Looking For The Balearic Beat / November 2019

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

Cruisic - Inspector Norse

I didn’t manage to do one of these last month – not for lack of good music – but for lack of time. So apologies to people who put that music out, and those that sent some over. Hopefully most of October is mixed in here with November. 

I`ll start with the reissues, because for a change, they`re in the minority. For once – maybe – more new stuff than old…

Rare Silk - Storm

Be With Records & Emotional Rescue collaborated on a 10” repress of strange soul gem, Storm by Rare Silk. A jazz vocal interpretation of a Stanley Turrentine track taken from their 1985 LP, American Eyes. Think Manhattan Transfer on Mars. One for sunsets, it gently tumbles and rumbles like a Wally Badarou-built jungle at twilight. Replete with exotic bird calls and ECM sax. Alexis Georgopoulos AKA Arp providing a respectful dub on the flip. Pre-orders for the Rare Silk record went up about 6 months ago – I think it sold out everywhere within a week – but the vinyl didn’t ship until mid-October. Arp also has an excellent new long-player due any minute now on Mexican Summer – which I do aim to get to. 

Also reminiscent – in parts – of Mr Badarou and his fellow Compass Point All-Stars is the music of François N’Gwa. Especially on the 100BPM-ish, Monguissono – one of the tunes included on Ogooue, Into The Deep Treasury`s retrospective of the Gabon-based musician`s work. 

The remainder of the reissues hail from Italy. Well you could be mistaken for thinking that Clara Capri`s Maudit Deejay is Italian. The instrumental especially dances a similar jazzy guitar-driven balearic boogie to something like DJ Look`s Capita (with a bit of Mike Francis in there for good measure). But Clara`s actually French and her countrymen the Parisian Discomatin crew (Saint-James, Mag Spencer, Jim Irie and Theo Top) are doing the very decent thing and making her 1986 maxi-single available again. 

Daniele Mei is one of the the Italian DJ / producers inspired by Bepe Loda and Daniele Baldelli`s afro / cosmic chugging. As Meo, in the mid-1980s, he released a couple of highly sought after E.P.s, and a very desirable LP. Dutch label Knekelhuis reissued one of the E.P.s last year, and another of Meo`s tracks featured on Jose Manuel`s recent Magic Carpet compilation. Andrea Dallera`s Dualismo Sound now have three tunes on a 12. I`m sure I’ve said this before but Mei must have been an influence on the music currently coming out of Naples – on imprints such as Early Sounds and Periodica. Meo`s Fiesta surely a template for Mystic Jungle Tribe`s electronic fusions. 

DJ Rocca has four edits pressed up for Rome’s Samosa Records, under the title Journey 2 Kizimkazi. My favourites – Ju Ju Jackie and Kuma Rox – aren’t up on Youtube – so no clips. Both are energetic percussion-bangers. The latter around 100 BPM – with flute,  piano, funky b-line, makossa-esque chants. The former looping-up Jin-Go-Low-Bah-like jazz at 124. Finding release as its sax lets rip a joyful sound unto the creator.  

Deep Invention Orchestra - Paradise

Best Records Italy have the “dream house” of Deep Invention Orchestra`s Paradise. Originally out on Adriatic Club in 1992, it`s full-on – pitched somewhere between a scream-up and Vibraphone`s output. A big kick behind swirling synths. Keys switching between tropical chimes and raise-your-hands refrains. A diva-esque sample. The Dub is breakbeat-based, while the stripped-back Deep Jungle Mix is more Love Quartet`s Ethos Mama Survives In Dub than Jinny`s Keep It Warm, and consequently significantly more sophisticated. 

If you were about to say “they don’t make `em like that anymore” well check out the Mediterranean Key Collective on Cosmic Rhythm. Where the label founder, Nicola Loporchio aka Cosmic Garden, is joined by Michele Lamacchia aka Rhythm Of Paradise and Italian house legend, Don Carlos. The title track Fragranza is surf, seabirds and tightly tuned toms. Warm keys and jazzy sax as if it were indeed 1992 all over again. Il Tramonto is deeper more aquatic (the bass sounds live on both). Subtle, subliminal, with a latin shuffle to its beat. A remix pushes its 4 / 4 to the fore, but it`s still crepuscular. With melodies that remind me a little of 16B`s Secrets – which was huge back in 1996. Swimming not skimming. The slower La Casa Del Sole travels at a Timmy Thomas-esque tempo with phased organ chords and trippy triangle. 

Italian music of a downtempo nature comes from Max Manetti`s 12 on Eclectics. One of the highlights from which is James Bright turning the Vicenza Voodou of the Papa Doc Aguila E.P. into a warm, lysergic, loved-up 1989 reprise. 

