Looking For The Balearic Beat / March 2019

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

Paul “Mudd” Murphy shows his rock-ier side and remixes Greek band Sillyboy`s Ghost Relatives, for a Claremont 56 12. Creating a slow, funky, sparse, dubbed-out groove, from their Blues. Trapped In A Small Place but with its eyes on the World. 

The Solid Doctor, Steve Cobby, teams up with Hull-based MC / poet, Chiedu Oraka, for the UK Hip Hop of Door Down, available digitally at Déclassé. Oraka`s lyrics as smart and as proud of their identity, as those of Cobby`s regular “vocalist”, Russ Litten (I love that (Not Another) Urban Mystic track). Recounting the reminiscences of a reformed bad boy. Looking back at a party crashing youth of limited opportunity. A street education of forced covert commerce. A story of robbers and bashers. Part Black Grape, part MC Buzz B. 

Lexx trailers his highly anticipated debut album – due in the Summer – with Too Hot. A Nile Rogers does Reggae-esque skank. Where Carly Simon`s sado-masochistic questioning is replaced by the stoned tones of Lexx` long-term collaborator, Woolfy. Sidewalk surfing a characteristic booming Phantom Island B-line, neat clipped guitar, and a cool whistling refrain. Searching for some safe shade in a dread Californian heat wave.

The Argentinian trio Femina mix modern RnB and Cumbia on their LP, Perlas & Conchas, for Kartel Music. Bass, with traditional instruments, like a Bolivian ronrocco. Featuring a collaboration with Iggy Pop, and production by Tru Thoughts` Quantic. There are raps, but the harmonies place the record firmly in the canon of 60s girl groups. 

While I’m on Quantic, he has a great new single out himself, on Tru Thoughts. The original of Atlantic Oscillations is Loft-styled orchestrally-strung Disco, teetering on the edge of House. Built around a live bass line and constructed with the aim of being played at Quantic`s parties at Brooklyn`s Good Room. There’s a Dub that sends the OG out into space – and using it for laser practice – but the Maghreban Remix is far more banging. Like the pianos from West Phiilips` Tell Me looped and set to the Punk Funk beat of James White`s Contort Yourself. 

Primal skin on skin, wood on skin, wood on wood, bashing comes from Nakara Percussions, reissued by Kosmos Records. This is bound to already be a favourite at Beauty And The Beat, and anyone with a fondness for Joe Claussell`s remixes and reworks should check it out***. According to the press release, it`s the track Balimba that has had diggers digging, but here I’ve gone for the sing-a-long Batucada of Honky Vahea. 

****I should also mention here that Joe’s seminal 90s Afro-Houser Awade just got a repress, on a 45. 

Left Ear Records have excavated Space Farm`s Egyptology. Two tracks of music inspired by the Pharaohs. Full moon processions of percussion and room-shaking bottom end. Ceremonies of sampled chant, and spiraling Psychedelia.

The first of two forthcoming things from Phil Mison is the new Cantoma single, Kasoto, on Phil`s Highwood Recordings. You’ll have to wait for the album to hear the original. Constructed around vocals and elements recorded by engineer Robin Twelftree on a trip to Gambia. Until then, Noche Espanola do their 80s Euro House homage. Something that is often imitated, but very rarely equalled. Strummed Spanish guitars, Flamenco handclaps, horns, and a cute marimba chorus – think Bandaid`s A Tour In Italy or Arvo`s Bikini. A dash of that African Kora. 

There are a few more mixes on the 12, featuring the work of the unknown-to-me-at-least DJ Speedy Boarding, and my sometime Karuizawa drinking buddies Karel Arbus & Eiji Takamatsu. But since the record`s not due until mid-May I’m on my honour to hold off on a full review for a while. 

Cantoma kasoto

The second release from Phil is the Ambala track, Alla Vita. Freshly remixed by Leo Mas and Fabrice for Music For Dreams. A flute flutters, piano plays cooly, while synths swirl with Eastern promise, and mystery. The Spanish whispers of vocalist Elizabeth Fadini, bumping a b-line strut that vamps on Chic / Sugarhill / Queen. 

Last month, Best Records Italy collected a bunch of tracks by Fabrizio Fattori, and released them as Mediterranean Africa. I should have really included it February’s thing – `cos every one`s a winner – but I was visiting the UK, and my copy was in Japan. The tune I’ve included here,  Bara Hum Ba, sounds like a fore-runner to Ivan Conti`s recent Bacurau. Tribal drumming and chants, full of Brazilian influence. 

**It was John Tanner of Eleventeen Eston who turned me on Fabrizio, during an interview, back in 2014. Since then the price of those records has rocketed.  

In a similar vein is Eo Eo from the new Belpaese Edits, 004. A percussive rumble, offset by muted Miles horns, synthetic squelches and woodwinds. Whats left of the vocal seems to be a cover of Luis Carlos Vinhas` seminal Jazz Dancer, Ye Me Le. Although I’m not sure if the vocal is actually lifted from another tune. Added to throw nosey parkers – like myself – off the scent. 

