Mix / Looking For The Balearic Beat / November 2017

Paraphrasing the Soul Sonic Force and sorting through today`s releases for tunes that could have graced Alfie & Leo`s Amnesia dance floor.

Zazou Biyake CY1

Zazou Biyake CY1 – Lamuka – Crammed Discs

A high quality reissue of the landmark collaboration between Bony Bikaye, Claude Micheli, Guillaume Loizillon, and Hector Zazou. Originally released in 1983, Noir Et Blanc, combines Congolese song and instrumentation with improvised electronic rhythms. An Afro / Cosmic classic, it continues to be a big influence on modern music makers. I must have referenced it at least a hundred times.

I Kong - Keep Blowing

I Kong – Keep Blowing – Fruits

Veteran Reggae singer returns with a feel good play on William Devaughn`s Be Thankful for Switzerland-based Fruits Records. There`s a slick, more electronic rework by Androo. But I`ve gone for the sax-y, Lord Echo-like Dub.

Coldcut - Kajra Mohobbat Wala

Coldcut X ON U Sound – Kajra – Ahead Of Our Time

10” extracted from the Outside The Echo Chamber LP. A version of the Hindi-Urdu love song, Kajra Mohobbat Wala, that surrounds Bollywood vocalist Hamsika Lyer with tabla, cosmic synths and strings. Bouncing out in bass space.

Brian Briggs - AEO

Brian Briggs – AEO – Get On Down

An oft bootlegged Loft Classic from an alias of John Holbrook. Randy Van warmer`s sound engineer. Playful, bubbling electronics recorded in Woodstock. In the Bearsville Studios owned by Bob Dylan`s ex-manager, Albert Grossman. Given the legit treatment by Boston`s Get On Down.

Vendetta Suite_FRONT_003

The Vendetta Suite – Shut Ya Dub! – Hell Yeah!

Gary Irwin mixes Digidub with Acid on his recent Hell Yeah! E.P.

Lars Bartkuhn

Lars Bartkuhn – Massai – Utopia

This came out in the Summer on Alex Bradley`s Utopia. I missed it. But it`s just got a repress. Part One`s a ten minute plus epic that begins with an ambience of birds, cicadas and nomadic shouts. Then the kick sets off tumbling percussion and near-Classical keys. The bass-line morphing throughout towards a climax of Pat Metheny harmonies. Part Two sounds like the Art Of Noise camping out under a star-lit desert sky with Sebastien Tellier`s La Ritournelle.

Miskotom – Hyena`s Laugh – Pleasure Unit

From a forthcoming E.P. on Pleasure Unit produced by the Lithuanian husband and wife team. Percussive, chilled, mid-tempo-ed House. Full of synthesised flutes, sighs and chattering wildlife. Topped off by a saxophone straight outta mid-90s Italy.

Forevernevermore

Moodymann – Meanwhile Back At Home – Peacefrog

Peacefrog reissue Moodymann`s Forevernevermore from 1998. It set a benchmark for House back then and remains absolutely timeless. Peerless, deep but accessible dance music.

IFEEL035_2000pxls

Mark Barrott – Theme From Nowhere – International Feel

Francois Kevorkian`s more floor-orientated remix of Mark Barrott`s Ambient Technoid Cascades finally sees vinyl. On the flip, Theme From Nowhere is a cowbell and piano-led, string-soaked spirit-raiser. Cut from the same cloth as Mark`s Pathways Of Our Lives.

Bruxas - Mas Profundo

Bruxas – Mas Profundo – Dekmantel

More cowbell. Something else that came out in the Summer, I missed, and is now fortunately back in shops. House that`s clearly in love with Jazz-Fusion and Brazilian Boogie. Guitars like Barrabas trying to do Santana, while a Mediterranean minx watches, laughing. If Vakula had taken Ray Mang with him on the Voyage To Arcturus. Both Bruxas and Lars Bartkuhn may well have been listening to Italy`s Early Sound Recordings.

Geoffrey Landers

Geoffrey Landers – Breedlove – Music From Memory

The latest comprehensive retrospective from Music From Memory focuses on Geoffrey Landers. Four sides split Punk-Funk / New Wave Pop and treated drones and field recordings. For me, it`s the former that appeal most. Sounding by turns like Talking Heads, Savant, The Necessaries and Arthur Russell`s Calling Out Of Context.

ASVN040_01l

Eko – Bowa A Mba Ngebe – Africa Seven

One of the ten amazing tracks on the latest in Africa Seven`s Africa Airways series. Volume Four is sub-titled Disco Funk Touchdown. While some of the names might be familiar – Tala M, Manu Dibango, Jake Sollo – I confess that I only knew one of the tunes. At least half of them I now couldn`t live without.

Mr Bongo Record Club volume two

Oby Onyioha – Enjoy Your Life – Mr Bongo

From another compilation. This one the second instalment of Mr. Bongo`s Record Club. A selection of favourites from the label`s radio show. Cherry-picking reissued funky and soulful rarities from the catalogues of imprints such as Afro 7, Athens Of The North, PMG, Sofrito and Superfly, as well as their own. Names like Anubis, Elbertina Twinkie Clark, Guy Cuevas, Julius Kang`ethe`s Kiru Stars, the Kelenkye Band, Elias Rahbani, Teaspoon & The Waves. And Oby Onyioha.

