Moonboots, the Manchester-based keeper of the Balearic flame, is about to release his first comprehensive compilation. The co-founder – alongside Jason Boardman – of the Aficionado parties and record label has put together retrospectives before. “Best Ofs” for Is It Balearic? and Music For Dreams. But this will be the first time his solo selections haven`t been confined to a single catalogue (The Originals on Claremont 56 being a collaboration with Balearic Mike). The collection seamlessly segues between time-frames and genres. Weaving disparate pieces into an unified whole. It has to be said that listening to the well over an hour of music contained is a super chilled experience. It`s a defiantly (Militant?) horizontal selection. Pianos. Strings. Modern Classical. Birds sing. Cellos ache. Tropicalia samples join pretty acoustic Indie odes to faded innocence remembered. Twilight electronics. White Isle Jazz. A nuclear warning is hidden in `50s Disney themes. Breakbeats meet Easy-Listening, orchestral Welsh Folk and a Love Song. Tabla and guitar meditations. A Soul boy turned Jazzmaster. Oasis sidemen. Former Trance stars. Grammy nominated, ECM soloists. With hats tipped to Carl Orf and The KLF. For five of the fourteen tracks it will be their first time on vinyl. A further four are previously unreleased. Giving the compilation even more clout than the already considerable kudos of having Moonboots at the helm.
Why do the compilation with Music For Dreams? Why not Aficionado?
Compilations or even artist LPs aren’t something we’ve ever considered doing at ‘nado. Kenneth (MFD) approached me around 18 months ago with the idea. They’ve always put out excellent music so it seemed at good match.
When did you meet Kenneth? How long have you known him?
I first came into contact with Kenny many years ago when I worked at Eastern Bloc. I used to sell him records over the phone. I finally met him face to face when I visited Copenhagen back in 2014. He’s a crazy man.
I guess it would have been easy to pick 12 “Moonboots Classics” but you haven’t done that. There`s only one track here that I`ve heard you play a lot. What did you set out to do? Was there a “concept”? How hard was it to select tracks for the compilation?
Yeah, I suppose Colorama is the only one on here I’ve played a lot. It’s pretty much due to most tracks on here either being unreleased or CD only. I didn’t just want to do a compilation of the top ten Balearic tracks from Juno’s chart last year. Not that there’s anything wrong with that of course. I just wanted to find a bunch of interesting and generally unheard of stuff without going down the ultra rare, private press Albanian nose-flute road.
Your selections always reward the patient listener. In that a lot of the music here could be (very) broadly pigeon-holed between “Modern Classical” and “New Age” – all pianos and strings – but the tracks you select always reveal something special as they unfold. Say the first few bars might have me thinking, “I have a ton of this stuff already”, but by the middle of the piece I`ll be nodding in appreciation and mouthing “essential”. I was wondering, of course, where do you find this stuff? But also how many hours a day do you spend listening to music, filtering through it to identify the “winners”?
Cheers. I used to spend a lot more time listening than I do nowadays. I had the day off work yesterday and spent three hours rooting through stuff on the net. I also found a beauty of a track I already owned going through my own private “record shop” upstairs. Sometimes re-listening to your own collection can be super rewarding. I also walk to work each day for about an hour which I find is a perfect time for listening. Music always sounds better outside!
The Ben Morris track stands out, for me at least, as being more “downbeat” than the others. Is there a message behind this selection?
Ha, not really. I think quite a lot of the music on here sounds quite melancholic anyway.
Were there any tracks that you could`t get?
Yeah, a few. I think there always will be with compilations. There was a different version of Love Song to go on there at first. But their label pissed around for ages so things changed. I’m really happy with the final track-listing.
Recently, I feel that I`ve just woken up after an extended binge to find records absolutely everywhere. Do you ever sell records? Do you find you`re running out of space?
Fuck yeah. I’m fortunate to live in a reasonably sized house so most records can fit into one room-ish. There will always be overspill though. I’m terrible at keeping things in order too, so I’m forever looking for something I can’t find.
A long while ago now you stopped doing on-line mixes. Do you think Aficionado and compilations like this one, have helped you get more DJ bookings?
Bizarrely no. The whole online mixes thing got really frustrating. Too many random folk asking for mixes for their blogs, etc. Also there just seems to be a modern culture of everyone wanting every track i-d. People even get arsey if you don’t reveal. I still have mixes – tapes usually – with tracks on there which I have no idea who they’re by. You can’t know every track!
