Looking For The Balearic Beat / September 2018


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

Marcos Valle cover copy

Starting with the reissues, and beginning there with the long-players, there are two tracks from the 20th Anniversary edition of Marcos Valle`s Nova Bossa Nova, on Far Out Recordings. Bahia Blue is the piece that I`ve spun most consistently and regularly over the last two decades. Sounding as it does, like one of those Nana Vasconcelos tunes that Daneile Baldelli would play. Freio Aerodynamico re-imagines Marcos` 1970 hit as House. Taking Brazilian beats back from The Good Men. Adding his phenomenal piano playing to its four-four. 


Be With Records have the surprise BBC Light Entertainment Boogie of Marti Caine`s Point Of View. The sleazy Love The Way You Love Me was out as an edit a few weeks back, but the sublime skank of Snowbird City is also certainly worth your dough. Produced by largely unsung UK Disco Hit maker, Barry Blue, and I think coming on 180g with sleeve notes by Bill Brewster (who was one of the first to re-discover the record yonks ago). 

Hosono House

I`m also lifting 薔薇と野獣 from the opening titles of Light In The Attic`s scheduled Haroumi Hosono retrospective. Hosono House, Omni Sight Seeing, Paraiso, Philharmony, are all essential. This is one of the highlights from the first on that list. Funky Folk with crazy drums from Tatsuo Hayashi. Full of flying cymbals and Tubby`s Hi-Fi high-hats. 


Staying with Japan, Wewantsounds have Akiko Yano`s Tadaima lined up. Mischievous 80s Synth Pop produced by Akiko`s then husband, Ryuichi Sakamoto. Rooted firmly in that decade, it sometimes comes across as a Nippon Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Cute, and ping-ponging like an Atari home computer game. Pogoing to Electro-Punk. But its AOR is backed by Sakamoto`s evolving electronic squiggles, and Akiko`s spoken poetry is accompanied by abstract Ambient soundscapes. There`s straight piano Jazz, which provides clues to Akiko`s past, and also her future (she is still an active and respected Jazz player). The standout, though, for Balearic ears, will be Rose Garden. A churning, robotic chugger. Whose rhythm recalls those on Sakamoto`s Left-Handed Dream (also released in 1981, with Akiko contributing). The Avant Garden Of Poppies, and the later grooves of Shogunade, and We Love You. It`s synth riff`s a ringer for Savage Progress` oddball Ron Hardy / Music Box classic, Heart Begins To Beat.

DE Giant Steps

Not really a re-issue, but an archival find, D.E.`s Giant Step is a dusted-off Dance alter-ego of Athens-based Ambient pioneer, Akis. Brought Into The Light after a being hidden on the composer`s shelves. Clearly influenced by the early 90s Street Soul of Jazzy B, The Funki Dreds, and The Chimes, its built around drums that must have danced at some point to Spoonie Gee`s Love Rap. Its keys are pizzicato strings, wistful woodwinds, and the voices of lost tribes. The Demo Mix is perhaps even more Balearic. Its beat deconstructed and interspersed with “found sounds” (e.g. a cash register) and stuttering cartoon effects. Bringing to mind Art Of Noise`s Paranoimia, and old Weatherall spin, Die Zwei`s Grapsch. 

The new stuff`s mostly of a more Techno bent than usual. 

DJ Normal 4

DJ Normal 4, on Second Circle, mixes New Wave / Industrial with Chicago Jack. 


The Seed is a teaser from the highly-anticipated collaboration between Tony Allen and Jeff Mills. Tomorrow Comes The Harvest, arriving sometime soon on Jazz institution, Blue Note, no less. Mills sending a variety of keys, through an unmistakable Afrobeat shuffle. 

*Someone please give me shout when that Japanese edition – with the extra tracks – goes up for pre-order. 


