Dark Entries Editions reissue series continues with a double A-side of the first two Helen maxi singles, “Witch” and “Zanzibar”, as a 4-song EP. Helen was an Italo disco studio project that consisted of various producers, songwriters, and vocalists from Italy in the 1980s. The first line-up included popular Italo producers Piero Cairo and Massimo Noe, known for their work with Joe Yellow, Den Harrow, Pink Project, and Dharma to name a few. They were joined by prolific Italo session vocalist Elena Ferretti. “Witch” was originally released in 1983 on Out Records, a label distributed by Discomagic Records. Signature Linndrum and Simmons drums create the driving rhythm track while Elena’s powerful vocals tell the haunted tale of a witch and her magic.

Vinyl 12" £15.49 DE066LP

Reissue 12" + poster on Dark Entries.

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REVIEWS

Witch / Zanzibar by Helen (Italo disco artist)
1 review. Write a review for us »
9/10 Brian 04 July 2014

Most welcome re-issue of the two earliest and rarest Italo-disco sides by cult collective Helen, passionately re-packaged here by those nice Dark Entries people. There's a whole slew of sought-after Euro-centric 80's tunes being unearthed by this very astute American label, and along with the amazing Crash Course in Science EP, this is the other essential one for me from the last couple of batches.

Elena Ferretti is the vocalist here. She's got a lovely dreamy voice on her; a light, breathless sexy affair that suits the strident LinnDrum/Simmons beats and wild, playful synths of 'Witch' like a glove. I've listened to this gorgeous track four times now and I'm convinced it's a piece of tropical cosmic genius. I believe I heard it ages back during the course of some random Italo mix and got blown away then, although I had little idea who was responsible. Now, the knowledge, it's mine....ALL MINE!

'Zanzibar' is a slightly more reserved outing although just as magical and otherworldly as its counterpoint on the flip. This tune offers up a really vibrant pairing of pattering woody percussion and one of those sultry, swaying European rhythms you could hear in slick clubs by the harbour in the Med on a blissful Summer's eve.....gazing at all the preening, supernaturally beautiful night-life. Lush, understated vocals here too and some subtle jazz funk rhodes-style chords. Both tracks have their instrumental dub counterparts included so you wickie-wah-wah DJ types can get all clever......

Growing up in the 80's all I had to hand was what R1 poured into my ears like a slurry pipe of aural doom. If Helen had been a British affair, rather than an esoteric Italian concern I think my life could be quite different now. So glad I've caught up with this, my re-issue of the week (there's lots of them these days innit....)



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