Looking For The Balearic Beat / June 2019

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

isle of jura mister wong

Adelaide’s Isle Of Jura reissue Bella Vista`s Mister Wong (96BPM). A downtempo miniature of Post-Punk Disco Dub Tropicalia from 1982. With its synths, slapped bass and tumbling percussion, frequently dropping into a cool jazzy strum, it`s a definite listen / purchase for fans of Antena. 

A one-off from Ze Records` Michel Esteban, I first heard this on a Moton Records boot, and then on mixes by both Lexx and Phil Mison. The Isle Of Jura 12 provides both the original vocal and dub, plus the extension it always officially needed. 

I had Athens Of The North’s Dennis Young collection, Primitive Substance, in with the Jazz releases last week. Now it`s in with the Balearic. You Turn Me On (102BPM) being a piece of sleazy synth Pop from the Liquid Liquid marimba man. 

Scott Fraser`s last 12 for Andrew Weatherall`s Bird Scarer became an instant classic, and his new one, Together More, doesn’t disappoint. Taking its cues from Old School Acid House, but pitched down to 105 BPM. Giving it the air of a lost Chris & Cosey loved-up Trance-dancer. A comparison lent more weight by Louise Quinn`s whispered promises Re: the power of love. Recalling both Cosey, and C’hantal reaching the point of greatest intensity (C’hantal of course “guesting” on Weatherall`s seminal remix of Fini Tribe`s 101 way back when). Paraphrasing Ned Doheny over a rumbling b-line. Like One Dove doing a Sueno Latino. 

Weatherall comes in and strips the track right back. Fixes it to Miami Bass-booming Electro. Turning it into an after-hours soundtrack for BDSM robots. 

Scott Fraser - Together More

I had to include a track from the amazing Fingertracks : Volume 1 on ESP Institute. For depth and eclecticism Loverfingers` compilation is only really rivaled by those Psychemagik Sunset / Sunrise sets on Leng. D.E.`s Full Moon (108BPM), in a vastly improved Lovefingers edit, being probably the most “Balearic Beat” cut on there. Hailing from Greece, it`s a New Beat-like stomp, with Anatolian horns. Electronic World Music to Shoom to. 



The Balek Band are born out of the Abstrack parties held in Nantes. Their Danse Primitive E.P. for London’s Beauty & The Beat comprises three shades characterized by heady percussion, slapped Fusion bass-lines and melodic tones pitched somewhere between a Third Man Zither and Steel pans. For the life of me I can`t quite figure out if the instrument is being plucked or struck. In any case it creates a kind of haunting counterpoint on all three tracks. Tometsi is the most chilled. An Electric Blues that had me thinking of Bob Holroyd`s African Drug, and Michael Brook`s Hybrid, with Jukka Tolonen jamming over the top. Disconiels is funky Voodoo Dub. A surf edge to its guitar, and sampled vocals that could be a Gris-Gris incantation. The uptempo Bayoyo Sou (112BPM) slots right in with BATB`s trademark dance floor Ethno-Techno, bonding Zouk and Socca with an Acidic squelch. 

James Booth`s Space Echo Track (120BPM) on Growing Bin, is far more “organic” than his previously releases. Oddball, rhythmically loose, with an obvious debt to African Griots, I can imagine David Byrne doing his neurotic pop-locking to its irregular but nonetheless hypnotic groove. 

More straight forward dancers come from the new Deep 88 vinyl, on What About This Love. I know Ale was super excited to work with the man responsible for Frankie Knuckles` Whistle Song. NYC-based flautist Paul Shapiro doing his thing all over Harmony (which first appeared, unadorned, on 2016`s Black Album. Basically a classy Deep House update, where the sound is stripped back, and the bass boosted to crazy room / car / brain-shaking levels. Paul’s flute countered by synthesized strings. On the flip Te Quiero (120BPM) does something similar to the text book Italian House template. The title repeated in husky Mediterranean vocals. Pretty floating glissando balanced by a banging piano riff. A must for anyone with a passing interest in the music of Don Carlos, The Countach, or Keytronics.  

Deep 88 WATL03

I’ve got a feeling that Coombe Harbor`s Volume 1 E.P. on Feel International is really pitched at the “horizontal” crowd. But for me, the standout is the Acid House of Kyoto Masks (122BPM). The bulk of the record is special enough. Ringing New Age-y resonance. Percussion like water falling on a vine leaf. Glacial, towering, bowed arcs of sound. A downtempo 303 Brain-dance reminiscent of Maricopa (on Tusk Wax) and Chris Coco`s recent Onda. But KM jacks. All be it calmly. Undulating like Factory Floor`s Two Different Ways. Snares scything through phase shifts like Plastikman`s 909. Topped off with pretty Techno tones a la Marcus Mixx / Ron Hardy`s The Spell. 

Etoiles (123BPM)from the final installment of Platform 23`s eXquisite CORpsE reissues is a House built from a Juno bass-line, blasts of car horns, and clattering Industrial percussion. Metallic but far more “Organic” than say SPK. Techno Tribalism. Chants `n` all. “Jazzy” in its breakdowns, like Carl Craig`s 69 meets Stefan Robbers Terrace / Florence. 

Chaos In The CBD Hydrate

Deep Housers Chaos In The CBD go in for some retro-Rave on two tracks for Mule Musiq. Both are basically break-driven Trance. All be it chilled Trance. They may well have qualified as “Ambient” with yesteryear`s whistles / white gloves / glow-sticks headcases. The gently tripping Searching For Siren could have been lifted from one of those mid-90s Jose Padilla Cafe Del Mar comps on React. A piano dances somewhere in its distance. 303 fractals catch the light atop Mediterranean waves. Hydrate (117BPM) washes Electro sequences with sampled surf. Think 808 State, A Guy Called Gerald`s Specific Hate. Perhaps Detroit, in the form of Model 500`s The Passage. Borrowing The Grid`s Flotation bongos, and Papua New Guinea`s ethereal siren, it`s loved-up for sure, with rush and post-rush calm in counterpoint. 

Both tracks are possibly more “Balearic” when spun at -6. 


Bella Vista – Mister Wong – Isle Of Jura

Dennis Young – You Turn Me On – Athens Of The North

Scott Fraser – Together More – Bird Scarer

DE – Full Moon (Lovefingers Remix) – ESP Institute

The Balek Band – Bayoyo Sou – Beauty & The Beat

James Booth – Space Echo Track – Growing Bin

Deep 88 – Te Quiero – What About This Love

Coombe Harbour – Kyoto Masks – International Feel

Exquisite Corpse – Etoiles – Platform 23

Chaos In The CBD – Hydrate

Reference Links

Chris & Cosey


One Dove

Sueno Latino

African Drug


Jukka Tolonen

Don Carlos

The Countach



Factory Floor 


Marcus Mixx




808 State

A Specific Hate

The Grid

Papua New Guinea

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