KH - Question

KH – Question – White

Constructed from pitched and phased loops borrowed from Bobby Powell`s 1971 slice of New Orleans Funk. Kieran Hebden AKA Four Tet releases 100 hand-drawn 12s via two Soho record shops and sets off a school of Discogs sharks. Though I think a repress has now quickly remedied that.

Kasso - Key West

Kasso – Key West – Best Records

Three John Jellybean Benitez edits of Claudio Simonetti`s Kasso project. Walkman`s piano-tastic. Kasso Latin-mad. While Key West is a seminal slice of Electro that crossed over into London`s late `80s Balearic scene.

Field Of Dreams – Pourquoi – Pleasure Unit

Another E.P. on Pleasure Unit that puts Bowie-esque vocals with New Beat stomp (think Airplane Crashers, Techno Bert). On Pourquoi a foxy French female`s whispered words soften the Electro. Riding an old school Marshall Jefferson B-line, as it gathers momentum, it pulls in David Morales Red Zone synth stabs while a 303 slowly gets out of hand.

Faze Action - Vamos Pintar

Faze Action – Vamos Pintar (Max`s Club Mix) – Faze Action

Simon and Robin Lee pay tribute to Balearic`s past, in much the same way as Phil Mison did earlier this year with Noche Espanola. Piloting a Euro-Disco time-machine with the Brazilian Nina Miranda (ex-Smoke City) on vocals. It`​s `89 action with gated rave-riffs and vibes-a-go-go. Max Essa provides two remixes. One down-tempo. The other stripping the track back. Giving those vibes room to show off, and adding some banging Batucada. Coming across like an old Freestyle record.

DE181_Virginia_jacketmockupFRONT

Virginia – Blue Pyramid (Mark Pistel Remix) – Dark Entries & Emotional Rescue

An Acid House pseudonym of Soft Cell`s Dave Ball. Virginia being Dave`s then-wife, who plays violin on the track. Adding the air of Eastern Mystery so popular in Balearic Beat. Blue Pyramid being a batch of late `80s LSD. Khidja, for want of a better description, modernise the tune. Up it`s sophistication. Bezier turns it into a kind of camp Trance overload. While Meat Beat Manifesto`s Mark Pistel stays truer to the original`s Psychic TV “Jack The Tab” roots.

12inch_cover_1lp_3mm CARVERY

Siassia & Tokobina – Mama Africa – Nouvelle Ambiance

On a new off-shoot of Sofrito, Nouvelle Ambiance, where the Congo meets Reggae in Paris. The new 12 features two tracks from the group`s sole `80s release, plus two more rescued from their archives. Joyous Highlife plus Highlife-influenced synth-y Disco. Possessing an almost Punk Funk. The Lovers Rock tune comes with booming bass, birdsong and cool guitar.

In The Red

Potion – Catch The Feelin` – Chuwanaga

The third compilation here, In The Red, focusses on Brit-Funk. The inaugural release on new label, Chuwanaga. Both label and comp put together by Parisian DJ, Saint-James. Music characterised by bright synths, and enthusiastically slapped basses. Thunder thumbs. Full horn sections. Jazz-Funk busting with young exuberance. The sound of early `80s inner city kids attempting move from school and church youth club bands to Pop stars. Private press, one-release hopefuls looking to those who made it. Brass Construction, Heatwave, Hi-Tension, Incognito, Level 42, Light Of The World, and Linx. Making grooves that would be borrowed by anti-Rock Post-Punkers, like 400 Blows. Dressed in leg-warmers and deer-stalkers. Soul All-Dayer dancers in tees, torn jeans and spats. NYC`s Paradise Garage by way of London`s Crackers. Dreaming of the stadium heights of Earth, Wind & Fire. Slave`s Party Lights.

Track-list

Zazou Biyake CY1 – Lamuka – Crammed Discs

I Kong – Keep Blowing – Fruits

Coldcut & ON U Sound – Kajra – Ahead Of Our Time

Brian Briggs – AEO – Get On Down

The Vendetta Suite – Shut Ya Dub! – Hell Yeah!

Lars Bartkuhn – Massai – Utopia

Miskotom – Hyena`s Laugh – Pleasure Unit

Moodymann – Meanwhile Back At Home – Peacefrog

Mark Barrott – Theme From Nowhere – International Feel

Bruxas – Mass Profundo – Dekmantel

Geoffrey Landers – Breedlove – Music From Memory

Eko – Bowa A Mba Ngebe – Africa Seven

Oby Onyioha – Enjoy Your Life – Mr Bongo

Four Tet – Question – Text

Kasso – Key West – Best Records

Field Of Dreams – Pourquoi – Pleasure Unit

Faze Action – Vamos Pintar (Max Essa`s Club Mix) – Faze Action

Virginia – Blue Pyramid (Mark Pistel Remix) – Dark Entries / Emotional Rescue

Siassia & Tokobina – Mama Africa – Nouvelle Ambiance

Potion – Catch The Feelin` – Chuwanaga

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s