Belpaese art

 

Alexander Robotnick remixes

“Belpaese” is Italian for “Beautiful country”, and out of the idyllic landscape of Ferrara, Emilia Romagna, come a couple of things from Marco Gallerani`s Hell Yeah! There’s an E.P. featuring remixes of tracks by Luminodisco, and Somerville & Watson. Bjorn Torske`s overhaul of the former`s Oh Mary being the one for me. A long, long builder of trippy patterns, that gradually increases in intensity and uplift. Subliminally sucking you in. Taking you along for the ride. Until mid-way through you can’t remember your name, and don’t care. Echoes of cowbell and clipped Jazz guitar are way down deep in there somewhere, and the break of almost Flamenco stamp and clap allows even a sequencing simpleton such as myself to “seamlessly” segue into Bawrut`s remix of Alexander Robotnick`s Undicidisco. Bawrut`s 1,2,3,4 mix taken from the second Hell Yeah! 12, which pulls together four updates of Robotnick`s  proto-rave archival find (I`m not sure when the OG was recorded but it was first dusted off in 2011). Justin VanDerVolgen`s edit (A Love From Outer Space play) was released on the Coast 2 Coast E.P. back in 2013, but it`s now accompanied by new versions by The Vendetta Suite, Prins Thomas and the aforementioned Bawrut. The Prins buries the original’s hook within an Acidic Disco stomp. In contrast, The Vendetta Suite create a dub-smashed, beatless, Kosmische Trance pulse. But it was Bawrut who grabbed my immediate attention. Homaging the percussive EBM of Liaisons Dangereuses, with whistles blowing like Ege Bam Yasi`s live 303 Variations. The backwards synth refrain stretched and squeezed into a proto-Bleep squeak. Throwing the madness, and double-dipped in the tin marked “FUN”. 

Ali Berger releases his second Keys To The Door E.P. on FCR. Where Grease Trap is dark snarling Acid / Bleep, and Heard perhaps a tribute to Larry. But not the Soul of What About This Love? More a Gherkin Jerk workout. Or Washing Machine full of K Alexi`s Lee-Sah’s lingerie.  Hit Piece is a twisted, metallic, UR, Red Planet meteor shower. While the title track fixes big pianos to a rhythm as urgent as life. Mayday in the drums. Wiggin its the B-line. It made me go looking for my copy of Virgo Four’s Its Hot.

keys-the-door-ep2-1

There are more classic Detroit-isms on the Monica Groove E.P., by Aquarius TX, on Echovolt. The rising synth rushes, and 303, of the racing Transmat Techno of Sunset 17. With a lyric that concerns itself with flying free, and ecstasy. DJ Normal 4`s Breaky Baby Mixx gates the synths over Big Shot / Hi Bias-like Freestyle. Rewinds, and Sheffield flashbacks. DX-FM is more like 3AM in NYC mid 1990s. That 303 still going behind big treated keys. Romanthony wandering through a Roy Davis Jr. Power Music production. 

Nigeria 70 final cover artwork hi res

I’ve also included a teaser from the next installment of Strut`s Nigeria 70 series. Full review – kids Spring break permitting – to follow. The tumbling loose Funk of Don Bruce & The Angels` Kinuye comes from the Nobody Knows Tomorrow LP, and features the twanging  virtuosity of Don and Kayode Dosumu`s guitar dueling. 

Track-list

Sillyboy`s Ghost Relatives – In A Small Place (Mudd`s Extension) – Claremont 56

Steve Cobby & Chiedu Oraka – Door Down – Déclassé

Lexx – Too Hot – Phantom Island

Femina – Agradezco – Femina Music

Don Bruce & The Angels – Kinuye – Strut

Nakara Percussions – Honky Vahea – Kosmos Records

Space Farm – The Dawn Of The Birds – Left Ear Records

Ambala – Alla Vita (Leo Mas & Fabrice Mix) – Music For Dreams

Fabrizio Fattori – Bara Hum Ba – Best Records Italy

Cantoma – Kasoto (Noche Espanola Mix) – Highwood

Luminodisco – Oh Mary (Torske`s  Lange Kleggsommer Dub) – Hell Yeah!

Alexander Robotnick – Undicidisco (Bawrut`s 1,2,3,4) – Hell Yeah!

Belpaese 4 – EoEo – Belpaese

Ali Berger – Keys To The Door – FCR

Aquarius TX – Sunset 17 – Echovolt

Quantic – Atlantic Oscillations (Maghreban Remix) – Tru Thoughts

Reference Links

Black Grape

MC Buzz B

Carly Simon`s sado-masochistic questioning

West Phiilips` Tell Me

James White`s Contort Yourself

Awade

Bandaid`s A Tour In Italy

Arvo`s Bikini

Vamps on Chic / Sugarhill / Queen

Ivan Conti`s Bacurau

Ye Me Le

Liaisons Dangereuses

Ege Bam Yasi

Washing Machine

K Alexi`s Lee-Sah

Wiggin

Virgo Four’s Its Hot

Big Shot / Hi Bias-like Freestyle

Romanthony

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