their singles have an uncanny grasp of Dub and this Spandau Ballet remix is no exception. From a moody ballad, it’s transformed into a hypnotic journey punctuated by slamming chords and phasing synth effects. Lead

singer Tony Hadley intones the originally sung lyrics while the others chant the hook.

Then the tape calls it quits.

LORELEI by Tom Tom Club

Lurking in the shadows of their big hits is this gem of a b-side. Ominous chords,

mystical lyrics and a fidgety guiro scraping all over the place! The great Adrian Belew contributes his signature techy guitar riffs. There are also 12″ versions of this, including an Instrumental.

I’VE SEEN THAT FACE BEFORE (LIBERTANGO) by Grace Jones

There’s nothing quite like the musical fusion that was explored in the early ’80s. Here you have a tango standard set to lyrics, synchronized to a reggae rhythm section and topped with new wave synthesizers. Pure musicality and a band dynamic like no other. I always notice the percussion seasonings of the late, great Uzziah “Sticky” Thompson.

A DREAM’S A DREAM (A NIGHT AT THE OPERA MIX) by Soul II Soul

The UK Soul sound had such an effect on me when I shifted from being simply a music lover to being a DJ. There are too many great productions to list, but Soul II Soul continued to radiate on their second LP. There’s such sophistication here: Simon Law’s sensitive piano, a fantastic bassline and a percussive ‘house/not house’ rhythm track. Victoria Wilson-James sings the song with such conviction, it speaks to my Scorpio soul – “Show me who you ARE!”

MASACOTE by Jose Mangual

Latin music can be heard nearly everywhere when you live in New York City. I’m

particularly charmed by the sound of classic Salsa in a passing car. Depending on my

location, I often just hear the bassline or the low tone of the tumbadora (large conga drum). It’s a reminder that popular dance music exists without a disco beat!

THE STARS ARE OURS by North Satellite

So here I am, the sum of these influences. Perhaps this understanding is what ‘cosmic disco’ is all about!

A few last words.

And there we have it, a mesmerizing trip through the musical landscapes that have shaped the artistry of North Satellite. I want to extend my deepest gratitude to North Satellite for allowing us to be a part of this incredible journey. Your music is a beacon of creativity and innovation in the world of sound. To our listeners, if you’ve been moved by the cosmic melodies and transformative beats we’ve discussed today, I encourage you to explore ‘The Stars Are Ours’ Remixes EP. Dive into the vibrant, eclectic sounds of North Satellite and let your soul be carried away to distant galaxies. Thank you for tuning in, and until next time, keep your ears to the stars and your heart in the music.


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Kono Vidovic at Dirty Disco
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Kono Vidovic

DJ | MUSIC CURATOR & SELECTOR | PODCAST MAKER | BLOGGER Professional online interpreneur. Coffee practitioner. Electronic music culture maven. Total music guru. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Food & sports fanatic.

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