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Nu-disco is a 21st-century dance music genre associated with a renewed interest in 1970s US disco,[1] as well as synthesizer-heavy 1980s European dance music styles.[2][1] The genre was especially popular in the mid-2000s, and experienced another small resurgence in the early to mid-2010s.

Currently there are several scenes associated with nu-disco term, the first characterized as house music fused with disco (sometimes incorrectly referred to as disco house),[3][4] and disco-influenced balearic music, also known as balearic beat revival[5] or balearica.[6]


Disco house and French house synonym: late 1990s–mid 2000sEdit

French house could be considered the precursor of the movement in the late 1990s.[citation needed]. The DJ-production duo Faze Action, which started making music in mid 1990s, are called one of the early pioneers of early nu-disco scene.[7][3]

The moniker first appeared in print as early as 2002, and by mid-2008, used by record shops such as the online retailers Juno and Beatport.[1] Originally, they associated it with re-edits of classic disco records and a handful of European electronic producers who made music in that style. It is also used by Beatport, alongside alternative dance, to describe the music on several American labels that were previously associated with the genres electroclash and French house.

In 2002, The Independent described nu-disco as the result of applying "modern technology and pin-sharp production" to ′70s disco and funk.[8] In 2008, Beatport described nu-disco as "everything that springs from the late 1970s and early 1980s (electronic) disco, boogie, cosmic, Balearic and Italo disco continuum.[1] Spin magazine placed an umlaut over the "u" in "nu", used the term interchangeably with Eurodisco, and cited strong Italo dance as well as electroclash influences,[2] while many other labels refer to it as "Nu Disco," sans the hyphen. As of 2015, remixes and disco edits of old songs sit side-by-side with highly original productions on websites such as Beatport and Traxsource.

In the mid 2000s many covers and remixes of songs from the 1980s in the nu-disco style were popular as well as original songs in this style, with disco house songs such as "Lola's Theme" by The Shapeshifters, "Call on Me" by Eric Prydz, "The Weekend" by Michael Gray, "Out of Touch" by Uniting Nations, "Shine" by Lovefreekz, "So Much Love to Give" by the Freeloaders, "Love on my Mind" by Freemasons and two remixes of 1980s disco song "Waiting for a Star to Fall" all making the top ten of the UK Singles Chart in the second half of 2004 and first half of 2005. The trend continued until mid 2006, when more electronic varieties of house such as electro house began to become more popular.

Development of nu-disco sound: mid 2000s–early 2010sEdit

When electro house dominated mainstream scene, musicians started producing shiny, spacious and extravagantly melodic balearic music, heavily influenced by disco, which later was described as distinct nu-disco scene.[9] Such producers as Aeroplane,[10] fr:Lifelike[11][12] & Todd Terje[13] are considered as pioneers of evolved nu-disco scene. Tensnake's single Coma Cat hit the European charts in 2010 and was one of the most success nu-disco tracks of that time.[14]

Disco goes mainstream: 2013–presentEdit

In 2013, several disco and funk-influences songs charted as top hits, this time more in a 1970s style and one source stated that the pop charts had more dance songs than at any other point since the late 1970s.[15] The biggest disco-house hit of the year as of June was "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk, featuring Nile Rodgers on guitar.[15] The song was initially thought likely to be a leading candidate to become the summer's biggest hit that year; however, the song ended up peaking at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for five weeks behind another major disco-styled song, Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines", which spent twelve weeks at number 1 on the Hot 100, and in the process became the eventual song of the summer itself.[15] Both were popular with a wide variety of demographic groups.[15] Although many credit Daft Punk with bringing back disco in 2013, it is far from their most quintessentially French Disco record, and some even say that disco never left in the first place. But with high-profile collaborations with disco legends such as Giorgio Moroder and the aforementioned Nile Rodgers, disco is now not only in the public's ear, but in their consciousness as well.[16]


