The Mystery of Solange

I’m trying to solve a mystery. A mystery involving 80s Italodisco and underground gay cinema. Which is the best kind of mystery, of course.

Italians Do It Better, which is my favorite label at the moment, just put out a new 12″: “Robots are Un-American” by Solange. They described in their store as:

While digging for rare italo disco vinyls in the archives of a now defunct radio station, a friend of Bottin’s found this reel dated 1984. All we could find on the internet are traces of a mysterious promo pressing (that’s where we got all the credits from) on legendary IL DISCOTTO label. The track seems to have been recorded at Green House, a former recording studio in Padova, Italy – the same city as the radio station’s where it was found! We asked Bottin to make a remix that we put on the B side and the rest is history, literally. Ltd to 750 copies and will not be repressed!

The song knocks hard, so I started looking around for more info about it. Googling for “Solange” mostly just brings up information about Solange Knowles, Beyonce’s sister. Googling for “Robots are Un-American” mostly brings up stores selling the IDIB 12″. But I did find a torrent titled “SOLANGE – ROBOTS ARE UN-AMERICAN – 1984 italo disco – Discotto – cruisin’ – RARE vinyl rip mp3”, but nobody was seeding it. Then I found this video:

It’s wicked awesome, but I wasn’t sure if it was made for the original single or for IDIB’s reissue of the single. It looks retro rather than authentically 80s. The star’s clothes are a big giveaway. Also, the director is listed as Today Versitile, which has no google hits, and the label is listed as Giallo Records. Giallo, huh? Not Italians Do it Better or Il Discotto?

I then notice the video was posted by Todd Verow. I google that, and find out he’s a famous underground gay filmmaker. He has a new movie coming out called The Boy with the Sun in His Eyes that is described as:

Kevin’s (Josh Ubaldi) funeral rockets John (Tim Swain) into the orbit of the flamboyant Solange (Mahogany Reynolds), a b-movie actress/one hit wonder best known in Europe for her roles in 80’s Italian horror movies.

Movies with loosely translated titles like Rabid!, Rat Attack and The Ghoul School.

Solange was Kevin’s muse. Kevin was Solange’s confidant. Her mysterious, glamorous lifestyle is the stuff of legend to John via Kevin’s prior conversations, emails and wild phone calls. After Kevin’s suicide, John is eager to escape into her world.

Seemingly on a whim, she invites John to accompany her to Europe as her Boy Friday. She’s going to work on her guerilla foodie tv pilot “The Un-Tourist Guide.” John accepts the challenge. He’s been in a cubicle temping rut for a few years, and with the death of Kevin he figures he hasn’t got much more to lose. Oops.

As John follows her into heady whirlwind romances with cute French pop stars and deadly (but hot!) Milanese model managers, they barely survive murderous performance artists in Paris and fatal gourmet food poisonings in Italy. John begins to realize that Solange’s world is far more complex and dangerous than he could possibly have imagined. Her chosen lifestyle abounds with trips, tricks, and traps.

And John’s the bait.

The actress playing Solange is the same woman as the star of the video. And there is a line about her “one-hit wonder from back in the 80s”, “Robots are Un-American”. The website for the movie also mentions original music by William Bottin, who remixed the track on the b-side of the IDIB 12″.

I’m pretty sure IDIB is frontin’. This ain’t rare unreleased italo disco. This a new cut by Bottin that is being released as a throwback to fit in with the marketing of The Boy with the Sun in His Eyes. Or just for fun. The song is still ultra-fire, though.

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