Today’s find is actually a reissue of an old song; not sure if that counts as cheating, but we’re going to go with it anyway. Australian record label Isle of Jura just released a 12″ vinyl copy of disco artist Bella Vista’s 1982 single “Mister Wong,” including along with the original track a “Disco Dub” take and an extended edit. I’m choosing to focus on the extended version, because I feel like this is the kind of song that is most effective when stretched out as long as possible. “Mister Wong” is anchored by some tasty slap bass licks, which I was going to describe as campy, but this is 80’s disco, so of course it’s campy (and awesome!) There’s also an airy synth riff and some funky guitar stabs, but what makes the extended edit stand out is the addition of live percussion courtesy of Jura Soundsystem, the pseudonym of label head Kevin Griffiths. At every possible juncture, empty spaces in the song are filled out with ecstatic hand percussion fills, some of which sound like pots n’ pans clattering against each other. This adds yet another layer of frenetic movement to an already lively track. “Mister Wong” sounds like a later Talking Heads song deconstructed into its composite parts and then reassembled in random order over the course of 7 minutes, and I’m loving it. I now want to wear a ruffled satin shirt and medallion to work today, which would certainly get me some odd looks. Maybe I’ll just put the song on repeat and wear funny socks instead.
Check out more from Isle of Jura: https://isleofjura.bandcamp.com/