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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Valerie Dore - Get Closer

posted by on January 22 at 11:55 AM


First off, Valerie Dore is not a woman. Valerie Dore is a project. Not even a band. Members and singers changed with every successive release, causing some confusion about who or what Valerie Dore was/is.

In 1982 Italian model Monica Stucchi, born in Monte Carlo of French and Italian decent, was recruited by Italo producer Roberto Gasparini to front his group Valerie Dore. Based on the minor keyed, slow rhythm dance sound of bands like Gazebo and Savage (whose famous hit, “Don’t Cry Tonight” was recently given new life on the Pet Shop Boys Back To Mine compilation), Valerie Dore’s first single, “The Night,” became a sensation in Europe. It has all the Italo trademarks: poorly enunciated English vocals sung slightly out-of-tune, with those mellow synths and handclaps.

The song wasn’t actually sung by Stucchi, it was sung by a famous Italo singer named Dora Carofiglio (she sang the classic vocal line on Answering Service’s Italo-rap hit “Call Me Mr. Telephone,” “Funky Is On” by Funky Family, “You Got My Soul” by Domina and served as lead singer of Novacento). Stucchi, who lip-synched the song “live” made the group more famous however for her eccentric dancing and costuming (think early ‘80’s Madonna with a distinctly Roman nose stealing from Kate Bush’s interpretive dance playbook.)

Not satisfied with a single hit, Gasparini and his partners Lino, Nino and Ross Nicolosi used nearly the exact same music arrangement and added new lyrics to create the song “Get Closer,” this time sung by both Carofiglio and Stucchi.

“Get Closer” is the pinnacle of the Romantic Dancing Italo sub-genre. Other great romantic dancing tunes would follow (most notably Katy Gray’s “Hold Me Tight”), but the influence of Valerie Dore’s “Get Closer” can still be felt today in the work of modern Italo artists like Sally Shapiro and Cloetta Paris.

The song was recently checked in the recent Royksopp Back To Mine, but even before that, and the homages given by Shapiro and Paris, artists have been playing around with its sound.

In 2001 Play Paul (né Paul de Homem-Christo, that’s right, the brother of Guy de Homem-Christo of Daft Punk) released a deep French-house track called “Spaced Out” on Guy’s Crydamoure label, which samples extensively from “Get Closer.” So much so, in fact, I like to mark the beginning of the modern age of the Re-Edit with it’s release. It is cut into so many small chunks and put back together in crazy ways, but the basics of the tune, the hand claps, the crying synths are all still there; just with crazy sped-up French house beats.

Then, in 2003, trance group Master Blaster used extensive samples of the vocal track, sped up to Minnie Mouse-esque heights, in its own song called “Get Closer” on their We Love Italo album.

Since then, white labels of the original have been released, it’s been name-checked and dropped into sets by Italo artisans like Johan Argebjorn and DJ I-F as well as being paid homage by other nouveau Italo bands, like Chromatics and Glass Candy.

So every time you hear mellow sighing synths played with a bit of glide, handclaps, and female vocals, with short lilting verses you know who to thank.

Valerie Dore.

Samples of some of the above mentioned tracks can be found here.

Here’s a snippet of Valerie Dore (fronted by Monica Stucchi) performing “Get Closer”.

RSS icon Comments


i might be being thick, but the blog link doesn't work.

Posted by cosby | January 22, 2008 1:11 PM

your not thick, i am!

link fixed. enjoy.

Posted by terry miller | January 22, 2008 1:40 PM

Have you heard their 1984 italo track, "The Night"? I would love to get a vinyl copy of that single.

Posted by TJ | January 22, 2008 2:52 PM

FINALLY A DJ from Seattle is acknowledging Valerie Dore. (She's had her Best Of compilation CD out for a few years now). How can you play Chromatics or Glass Candy in your set but leave out "Get Closer", "The Night", "It's So Easy" or "Lancelot", etc. ???

This outfit is the only Italo Disco / Euro Pop one of its kind to make you dance & cry at the same time.

Posted by Jean-Genet Ramsey | January 22, 2008 10:51 PM

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