Talk to me about Patrick Cowley's 'Menergy'

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I'm not sure who claimed the Muscle Up version of "Somebody To Love Tonight" is "clunky"? It's not one of the more rough-sounding tracks on MU, but since I heard and fell in love with the Sylvester version years before this one, it just feels like something is missing. TBH I have the same feeling with most instrumental versions of disco tunes, unless they're proper dub versions with some extra tricks and gimmicks.

But I can imagine that hearing it on the soundtrack of the porn movie where Cowley intended it to be used is different. A lot of soundtracks leave me similarly cold if I haven't seen the movie, feels like part of the narrative isn't there.

Tuomas, Friday, 13 January 2017 06:56 (three years ago) link

i find most songs sound better if i'm watching porn while i'm listening to them

increasingly bonkers (rushomancy), Friday, 13 January 2017 11:06 (three years ago) link

Note how carefully worded my last post was = I was on the office.

Tim F, Friday, 13 January 2017 11:43 (three years ago) link

lol narrative

Wimmels, Friday, 13 January 2017 13:18 (three years ago) link

four months pass...

Kickin in, kickin in
Doo doo do-do doooooo

the evening redness at the injection site (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Sunday, 28 May 2017 07:48 (three years ago) link


the evening redness at the injection site (GOTT PUNCH II HAWKWINDZ), Sunday, 28 May 2017 07:48 (three years ago) link


Michael F Gill, Sunday, 28 May 2017 13:40 (three years ago) link

two months pass...


Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem Records have teamed up once more to release the final volume of gay porn soundtracks by San Francisco-based musician and producer, Patrick Cowley. One of the most revolutionary and influential figures in the canon of disco, Cowley created his own brand of Hi-NRG dance music, “The San Francisco Sound.” Born in Buffalo, NY on October 19, 1950, Patrick moved to San Francisco in 1971 to study at the City College of San Francisco. He founded the Electronic Music Lab at the school, where he would make experimental soundtracks by blending various types of music and adapting them to the synthesizer.

By the mid-70’s, Patrick’s synthesis techniques landed him a job composing and producing songs for disco superstar Sylvester, including hits like “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, “Dance Disco Heat” and “Stars.” This helped Patrick obtain more work as a remixer and producer. His 18-minute long remix of Donna Summer’s “I Feel Love” and his production work with edgy New Wave band Indoor Life were both of particular note. By 1981, Patrick had released a string of dance 12″ singles, like “Menergy” and “Megatron Man”. He also had founded Megatone Records, the label upon which he released his debut album, “Menergy”. Around this time Patrick was hospitalized and diagnosed with an unknown illness: that which would later be called AIDS. Throughout 1982, he recorded two more Hi-NRG hits, “Do You Wanna Funk” for Sylvester, and “Right On Target” for Paul Parker, as well as a second solo album “Mind Warp”. On November 12, 1982, he passed away.

In 1979 Patrick was contacted by John Coletti, owner of famed gay porn company Fox Studio in Los Angeles. Patrick jumped on this offer and sent reels of his college compositions from the 70s to John in LA. Coletti then used a variable speed oscillator to adjust the pitch and speed of Patrick’s songs in-sync with the film scenes. The result was the VHS collections “Muscle Up” and “School Daze” released in 1979 and 1980. “Afternooners” is the third collection of Cowley’s instrumental songs, recorded in May 1982. These recordings were culled from two 23-minute reels in the Fox Studio vaults. This compilation also includes three bonus tracks found in the archives of fellow Megatone Records recording artist Paul Parker and the attic of teenage friend Lily Bartels. Influenced by Tomita, Wendy Carlos, and Giorgio Moroder, Patrick crafted a singular sound from his collection of synthesizers, percussion, modified guitars, and hand-built equipment. The listener enters a world of forbidden vices, evocative of Patrick’s time spent in the bathhouses of San Francisco. The songs on “Afternooners” reflect the advances of the equipment available at the onset of the 1980s. Cowley's unadulterated electronic forms are stripped down and dubbed up. Lush electronic percussion, soaring synthesizer riffs and low slung funk grooves comingle on these magnificent soundscapes.

Featuring 70 minutes of music never before released on vinyl. All songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. The vinyl is housed in a gatefold jacket designed by Berlin-based artist Gwenael Rattke, featuring black and white photos of Patrick in his studio that opens to a full color array of x-rated scenes from the Fox Studio vaults. Included is a fold-out poster featuring a handmade collage using photography and xeroxed graphics of classic gay porn imagery and an essay from Drew Daniel of Matmos. For Patrick’s 67th birthday, Dark Entries and Honey Soundsystem Records present a glimpse into the futuristic world of a young genius. These recordings shed a new light on the experimental side of a disco legend who was taken too soon.

