Looking For The Balearic Beat / September 2020

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

If the thing that linked this month`s Chocolate Milk & Brandy choices together was a touch of trippy mid-90s electronica, with September’s Balearic Beats it`s a bigger psychedelic hit and a dose of acid. Everyone seems to have dusted off their little silver boxes, or “soft” modern equivalents, in celebration of the equinox – as the sun falls into the fall. Ruf Dug flexes his tuff unit on an E.P. produced in tribute to Dusseldorf`s Salon Des Amateurs. Taking the influential venue`s trademark chunky, tribal, “quasi-industrial” chug as his foundation. Opening Ceremony is sparse but populated by pan-pipe tones and kosmische pulses, kept in check by warbling wavelengths. On A Night At The Salon, Drexcyian submariner sonar blips bang and echo urged on by an acidic undertow, while dramatic piano chords crash like waves `midst the breakers. So Funky is mellower, more of a bleep and boogie, where a series of synths play call-and-response with a short marimba-like motif. 


Iija Rudman`s Sparks, for Lenny Paradise`s Beyond Paradise imprint, is moody, behemoth-bass-ed deep house. Fractured, filtered Basic Channel-esque keys fighting with its relentless bottom-end rumble. The melody carried by massed horns, while there’s something classic Detroit about the snares. Dennis Kane strips the track down, patiently rebuilding it element by element to include a tense intro – adding additional riffs and synth-lines, and more, much more, echo, echo, echo. Lending his version a dub-disco feel. But it`s the Paradise Project who let loose with a tightly coiled 303 – propelling the tune back to `88 / `89. The tune now an actual song – think, say, The Brand New Heavies on microdots, surrounded by freestyle timbales and sharp, Sound Factory strings.

Iija Rudman sparks

James Bright has a quintet of new compositions licensed to Quattro – the twilight Patchouli, the housier Freq Out, the slo-mo disco of Cosmos, Time-Lapse`s frozen electronica – full of digitally weathered whispers and whistles – plus the title track, Zooniverseanother bumping LSD boogie, accompanied in this case by a serenity-inducing synth-line, that slyly, near subliminal, ascends in the background. All 5 of them characterized by a finely crafted dub-wise rattle of detail, and rude edges of Roland. 

Then there were these curious coloured vinyl 45s out of Italy – decorated with lurid labels, but little information other than they were Made To Dance. Four 7”s that dig up obscurities and then give everything a Sandoz spike. Brazilian bossa novas swinging in synergy with silver box sequences. Psychedelic sambas, a real Rio carnival trip. Piano solos and buoyant brass outbursts bolstered by 303 energy. Setting Bollywood scores bouncing. Rock, like Fame-era Bowie, fortified by fractal frequencies. Looping, extending, teasing the funk out of crunchy psyche organ-led afro grooves. 

If it`s afro-funk mutations you’re after, well then you also need to check the celebratory musical melting pot that is Blair French’s The Art Of Us on Rocksteady Disco. 

Also from Italy, via Chicago`s Star Creature, is Giovanni Damico`s Out Of Control. While not quite resorting to plugging in his 303, this super cute 7 sounds like the missing link between Adonis and Klein & MBO. Built to bang Ron Hardy`s box, and set to go right off when this pandemic passes, when it’ll most, most definitely be time to jack. 

Staying on that italo / early house tip, A Man Called Adam`s PV Lashup – from their Magnificent 7s – neatly updates the OG Lipps Inc. / Funky Town / Mach / On & On / Jesse Saunders vibe, while crossing over to the cosmic disco crowd. I’ve mentioned this before but Club Chill also have a slice of the real thing in the shape of the heartfelt Human Condition – a collaboration with Harry Dennis excavated from Marshall Jefferson’s archive. 

