Looking For The Balearic Beat / July 2019

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

dazion a bridge between lovers

I’ve only just written a full review of this but, Dazion`s new E.P. for Second Circle has a couple of well Balearic moments on it. The eccentric Electro of Eberhardt Smurkface, and the Spanish guitar-led title track, A Bridge Between Lovers. 

Vertigo Inc_ADORNMENTS_SIDE B_Final _big

Canadian Leon Louder AKA Vertigo Inc. – last seen on Mysticisms – has an E.P., Adornments, ready on his own Unfulfillment imprint. Ancient Future rituals for alien Aztec Mystics, and interstellar fugitives, that are a kind of tribal Techno. Drum circle percussion paired with 909 drum rolls. Jungle calls and carnival whistles. Chants, organic chimes and woodwind loops illuminated by sharp points of star-like synth and set to a definite House bounce. Mayura features nagging, scratched-in, Rave signals. While on Hydra, the keys perform a shape-shifting belly dance. For Utu, they’re sirens. Caught in laser cross-fire. Sampled sprites laughing at the lop-sided bump of its over-driven bass. Its Funk like a slightly tamed, tempo tempered, DJAX-UP beat. My favourite, The Not Now, has bleeps and blocks of Extraterrestrial Jazz chords calm a broken Transmat rhythm (is Rythim). The feeling, the groove, one of deep inner space, submerged. Its complexity evolving. Like pressing your face to the glass of a diving bell porthole. Watching a rainbow of colored fish parade and dart by.

jah wobble electro dub

Jah Wobble`s Electro Dub Extravaganza is hangover from Record Store Day back in April, but I’ve only just managed to secure a copy. Phil Mison had the E.P. in his bag for the Meraki session at Giant Steps, and the folks at Music For Dreams, subsequently, picked up on it. 

Making My Own Way showcases not just Wobble`s bass-playing but also his skills on trumpet, flute and guitar. Everything is played by Jah. The horn is a Noir ghost. The six-strings switch between trebly Post-Punk scratch and funky wah-wah. The vocoder has the East End geezer sounding a bit like Stephen Hawking, and a lot like Air. Particularly Adrian Sherwood’s remix of the latter`s How Does It Make You Feel?

South London Dub Symphony is also ON-U-esque. Big piano chords sucked backwards by a bass black hole a la Creation Rebel`s Starship Africa. Climaxing with a twanging Rockabilly riff, that for me all too quickly cuts to a fade. 

The fitness-fascinated piss-take of Engage Your Glutes chugs to near military drums. A bastardized Bogle. Once the noisy Reggeaton synths subside a sampled Cape Canaveral countdown hits lift off, and the keys launch into a broken skank. Their melody a reminder that only love can break your heart.

phil gerus - 1400 x 1400 PACKSHOT

Phil Gerus` Still Blind for Emotional Especial is built on tumbling and rattling 80s drum machines. Angular, fragmented guitar. Like Thomas Dolby producing David Bowie, or  manning the knobs while Icehouse do their best David Bowie. 

Lauer`s remix swaps the bottom-end for a seismic vibration. Think sheet metal being struck. Adds a kick from Depeche Mode`s stadium-sized “Industrial-lite”. Transforming the track into a ringer for True Faith-era New Order. 

Jamie Patton pulls the sound underground. The tune now subterranean, moody and gothic. Its synth-line like a slowed down Simple Minds. A sleazy theme for great cities. Patton`s Dub has the track reduced to blasts of bass and sonar blips. Spaced-out, sexed-up, and heavy breathing.

The mysterious Alphonse also has a 12 out on Especial. I’m lead to believe that music on Stolen Sunrise represents radical reworks / remixes rather than things entirely new. Two pieces, in dance-floor and ambient versions, that pay homage to 90s Italian House and Trevor Horn`s ground-breaking 80s Zang Tumb Tuum Pop.  

More great remixes are included on Mind Fair`s forthcoming reissue of Quiet Force`s For Love and Emotions, on Rogue Cat Resounds. Honours going to two dynamic duos: Apiento & Tepper, and Justin Strauss & Max Pask. A&T tighten things up around a shiny Electro break, make the bass-line bionic and gate the original’s synths. The results connecting smart musical reference points such as Dave Morales` Redzone dubs, early Orb, and the sought after DFC re-toolings of Malcolm McLaren`s Call A Wave. 