There will be a celebration of Cowley's life and work on November 9th at CounterPulse in San Francisco with performances by Group Rhoda and Jorge Socarras, and talks from John Coletti (Fox Studio), Theresa McGinley (Angels of Light), & Chris Njirich (Remember the Party) as well as screenings of original 16mm films from the Fox Studio Archives.

Patrick Cowley
Dark Entries + Honey Soundsystem
LP / CD / Digital

1. Big Shot
2. Surfside Sex
3. Hot Beach
4. The Runner
5. Furlough
6. One Hot Afternoon
7. Leather Bound
8. Bore & Stroke
9. Cycle Tuff
10. Jungle Orchids
11. Take A Little Trip
12. Love Come Set Me Free

for all the above + images & contact info:

dow, Friday, 25 August 2017 20:30 (two years ago) link

That SF show in November sounds like a treat. And this news was also the prompt for me to finally get Muscle Up.

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 26 August 2017 13:09 (two years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Sounds good!

Eazy, Monday, 18 September 2017 19:43 (two years ago) link

two years pass...

'New' EP released tonight out of nowhere:

During the 70s, Patrick was the lighting technician at The City disco in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. This was SF’s largest Gay entertainment complex, where everyone from Grace Jones to Sylvester would perform. Frank Loverde was performing there with his band Loverde when Patrick asked if the band would like to do backups on some songs he’d been working on. Frank, Linda Imperial and Timmy went to Patrick’s studio and laid down vocals for songs, most of which were never released and remained buried in the Megatone vaults.
In 2007 Honey Soundsystem was contacted by the former owner of Megatone Records John Hedges. Hedges’ was moving to Palm Springs and invited us over to his basement to collect over 2,000 records from his collection. Among the archives we noticed three moldy boxes of quarter inch reel to reel tapes. Included was the final mixed down reel for “Kickin’ In”, an epic 9-minute journey through disco, that Patrick recorded with Loverde in 1978. From the introduction of a bouncing arpeggiated Prophet IV to the harmonized vocals that transport the listener to another realm, the song encapsulates the Hi-NRG dance music that Patrick became known for. It was an “up” sound for the gay disco scene, music that would compliment and sometimes enhance all night dancing. On the flip are two earlier songs produced between 1975-77 featuring bass lines by college classmate and studio mate Maurice Tani. Both songs feature Patrick narrating erotic gay sex fantasies inspired by San Francisco’s leather bars, back rooms and bathhouses. These songs show the sleazy side of Cowley’s slow burning, oozing electronic creations with layers and layers of synthesizer, guitar, drum machine and vocoder.
All songs have been mastered by George Horn, who originally mastered all of the Megatone Records releases at Fantasy Studios. “Patrick parted the veil and entered a dark world of forbidden vices, wondrous musical panoramas and bold, strident, hopeful possibilities. Patrick brought the future to us and laid it at our feet.”

Also in a couple of weeks is a new collection of unreleased work in general:

Which itself is paired with a reproduction of Cowley's sex diary. Details and some screenshots at the link as well.

Ned Raggett, Sunday, 6 October 2019 02:02 (eight months ago) link

Pretty cool! Seems like Kickin' In originally surfaced a few years back ( but it passed me by at the time.

britain's secret sauce (seandalai), Sunday, 6 October 2019 16:33 (eight months ago) link

I'm in for the 2xLP + softcover book. I missed Afternooners somehow but Muscle Up and School Daze are all time favorites

Paul Ponzi, Sunday, 6 October 2019 17:40 (eight months ago) link

By the timing on the Bandcamp download, the "Kickin In" track is 3 minutes shorter than the 2015 release.

skip, Sunday, 6 October 2019 18:21 (eight months ago) link

Holy shit, I haven't listened to this in ages but I was listening to my music on shuffle and this popped up right after some Soul Jazz reggae compilation. Timely revive!

Josh in Chicago, Sunday, 6 October 2019 19:34 (eight months ago) link

Decided to just get the LP without the book. Might pick it later if I love this album as much as Muscle Up and School Daze but money is tight atm and I'm not sure how many times I'll actually read Cowley's cruising journals

Paul Ponzi, Monday, 7 October 2019 20:13 (eight months ago) link

This is sounding really excellent so far. The two songs I listened to have some of the seasick wooziness of Muscle Up and School Daze but with the energy and textural variety of Megatron Man and Menergy. "Lumberjacks in Heat" almost sounds like something that could have been released on Innovative Communication in 1985. Really eager to hear the rest.

Paul Ponzi, Friday, 18 October 2019 15:55 (eight months ago) link

Anybody get their copy yet? First impressions?

Paul Ponzi, Tuesday, 29 October 2019 18:47 (eight months ago) link

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