Looking For The Balearic Beat / January 2019

Filtering this month`s releases through the hedonism of Alfredo and Leo`s Amnesia dance floor. 

toni esposito mushrooms proect

There`s an epic opener, in the form of that Mushrooms Project rework of Toni Esposito`s Rosso Napoletano, on Archeo Recordings. Thirteen minutes of psychedelic skunk Funk, reconfigured from the master percussionist`s 1974 Fusion opus. 

smith mudd the distance

There`s also an anthemic end-of-the-nighter from Smith & Mudd, on Adventures In Paradise.  The Distance, set to rival Shawn Lee`s San Diego as a Balearic fist-pumping finale, features the blue-eyed Soul vocal, and electric fretwork of Quinn Luke. The original grooves like Booker T. Jones, with added air-guitar solo. The song, an arms-open-wide call for assistance from family, which I`m taking to mean extended family, so friends. There are times when we could all do with a little help. Similar in vibe to those Loft-favoured Darkstarr remixes of Mavis. Quinn`s pipes sounding smoother than ever. Pulling in comparisons to Michael McDonald`s yacht Rock. Chris Cross` Ride Like The Wind. Ron Basejam`s remix dispenses with the intro, adds strings and synths, and makes everything Boogie. 

When I emailed to congratulate Quinn and Mudd, it turns out they`re both on the Mexican coast, “hard” at the next Paqua record. 

From Yacht Rock to Punk Rock, and Phantom Island, who have a 7 forthcoming from The Gagosians. A trio, possibly taking their name from the chain of US art galleries, `cos this is Art baby. A souped-up Delorean trip back to Downtown 81`s Mudd Club. Dancing with Jean Michel Basquiat and Debbie Harry to the Electro-holler of Suicide. The OG, IMHO, would fit right into catalogue of DJ Sundae`s Idle Press. Suzana Rozkosny`s vocal on Run For My Honey, pitched between Lydia Lunch and “Disco Clone” Cristina`s cover of Leiber & Stoller`s Is That All There Is. Standing on a street corner, gum chewing, leather jacket wearing, stiletto sporting, switchblade wielding, like a Punk Shangri-La. Kay Zee`s Patrick Hollenstein, and Alain Kupper, providing warped, Marc Ribot, guitar. 

Lexx & Kejeblos` remix change, changes, the beat, ups the sleaze (think Wall Of Sound`s Agent Provocateur doing ESG`s You`re No Good), and throws everything into space echo. Both versions have Phantom Island`s trademark huge bottom end. 

dj sotofett - cest laventure

Keeping that Punk Funk edge is a 10” on Honest Jons. C`est L`aventure has Sex Tags` DJ Sotofett, and Versatile`s DJ Gilb’R on assorted keys and production. Percussion and drums come from fellow Sex Tagger Stiletti-Ana, while Haugen Inna Di Bu, of Norway`s Kambo Super Sound Reggae soundsystem, rocks that bass. Descending as it does through this proggy, Kosmische jam. Opening like an homage to Sympathy For The Devil – complete with choral “ooh oohs” – Maimouna Haugen`s funky French narrative echoes the subversive Pop of Elli Medeiros and Ramuntcho Matta, stops for a synth-wash, before Gilb’R hits a Psyche Hammond solo. There`s a Dubplate mix, which is, unsurprisingly, more dubby, more House-not-House.

Lucas Croon`s Ascona E.P. on Themes For Great Cities also includes a couple of House-y moments. I prefer the gentle tribalism of Ethnxman, over the title cut. With its cuica-like call, and its chilled, synthetic melodic line, updating that beloved, loon bird loving, 90s Italian sound. Similar in its retro-not-retro feel to San Laurentino`s 12s on Aficionado and Live At Robert Johnson. That said, I actually picked this record up for the downtempo track, S.W.E.D. Digital Dub intercut with sections of bionic brass and Caribbean guitar (care of Stabil Elite`s Timo Hein), that riff on Wally Badarou`s Compass Points creations. I thought it`d go nicely with Gigi Flag`s Nymphomaniac (see Charles Bals blinding Club Meduse comp). The 110BPM-ish Nachtcafe is also pretty useful. A whistling 80s-sounding instrumental with a baggy, Balearic Network b-line (a la This Ragged Jack, The Aloof`s Never Get Out Of The Boat……).

 

More tribal moments can be found on the sophomore release from London label Viaggio. The imprint`s main man, Musta, delivers the beefed up Brazilian Batucada of Cantana. Your heart pumping to its big kick thumping. An effective mix of hand drums, timbales, and sampled chant. Mangiamo brings out the Africa in Brazil, on a similarly reinforced, clipped guitar charge. Like Copenema on steroids. Or Lambada from that recent Universal Cave 12. When the saxophone joins in, even an old git like me will go looking for a dance floor.