Sunset Sessions 3 blank and jones

The White Isla mix of Blank & Jones` So Eivissa is a rework of a rework. Originally an update of Mike Francis` classic Features Of Love – appearing on 2012`s Relax (Edition Seven) – Leo Mas and Fabrice have given it a further overhaul. One that doesn’t so much chug, as thump. Largely instrumental and effectively a dub, strummed guitar filters in and out of its room-shaking boom. L&F teasing with the melody and percussive elements from the OG so that I didn’t realize what it was until they finally let Mike sing. You’ll be able to pick it up on vinyl, on Sunset Sessions 3.

outra brazil edits

Another great, but less legit, re-fix can be found on Outra`s 12” of Brazil Edits. Of the six cuts the standout for me is actually a take on a track by a cult Portuguese band. 80s machines are edited in an Art Of Noise manner, but Excesso, Aqui is dominated by ringing clipped guitar, and the actual song – sung in a sigh recalling Flamingo Flame`s recent Simmer. 

Simone mabsouta

The reissues I’ve selected do a fair bit of globe-trotting…

Minneapolis ravers Cold Front released their sole E.P., on local indie Audiocon, in 1990. It`s now been reproduced in a collaboration between Amsterdam’s Knekelhuis and Dizonord. Beyond The Beat appears in three different mixes, the Infinite probably being key. The infectiously wah-wah-ed, tribal-tinged, but chilled, Hip-House-r causing me to bandy about seminal artists and records, such as Ben Cenac`s Push / Pull, Carl Craig`s As Time Goes By, and Detroit`s sleazy “Prince Of Techno” Blake Baxter. 

Minus 22 Degrees Fahrenheit (Ambient East) pits what sounds to me like a Japanese monk against arms-in-the-air piano, ocean tides and birdsong. The guitar now New Order-esque. 

From Egypt there’s Simone. Thank You, one of the spin-offs of Berlin`s Sound Metaphors label (alongside Miss You and Bless You) have put her Arabic cover of Suzanne Vega`s Tom`s Diner on a 12. Lifted from Simone`s 1991 CD, Allo, her version takes its cues from the 1990 Soul II Soul-inspired DNA remix of Suzanne’s Solitude Standing song, adding House piano and parping horns. On the flip of the Thank You release there`s a bonus beats and chant mix of Rekka, again from Allo, that’s like a less lairy sibling of Takis` Shoom favourite, Paris-Istanbul. 

Like Jah Wobble`s Electro Dub Extravaganza, Neba Solo`s Can 2002 was reissued, by France`s Secousse, back in April. However, it passed me by until Mind Fair put it in their Garden Party chart. 

An irresistible balafon jam from Mali, it was composed by a maestro of the hammered instrument for the Africa Cup of Nations in 2001. Released on cassette, the football anthem became a national anthem. Ruling TV and radio airwaves, and earning its composer a knighthood. Breakneck-paced its Bambara tribal chants are further ignited by incendiary sampled crowd noise. It goes off, a bit like an African version of Capricorn’s 20 Hertz. 


Dazion – A Bridge Between Lovers – Second Circle

Quiet Force – For Love And Emotions (Apiento & Tepper Remix) – Rogue Cat Resounds

Blank & Jones – So Eivissa (White Isla Remix) – Soundcolours

Jah Wobble – Engage Your Glutes – Jah Wobble Records

Simone – Mabsouta – Thank You

Outra – Excesso Aqui – White

Phil Gerus – Still Blind – Emotional Especial

Cold Front – Beyond The Beat – Knekelhuis

Vertigo Inc – Mayura – Unfulfillment

Alphonse – Moan Up – Emotional Especial

Neba Solo – Can 2002 – Secouse 

Cold Front – Minus 22 Degrees – Knekelhuis

Reference Links

How Does It Make You Feel?

Starship Africa

Thomas Dolby

True Faith

Simple Minds

Call A Wave

Features Of Love

Flamingo Flame

Push / Pull

As Time Goes By

Blake Baxter

Paris Istanbul

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