More house history is re-assembled and reconfigured by The Whole Truth, on Mark Seven`s Parkway Records. Their Lord, Quench My Soul, set at a boogie tempo, arrives in 3 mixes which move from blue-eyed sing-a-long Loft anthem to an epic Paradise Garage-homaging dub. 

the whole truth quench my soul

Other pop-ier moments can be found on releases by France`s Pardonnez-Nous, and Australia`s Efficient Space. Maureen`s Tu Me Tues first got the “Version Longue” treatment back in `85. Its sexily purred piano and percussion groove should prove irresistible to anyone into Caroline Loeb and / or Linda Di Franco. It would have slotted – scanty swimsuit clad – seamlessly into the soundtrack of that infamous Look De Ibiza KU promo video. 

The Sydney 9-piece Bellydance recorded 3 Days Man! for Boomshanka Records in 1991. In it`s 3AM mix its a piece of loved-up, post-Soul II Soul sampledelia. Laidback balearic be-bop of beatnik bongos and acid jazz keys. It`s Woodstock sampled warnings about brown acid and chorus – sung in sweet Batteaux Brothers-esque harmony – of “I can feel it coming on, I can feel it coming on right now” should leave you in no doubt about Bellydance`s psychedelic leanings and sentiments of peace and love. Any one remember Promised Land`s cover of Thunderclap Newman`s `60s hippie anthem, In The Air? Or Less Stress` remake of Crowded House`s Don’t Dream It`s Over – which coincidently borrows the same Woodstock bites as Bellydance? John and Peewee Ferris extend the track out over a De La Soul drum-break. Stirring in a dash of disco positivity and uplifting civil rights speech, voice-box phrases and then a sitar for a climatic coda. 

Another essential reissue is Emotional Rescue`s Marching In Time. A series of 4 E.P.s that offer cherry-picks from the late `80s musical output of Wolfgang Sperner and Ulrich Hornberg AKA International Noise Orchestra. Tracks that feature contributions from guests from all over the globe – mixing rai and raga with then state-of-the-art machines – and which crossed over between balearic, cosmic and new beat scenes. 

On the edit front there`s the mysterious El Guiri Discos – whose debut 12 reworks 3 vintage Spanish sides. Where a slow conga-ed end-of-the-night ballad bumps up against brass-y cod reggae – both of which are flipped by a “mega-mix” of a former Future / Nancy Noise favourite. Bouncing backwards and forwards between guitar and piano solos. Lovingly caressing its castanets. 

el guiri discos art

There`s also one last plug for Hell Yeah!`s Bueno Onda compilation. Celebrating the sound of the long-running, now Berlin-based party is Bjorn Torske`s mix of Juan Moretti`s Moroboshi. Mr Torske tying his tightly twisting, not quite acidic, dance-floor trance-inducing tones around increasingly frenzied flow of phased and filtered percussion.

Finally I’ve included Daniel Avery’s tear-inducing techno toast to Andrew Weatherall, Lone Swordsman. Available digitally from Phantasy Sound, not only is this the perfect musical tribute, its suggestions of Smokebelch stopping any, every, listener in their tracks, but all proceeds go to Amnesty International. I’ve “tastefully” tagged it on the end here, because I just can’t get enough of it, and also for all those friends who should have been in Carcassonne for Convenanza this weekend. Mr Fabre are there any tickets left for next year? 

Reference Links to follow once I’ve cooked the kids` dinner. 

International Noise Orchestra – Vit Quai Don – Emotional Rescue
Belly Dance – 3 Days Man! ( John & Peewee Ferris Mix) – Efficient Space
Maureen – Tu Me Tues – Pardonnez Nous
International Noise Orchestra – Gimme More Lovin – Emotional Rescue
Juan Moretti – Moroboshi (Bjorn Torske Edit) – Hell Yeah!
Ruf Dug – So Funky – Ruf Cutz
El Guiri – Monigate Dub – El Guiri Discos
Blair French – Jeans – Rocksteady Disco
A Man Called Adam – PV Lashup – Other
The Whole Truth – Lord Quench My Soul (Club) – Parkway Records
James Bright – The Zooniverse – Quattro
Made To Dance – Danger Zone – Made To Dance
Giovanni Damico – Out Of Control – Star Creature
Jungle Wonz – Human Condition – Club Chill
Ilija Rudman – Sparks (Dennis Kane Remix) – Beyond Paradise
Daniel Avery – Lone Swordsman – Phantasy Sound


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