Disco edits / re-editsEdit

A modified version of the original master, edited by disco and house DJs to extend and emphasize the best and most dance-friendly elements. Todd Terje's edit of the Bee Gees hit "You Should Be Dancing" does exactly that, downplaying the dated vocal riffs in favor of driving bass, lively percussion, and an overall sense of space.[17] Many nu-disco producers are also disco editors and often there is a bit of overlap between the two genres as many nu-disco songs feature samples of classic disco tracks. It is also not uncommon for an edit to be made of a modern track.[18]

Modern notable disco editors include Greg Wilson, Todd Terje, Dimitri from Paris, Joey Negro and the Flying Mojito Bros.

Drum grooveEdit

Since nu-disco is a dance genre first and foremost, the drum grooves are an essential part. They often feature four-on-the-floor beats with an organic, lively feel based on the sounds of classic disco recordings by Chic, Sister Sledge, and others.[19] In some cases, producers will sample these grooves directly. Los Angeles-based producer Goldroom uses both house and disco influenced drum grooves in tracks such as "Waiting to Ignite"

Live instrumentationEdit

While modern production is abundant with synthesized sounds, many nu-disco records are, in the disco tradition, driven by guitar or bass licks. Guitarist, producer, and songwriter Nile Rodgers brought riffs to the forefront of the groove with Chic in the 1970s and again with Daft Punk in 2013.[19] Other notable modern examples include "Baby I'm Yours" by Breakbot and "Holding On" by Classixx[20]


As with other electronic genres, nu-disco producers use both digital and analog synths to create melodic and harmonic lines, and add ambiance and color to their records. Gigamesh uses a heavily synthesized sound while still retaining old-school influences in tracks such as "Back To Life", and Poolside uses atmospheric synths to compliment their drum, bass, and guitar sounds in "Do you Believe" [20]


Unlike its disco precursors, nu-disco and disco house are not beholden to song forms that are essential to the modern pop idiom. Rather than following the traditional verse-chorus model, nu-disco tends to take after its electronic cousins, with more drawn-out, repetitive sections that slowly ramp up to the chorus and back down again. Otherwise monotonous lines are brought to life with the use of filters, samples, and other subtle changes in the sound or groove over time in ways that make people want to keep dancing. Daft Punk 's "One More Time" is considered one of the most influential examples of the application of "filter disco." [21]

Notable labelsEdit

  • Black Cock Records (UK) was founded by DJ Harvey, and operated primarily in the 1990s. The label issued disco mixes and re-edits, and encouraged many young DJs on the label to incorporate disco elements into their house mixes, despite it being out of fashion at the time.[16]
  • Nuphonic Records (UK), which carries releases from a range of electronic genres and subgenres, helped launch a number of acts in the 1990s and early 2000s including Faze Action and Raj Gupta, and was one of the early pioneers of collaboration, fusion of genres, and live performance in disco house and beyond. The label has been suggested as the origin of the phrase "nu-disco".[22]
  • DFA Records (NYC) was initially started by James Murphy as a platform to launch his and his band LCD Soundsystem's music. The label has released records from a number of dance rock and nu-disco acts, including its very first hit with The Rapture and nu-disco/electronica project The Juan MacLean.[23]
  • Roche Musique (FR) is a progressive nu-disco and chill electronica label on the French scene. Citing the importance of the "French Touch", artists such as FKJ and Darius have released records on the label.[24]
  • Ballroom Records (US) is a now defunct label that produced a large number of bootleg re-edits released as white labels.