Papa Doc Aguila AW

Other downtempo gems come from Dea Barandana`s Indonesian collective Zatua. Their Sin Existencia E.P. on Second Circle. Then there’s Dennis Kane`s forthcoming remix of Cantoma`s Kasoto, on Phil Mison`s Highwood Recordings. Moving the track`s West African, Gambian, light to somewhere darker, down south to Lesotho. Sault create gritty, socially commentating, but still playful R&B for Forever Living Originals. The Prince-championed Sidibe has the more polished, smoother, What Should One Do. The sunshine boogie of it`s instrumental is Sade-esque, or at the very least Jessie Ware doing Sade. If you fancy a skank well then a reggae bounce – kinda – comes care of Cruisic`s ska cover of Todd Terje`s Inspector Norse, reworked by Slowly for Flower Records. Linn drum popping, Only Love Can Break Your Heart-lite, that`s as catchy / annoying as that Hubbabubbaklubb tune from a few years back (one person’s balearic, another’s poison…). 

Picking up the pace Frenchman and mate of Raphael Top-Secret, Nelson Bishop, makes his debut for Darshan Jesrani`s Brooklyn-based Startree. Both tracks are rock-edged cosmic funk, clocking in at 110 -120 BPM. The slower Alice Et Les Aloes has keys galore that sing back and forth to one another. It`s rhythm kinda Caribbean, and like Mediterranean Key Collective`s La Casa Del Sole, again reminiscent of Timmy Thomas` Why Can`t We Live Together, or in this case let’s say Cristal`s La Nuit Pour Nous. Darshan`s Coup de Soleil Mix is slightly sparser, handclaps and congas held in echo. Subtle soundeffects speeding up, spinning. The faster Still Life Noix De Coco is slapped-bass disco-not-disco that references / updates ESG, Dinosaur L, and Barry Waite`s Sting Your Jaws. 

Pender Street Steppers surprise with two shots of synth-pop on Mood Hut. Vocals and all. Dubs that pay homage to 80s Manhattan, the dance-floor knowhow of John “Jellybean” Benitez, Mark Kamins, Shep Pettibone and Bruce Forest. 

Then there’s a dive into the deep, deep, deep with a teaser from LX72`s forthcoming E.P. for Phantom Island. Lunatic Dolphin being both chilled, and deceptively not chilled. Its more ambient elements off-set by a big rave-hoover b-line. The TPs for this are in, so with any luck it might be in shops before Christmas. But the most balearic record on offer here has to be Awida`s Trans Mekanica. Created  by Willie Graf and Alex From Tokyo on the White Isle, it half-inches fragments of classic Italo and feeds those through the EBM-machine that rocked Glory’s, between the Old Town and Sant Antoni de Portmany, after-hours for a season in `87. 

awida NYC Connexion

My friends at Hamon Radio have kindly hosted Part 1.

Track-list

Rare Silk – Storm (Arp Duppy Chip Mix) – Emotional Rescue & Be With Records

Zatua – Nun Vuelas Mas – Second Circle

Francois N`Gwa – Mongui – Into The Deep Treasury

Meo – Cikuana – Dualismo Sound

Cantoma – Kasoto (Dennis Kane Siren Mix) – Highwood Recordings

Sault – Up All Night – Forever Living Originals 

Sidibe – What Should One Do (Instrumental) – Fraternity Music Group

Cruisic – Inspector Norse (Slowly Remix) – Flower Records

Nelson Bishop – Alice Et Les Aloes (Darshan Jesrani Coup de Soleil Mix) – Star Tree

Max Manetti – Henley (James Bright Remix) – Eclectics

Pender Street Steppers – Our Time – Mood Hut

Awida – Trans Mekanica – World Famous

DJ Rocca – Ju Ju Jackie – Samosa Records

Deep Invention Orchestra – Paradise (Deep Jungle Mix) – Best Records Italy 

Mediterranean Key Collective – Fragranza – Cosmic Rhythm 

LX72 – Lunatic Dolphin – Phantom Island

Part 2 was broadcast last night on The Remedy, care of FM Karuizawa.

Track-list

Francois N`gwa – Ndjegho – Into The Deep Treasury 

Meo – Fiesta – Dualismo Sound

Max Manetti – Macoute – Eclectics

Clara Capri – Maudit Deejay (Instrumental) – Discomatin

DJ Rocca – Kuma Rox – Samosa Records

Sault – Smile & Go – Forever Living Originals

Sasso – Transwave – Northern Life Records

Pender Street Steppers – Falling (Dub) – Mood Hut

Mike Simonetti – Plays Ann O`Dam – White 

LX72 – State Of Resistance – Phantom Island

Reference Links

Manhattan Transfer 

Wally Badarou

DJ Look

Mike Francis

Early Sounds

Periodica

Mystic Jungle Tribe

Jin-Go-Low-Bah

Scream-up

Vibraphone

Love Quartet

Don Carlos

16B

Swimming Not Skimming

Timmy Thomas

Jessie Ware doing Sade

Only Love Can Break Your Heart 

Hubbabubbaklubb

Cristal

ESG

Dinosaur L

Barry Waite

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