The Original Mash Up Kings: Pink Project

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pink-project

Origin: Milan, Italy
Genres: Italo Disco
Years active: 1982–1983
Label: Baby Records
Past Members:
Stefano Pulga
Luciano Ninzatti
Matteo Bonsanto

Pink Project is the name of an Italo disco production created, like its contemporary Kano, by Italian composer/keyboardist/producer Stefano Pulga, together with his colleagues Luciano Ninzatti (also guitarist/programmer), Matteo Bonsanto (keyboardist) and sound engineer Massimo Noè. Their biggest hit, which also provided them with their name, was a mashup—one of the very first such creations, actually, in Italy—entitled "Disco Project."

"Disco Project" was born out of the mixes that Pulga used to create during his club nights. In early 1982, he and Ninzatti had realized that Pink Floyd's “Another Brick in the Wall (Part II),” which was a big hit in Italy in that period, and The Alan Parsons Project's equally popular "Mammagamma" had the same tempo and, in some sections, the same key. Plus, in light of Parsons' long-standing association with Pink Floyd—he engineered the band's historical Dark Side of the Moon album—APP's instrumentals (starting from earlier ones, such as "Lucifer" and "The Gold Bug") were often mistaken for Pink Floyd by Italian club goers and “dance” fans in general.

Pulga and Ninzatti made a mix which started with APP's "Sirius" (another popular track from their 1982 album Eye in the Sky), then went straight into "Mammagamma" (avoiding Parson's transition to his album's title track), over which an acappella version of the kids' choir from Another Brick was superimposed, with the octave bass and steady drums from "Mammagamma" running all the way through.

The vocals from Pink Floyd's song fitted perfectly on the Parsons piece, so Pulga and Ninzatti decided to officially release the mix as “Disco Project.” However, the final recording was not a mix, in that it did not feature any actual samples from the Parsons or Floyd records; instead, everything (i.e. the whole instrumentation) was very carefully re-played by Pulga, Ninzatti and Bonsanto—in particular, Ninzatti played a nice rendition of David Gilmour's famous guitar solo—while the choir was performed by a group of schoolkids from an international school in Rimini. All of this was mainly done because Pink Project had no authorization at all from the any of the songwriters—indeed, they never asked for any—so the only way for them to release "Disco Project" was to actually make cover versions of the three pieces featured in it.

"Disco Project" was a major hit in Italy during the summer of 1982, and this implicitly obliged Pulga & Co. to put up a fictional band for TV performances. Indeed they did—the song was mimed various times on Italian TV by four people (on bass, guitar, drums and keyboards) dressed up in black monk-like robes and black pointed hoods. Although there were rumors at the time about three of the mysterious individuals being actually Pulga, Ninzatti and Bonsanto themselves (with the fourth "member" being Massimo Noè), this was never really confirmed or denied by anyone. Also, the TV performances did not feature any choir or anyone lip-synching the lyrics, although the vocals were clearly heard.

After the big hit with "Disco Project", the three producers used the Pink Project moniker for two compilation albums, mainly made up of more mashups in the same style as "Disco Project," borrowing from Jean Michel Jarre, The Police, Falco, Vangelis and Deep Purple (among others) while continuing their APP association.

Here’s some stuff you should hear:

"Hyper-Gamma-Oxygéne"

“‪Der Da Da Da”

“Magic Flight”

“B.Project”