Notable artistsEdit

  • French duo Daft Punk has had a significant influence on nu-disco and numerous genres related to it. Their albums Homework and Discovery contain several reinterpretations of classic disco records, and they collaborated with Nile Rodgers on the hit single "Get Lucky". Although many French artists in the French house scene have produced music associated with nu-disco, Daft Punk are the most recognised name in the scene internationally.[25]
  • Dimitri From Paris, another French artist, is also strongly associated with the genre.[16] Rather than focusing on 1970s pop records, he uses eclectic sources for samples such as 1950s jazz, Latin exotica, and film soundtracks.[26]
  • Norwegian producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm pioneered a new sound in European clubs that became a precursor to nu-disco. With a musical background spanning from country and rock to gospel and jazz,[27] Lindstrom's "Norse House", which has gained an international reputation, evoked many of the elements of 1970s disco. Other Norwegian producers connected to the scene are Lindstrom's studio mate Prins Thomas and protege Todd Terje.[28]

See alsoEdit

  • Nu-funk, a modern form of funk music that has been revived from the mid-to-late 1960s.


  1. ^ a b c d "Beatport launches nu disco / indie dance genre page" (Press release). Beatport. 2008-07-30. Archived from the original on 2008-08-07. Retrieved 2008-08-08. Beatport is launching a new landing page, dedicated solely to the genres of "nu disco" and "indie dance". ... Nu Disco is everything that springs from the late ′70s and early ′80s (electronic) disco, boogie, cosmic, Balearic and Italo disco continuum...
  2. ^ a b Beta, Andy (February 2008). "Boogie Children: A new generation of DJs and producers revive the spaced-out, synthetic sound of Eurodisco". Spin: 44. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  3. ^ a b "The Joy of Nu Disco". M-Magazine. PRS for Music. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  4. ^ Lowrey-Rasmussen, Logan (2016-06-29). "3 Nu Disco / Disco House Tracks That Keep the Funk Alive In 2016". Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  5. ^ Hutchinson, Kate. "Dan Lissvik: Midnight review – suitably eclectic Balearic beat revival". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  6. ^ Hervé. "Moombahton, Nu-Jungle, Future Garage? Let Hervé explain". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Genre Focus: Nu Disco". MN2S. MN2S. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  8. ^ Nash, Rob (2002-10-19). "Clubs: New Releases: Tutto Matto Hot Spot". The Independent.
  9. ^ Lynskey, Dorian. "Vito de Luca of nu-disco hitmakers Aeroplane on becoming a one-man band". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  10. ^ "Aeroplane Biography". ResidentAdvisory. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  11. ^ Mutton, Troy. "Porsches - Horses (Lifelike Remix) [Premiere]". Pilerats. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  12. ^ "Lifelike". Storms DJs. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  13. ^ Gibsone, Harriet. "Todd Terje - It's Album Time: album stream". The Guardian. The Guardian. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Coma Cat | Defected". Defected Records. Defected Records. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  15. ^ a b c d "It's Happy, It's Danceable and It May Rule Summer". The New York Times. 30 May 2013.
  16. ^ a b c "Every summer is 'The Summer Of Disco': Your essential 'Nu-Disco' primer (part one)". DangerousMinds. 2013-06-04. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  17. ^ "Starter: Todd Terje: 15 Essential Rarities." Pitchfork. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  18. ^ Credit To The Edit Volume Two: Sleevenotes | Electrofunkroots
  19. ^ a b York, Edward Helmore in New. "Disco's back as Nile Rodgers tops chart again". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  20. ^ a b "Everything You Ever Needed To Know About Nu-Disco: Luke the Knife's To". The Untz. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  21. ^ "Disco, Nu-Disco, What's the difference?". Who's Jack?. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  22. ^ "Nuphonic Records : Encyclopedia of Popular Music - oi". doi:10.1093/acref/9780195313734.013.71680. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ "Shut up and sell the hits: Jonathan Galkin on 15 years of DFA Records". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  24. ^ "ROCHE MUSIQUE". Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  25. ^ "How Daft Punk Saved Pop Music (and Doomed Us All) | SPIN". Spin. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  26. ^ "Dimitri from Paris | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  27. ^ "RA: Lindstrom". Resident Advisor. Retrieved 2015-12-08.
  28. ^ "Every summer is 'The Summer Of Disco': Your essential 'Nu-Disco' primer (part two)". DangerousMinds. 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2015-12-08.

External linksEdit