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Disco 4 :: Part I is an essential collection from the ever-growing Health

"Disco 4 :: Part I"

Release date: 16 October 2020
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16 October 2020, 11:55 Written by Jack Bray
​Across 4 studio albums, 3 remix releases, providing soundtracks for beloved franchises like Max Payne and Grand Theft Auto, HEALTH have been steadily defined by their artfully crafted, yet pointedly challenging work. ​

The HEALTH of 2020 do not sound like the HEALTH of the early aughts and over the past decade we’ve seen the trio continually iterate and progressively resist type. It’s a philosophy that’s enabled them to produce arguably some of the most shattering, hallucinatory noise rock in said time frame and really, you’d want it no other way.

HEALTH also have a long history of collaboration. Arguably, the group were put on the map during 2007 following the release of Crystal Castles’ cover of "Crimewave" and fittingly, the band hasn’t forgotten the second life that their music might enjoythrough artistic reinterpretation.

This is - and always has been – the main draw towards HEALTH’s DISCO series. Beginning in September 2007 with the release of HEALTH/DISCO, the album provided a series of remixes andreworks that lent rising stars a chance to reimagine and reinterpret material from the band’s seminal debut. It’s been something of a tradition ever since, with the band even providing additional material across concurrent releases.

It’s by no means a unique concept but whether by choice or happenstance, HEALTH have always seemed to curate collections which stand toe-to-toe with their studio releases.

Enter DISCO 4 :: PART 1, a release which deviates from the established format and moves from remixes towards collaborations, with the album comprised almost entirely of the work HEALTH has undertaken with the latest and greatest since 2017 and frankly, the scope is dizzying.

100 gecs, Pertubator, Xiu Xiu. These are just some of the guests brought in for the album and though some fans might be disappointed that this isn’t an out and out remix album you can’t argue with the talent on show here.

That’s not to downplay HEALTH’s efforts though. "CYBERPUNK" is DISCO 4’s bespoke HEALTH track and it joins the likes of "Euphoria" and "USA Boys" as some of the trio’s best material that just so happens to sit outside their full-length studio oeuvre. The song feels like the apotheosis of pandemic panic and feels so justifiably damning of the state of the world at the moment that you just sort of melt into its ghostly embrace.

"D.F. Looks" also deserves mention as a whiplash-inducing banger which seems to have been designed from the ground up to sit comfortably within tightly crafted mixes the world over.

We've never heard HEALTH play with the conventions of their style in this way before and each track deftly teases out new sonic strata for the band to explore. It really suggests at the mutability and malleability of HEALTH’s style; like the material has been pulled out of several different alternate dimensions.Whether they’re brooding hip-hop pieces like "JUDGEMENT NIGHT" or softer melancholic pieces like "DELICIOUS APE" it’s all of such high quality.

The only misgiving I have when it comes to DISCO 4 is that there’s a significant lack of unheard material. Comprised of work released since 2017 you’ll find that there is little here that you havent heard before with 9 out of the 12 songs available prior to release. Naturally you do yearn for more.

DISCO 4 :: Part 1 deviates from the DISCO format HEALTH established back in 2008 but plays with that disctinction to create a collection as essential as you’d expect from the series. DISCO 4 :: PART 1 feels like HEALTH’s fifth full-length release and in a year like 2020 you definitely can’t argue with that.

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