Published Apr 01, 2014While the early-mid 1970s underground New York proto-disco revolution remains one of the most posthumously celebrated scenes in music history, little, if any, primary footage from the period has seen the light of day, which makes Love Is The Message a welcome revelation.
Shot at the storied Gallery dance club in 1977, the film offers a look into the New York dance underground when DJ Nicky Siano was taking the house party-cum-eco-system of David Mancuso's Loft, as well as the technical innovations of New York spinners like Francis Grasso and Michael Cappello, to frenzied new levels.
A concise introduction explains the historical background of the period: Stonewall, the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam et al. before moving into the actual footage. Fans of the era will dig the fashions and the Gallery's interior, but what truly emerges from the pristinely re-mastered picture is the sense of unity that was cultivated at the club, a community fostered by the most soulfully innovative grooves of the period (the film's soundtrack includes such Salsoul classics as Double Exposure's "My Love Is Free" and Loleatta Holloway's "Dreaming"), delivered at the crucial junction when the DJ was becoming an artist in their own right.
The DVD's second disc includes interviews with David Mancuso, the just-departed Frankie Knuckles (who, along with the late Larry Levan, got his start at The Gallery) and Siano himself, which add more historical context. Love Is The Message captures a righteously hazy era of musical and social revolution with deserved and essential clarity.
Read an interview with Siano here. (Independent)