Kincaid move Cantana to a finger-snapping, Chi-Town Boompty Boomp. Bass booming. The percussion now resembling thunder. Details smashed, and trapped in echo. Buzzed by gated Rave signals. 

musta - mangiamo

Left Ear Records have some Afro proper, reissuing Lungile Masitha`s Vuyani / Makoti. Two sides of South African party music, originally released by the former Harari member in 1985, on local label Transistor. Makoti has Lungile, and his school kid backing singers, bouncing over big snares. Tunes its nagging key refrain between steel pan and marimba. The resulting feelgood factor coming close to that of Larry Maluma`s Kamusale.

House proper comes from Ali Berger. The Detroit-based producer about to join the ranks of Paul Cottam, Djj and Project 223 on the reactivated “dance division” of FatCat Records (rebranded as FCR), with his Keys To The Door E.P. Reimagining the musical heritage of Chicago and his hometown. Sleeves makes like someone beat-juggling two Relief records. With a Library / Exotica spy theme beamed-in over the top. Love In This Box is the Techno Soul of Chez Damier. Forever Monna with a bigger bang. Secrets is the kind of low slung sexually charged acidic throb that was a hit at Nicky Holloway`s Trip. In the mode of Adrenalin MOD`s Ecstasy (“Can You Fantasize?”). A familiar bass-line gets fragmented. A 909 tumbles. The TB-303 insists that your fingers trace those fractals that only you can see. There’s more Acid on the disorientating delirium of Badlands. Low end flatulence riding De Testimony’s bells, time-stretched, and Bam Bam`s drums. 

ali berger keys the door art

Bigshot have reissued a House classic from Hi Bias. Originally produced by Canadians Nick Fiorucci and Michael Ova in 1990. The duo probably best known for I Like It, under the alias of Landlord, which in its Blow Out Dub form rocked raves for everyone back in 1989. 

The downtempo`d More More More opens with slightly Gothic solo piano, and spooky synthesized choir – like an outtake from Thom Yorke`s Suspira score – before a Tour De France sample introduces an Electro break. The track`s darkness undercut by soulful synths and strings. The effect kinda like a vamp on Timmy Thomas` Why Can`t We Live Together – sexed up by a distressed damsel who apparently hasn’t had enough. 

The 120 BPM Don’t Look Back has that choir dancing to a moody New Beat machine march.  Keys letting out a low groan. Offset by popping Freestyle drum patterns. Handclaps sounding in warehouse echo. 

A couple of Balearic classics got reissued. Milan`s Vinyl Brokers have the essential Wax The Van, on their Groovin Recordings. Originally released on Jump Street, penned, and cello`d, by Arthur Russell, and sung by Lola Blank. Germany`s eclectic Miss You have Risque`s Starlight. Cute Dutch (I think) Disco from 1982, that I first heard played by Miles, from the Faith Forum, at the Boys Own book launch. Harvey featured it in one of his Boiler Room sessions, hence the original`s currently hiked on-line asking price. 

Track-list

Toni Esposito – Rosso Napoletano (Mushrooms Project 2018 Rework) – Archeo Recordings

Hi Bias – More More More – Big Shot

Gagosians – Run For My Honey (Lexx & Kejeblos Remix) – Phantom Island

Lucas Croon – SWED – Themes For Great Cities

Lola – Wax The Van – Groovin

Smith & Mudd featuring Quinn Luke – The Distance (Ron Basejam Mix) – Adventures In Paradise

Lucas Croon – Nachtcafe – Themes For Great Cities

Lungile Masitha – Makoti – Left Ear Records

DJ Sotofett – C`est L`aventure – Honest Jons

Ali Berger – Secrets – FCR

Musta – Mangiamo – Viaggio

starlight risque

Reference Links

Shawn Lee`s San Diego

Booker T. Jones

Mavis

Ride Like The Wind

Downtown 81

Idle Press

Lydia Lunch

Is That All There Is

Shangri-La

Kay Zee

Agent Provocateur

Sympathy For The Devil 

Stabil Elite

San Laurentino

Wally Badarou

Gigi Flag

This Ragged Jack

The Aloof

Universal Cave

Copenema

Harari

Kamusale

Relief Records

Forever Monna

Adrenalin MOD`s Ecstasy

De Testimony’s

Bam Bam`s drums

Landlord

Suspira

Why Can’t We Live Together

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