Jazz-funkers 291Out team up with producer Flyme, to form 291Outer Space. The musical result is the double-vinyl, gatefold concept LP, Escape From The Arkana Galaxy, for New Interplanetary Melodies. Complete with written narrative, and amazing comic book artwork, that`s H.P. Lovecraft on The Forbidden Planet. Epic is the word, with the shortest track nearly eight minutes long, and two over sixteen. It`s dubbed-out Disco – like FK reworking Atmosfear. 

Handclaps, cymbal crashes, spiralling Sci-Fi sine waves, and Fender Rhodes SOS patterns. Keyboard breakdowns that are part kalimba, part Detroit, and very John Beltran (whose classic Ten Days Of Blue has just been repressed by Peacefrog). Mick Weaver & Shawn Phillips` World in Action Theme via Omid Nourizadeh`s 16B. Shifting through tones, timbres, electrical storms, and overdubbed asteroid showers. 

But, like 291Out, it`s also an homage to Italy`s musical heroes. The Prog Horror scores of Goblin, Simonetti`s Italo dance floor hits, and the proto-Techno of Morroder`s The Chase. The title track, Escape…, is driven by a wah-wah lick and sledgehammer beat. When the arpeggios kick in, it starts to Rock out. In contrast, Cryogenesis, is a slow, bass-generated, gravity-free float. Blues arcs running backwards against pretty twilight chimes. A husky Deiter Meier sound-a-like reciting a last transmission. Beatless, it rivals Digital Justice`s Theme From It`s All Gone Pear-Shaped. Ants in its pants. Still full of drama. 


House, breaks and Electro combine for a bang of big room retro-not-retro on Autre`s Everybody In The Past (out today on ESP Institute). Like Master C & J on mid-90s Italian drugs, its Acidic echoes, twisting, and turning. Increasing in intensity. Its flute-line unfurling a stairway to Heaven. On the flip, Frigo (premiered on Ransom Note) is tumbling Latino Freestyle. The sound of a modern day Paradise Garage at 3AM. Delirious dancers unaware of approaching dawn. Happy, high-spirited, with mutant steel pans. Whose Ai acrobatics dazzle as alien Jazz. 

Autre`s part of the Berlin-based Gifted Culture Collective, and ESP Institute also have a second 12 due from fellow member, Xinner. The break on Dream Resonator, stuttering, puckering and blowing. Its hardware homaging The Human Beatbox. Accompanied by harp-like New Age ripples and (little) fluffy fractals. Converging on an introspective foot-shaker in the vein of Tornado Wallace`s ESPI classic, Thinking Allowed. Its flip, Ice, fuses thunder claps, rudely cut loops, and machines misfiring. Elements working in unison to drive a Trance Dance. Seamlessly sewn together by symphonic strings, Italo arpeggio, and racing “build-the-box” bleeps.

Anton Klint ups downs

The exception to all of this mechaniod-banging is Anton Klint`s Strupe. And even then the Dan Lissvik co-produced guitar picking is a bionic Blues. Augmented acoustics with subliminals weaving in and out. If it`s a Boogie then it`s more Can than the Solar Records family. Slow and moody, it sees Anton reunite with Mike Simonetti (one of the heads of 2MR), after his previous incarnation as Tiedye on Mike`s Italians Do It Better.


Marcos Valle – Bahia Blue – Far Out Recordings

Haroumi Hosono – 薔薇と野獣 – Light In The Attic

Anton Klint – Strupe – 2MR

Marti Caine – Love The Way You Love Me – Be With Records

DE – Giant Step (Club Mix) – Into The Light

Akiko Yano – Rose Garden – Wewantsounds

Tony Allen & Jeff Mills – The Seed (Edit) – Blue Note

DJ Normal 4 – Aeo (Rhythm Mix) – Second Circle

291Outer Space – Arkana Galaxy – New Interplanetary Melodies

Marcos Valle – Freio Aerodynamico – Far Out Recordings

Autre – Everybody In The Past – ESP Institute

2 thoughts on “Looking For The Balearic Beat / September 2018

  1. Hi Rob

    I can’t find anything about the 291Outer Space release online, do you have any links? Keen to listen / purchase, sounds amazing!





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