Gig wise, I seem to be getting even less nowadays. My next gig is NYE. Every fucker’s a DJ now though aren’t they?
Am I right in thinking that Aficionado – the party – has a big birthday coming up? 20 years? Are there any festivities planned?
Yep. 20 long but incredibly funny years. We`ve definitely got some plans afoot which will be revealed ASAP.
Can you take us through your selections? Give us a bit of background?
Rishi – Simple Trust
This comes from a Danish New Age CD given to me by Phil (Mison) many years ago. He favoured another track from it but I always loved the length of this one. A beautiful building piece and a perfect ‘toilet track’.
David Darling – Cello Blue
I found this on YouTube whilst listening to some New Age guff. It popped up on the side bar, looked interesting so I gave it a whirl. Epic, sub aqua cello track that always gets an i-d request when it pops up on one of my more linear mixes.
July Skies – Softest Kisses
Short yet so very sweet. Antony always comes up with such brilliantly English track titles for his music. It`s worth checking out the recent reissue of the Dreaming of Spires album for a slightly longer version too.
Begin – Names In The Sand
I’m fortunate enough to have many friends who make amazing music. Jim (James Holroyd) is supremely talented and that’s why I had to have one of his tracks on the compilation. He gave an early demo of this to me three years ago and I remember playing it that very day down in Birmingham. Sounded brilliant even then in that earliest form. I just wish that he’d release more stuff. He’s sitting on a load of great bits. Little known fact; Jim & I recorded and released a 7” together back in the 90s. It’s so rare / rubbish that there’s not even a Discogs listing!
FRM – Janne
Ah, those mysterious Swedes. I remember Timm from Is It Balearic? playing me an early track, Magma, that they ended up releasing on a 12”. I really loved that spaced out sound. We were fortunate enough to release a lovely E.P, of their`s on Aficionado. It`s still one of my favourite releases. Also, their LP on Horisontal Mambo from earlier this year is seriously good.
Blank & Jones – My Island
I`m a sucker for a bit of acoustic guitar. Piet (Blank) sent this over to me in March maybe. At that point the compilation was due to be coming out a lot earlier than it has, so having this on there was essential. Such a great Summer track on a record coming out at Christmas!
Ben Morris – Gissningsleken
More Swedish business (see FRM) released as a 7” on Junk Yard Connections. I think you described it as “downbeat” Rob? Melancholic for sure but I also love the ‘50s retro-ness of the vocal samples.
Gryningen – Från Andra Hand Till Stränderna I Nice (Mike Salta edit)
This one is on here for my dearly missed friend Siba. I first played this extended version in Croatia at the excellent Love International two years ago. I can remember her rushing over and saying “dude, dude, I really need this”. I’m just truly gutted she isn’t around to finally hear it on vinyl.
Colorama – Anytime
Carwyn is a genius. We’ve been lucky enough at ‘nado to release both Hapus? and then the amazing Bendith E.P. earlier this year. He comes across like a Welsh Burt Bacharach on this one.
Natureboy – Love Song
I collect cover versions of Lesley Duncan’s “Love Song”. I don’t really know why but I’m in too deep to get out now. You can check out my addiction via my Instagram. This version came out on a micro-pressed CD so it just seemed appropriate for me to give it a nice vinyl release. I like that it’s almost got a Pink Floyd vibe to it.
Bombay Hotel – Between Leaves
Another tune that Phil turned me onto back in the ‘90s. This was a last minute addition. I’d been listening a lot to the phenomenal Nordsø & Theil LP that came out earlier this year. They were involved in this too and it had never been released on vinyl. I`m really happy this is on the compilation.
Paul Hardcastle – Moments in Time
I remember hearing 19 for the first time on breakfast TV in 1985. I think it had just hit number one in the UK chart. It blows my mind that 32 years later I have one of his tracks on my compilation. This is from his later ‘smooth jazz’ incarnation. It has that borderline Dancing Fantasy cheesiness to it but I love it.
Matt Deighton – Tannis Root
Beautiful bit of Jazz-inflected Folk. I’m guessing Matt was listening to a bit of Nick Drake when he recorded this. And why not.
Swan and the Lake – Waiting for Spring
One of my favourite MFD artists. I love the original of this and when Kenneth sent over this interpretation it was on the compilation instantly. That guitar reminds me of KLF`s Chill Out. Always a good thing. A perfect way to end the LP for me.
Moments In Time Complied by Moonboots is released on CD this week. The vinyl should be in shops after the weekend. Distinctive artwork by the lovely Sarah Salkeld.