Looking For The Balearic Beat / March 2021

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

James Lavelle and UNKLE return as “ronin” – masterless samurai – with Do Yourself Some Good. Channeling Brendan Lynch`s mid-90s sessions with Primal Scream and Paul Weller, and building a baggy-esque groove from what sounds like a brass-y, `70s blaxploitation sample. Cowbell, shakers, orchestral strings and a gospel choir, summoning the psychedelic soul of Undisputed Truth`s Ball Of Confusion, Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong. Siren-like SFX sky-rocketing. 

Akio Nagase travels Asia for samples and mixes ancient with modern on his Global Acid E.P. for Emotional Especial. Similarly Kuniyuki updates the cosmic poetry of Gratien Midonet, for Time Capsule. 

Saidera beef-up some Brazilian boogie for Let`s Play House. Dexia Tudo Fluir adds woodwind and acoustic bossa nova strum to a groove that`s Robson & Olivetti meet Fatnotronic and Daniel T. Sincronicidade on the flip is more cute cumbia. 

Residentes Balearicos stick with that boogie tempo, and on Fiesta 3AM pay homage to classic `80s Euro disco / dance. The standout cut on an E.P. for Music For Dreams, fuses  feisty shouts of the title with piano and flute – a la old school White Isle favourite, Paradhouse – and around that bends alien, theremin, shapes. To my ears at least, it`s twinned with Robin Lee`s recent work as Rudy’s Midnight Machine.

Black Bones come crashing with some unapologetic EBM bashing. Their 4-tracker for Touch Sensitive, Night Drives, creating an “vibe” part after-hours at Ibiza`s Glory`s, and part NYC BDSM glory-hole. 

Joe Morris has quartet of tunes signed to Higher Love Recordings. Three of these are chilled “chocolate milk and brandy at the Cafe del Mar” affairs, but the one that caught my ear was the up-tempo number, Angels Of Love. The kind of quality house that Joe cut his teeth making – referencing yesterday, but with production firmly rooted in now. Colouring the 4 / 4 with rainforest fauna, and hushed, rush-y, tones – with a 303 bucolically bubbling, and the titular cherubs sighing off in the distance, on tomorrow’s blue horizon. 

Also on Brighton`s Higher Love Recordings is Alex Aguayo`s Not Going Out. The Mexican producer hammers his original out on cowbell – filtered and phased, and italo-referencing. Its atmospheric synths leading to a crazy, pumping, finale. On the remix, Whiskey Pickle`s Adam Warped teases out the OG`s ethereal elements over racing electro snares. Weaving loon birds, acoustic guitar and piano in and around the arpeggios. Label owners, Balearic Ultras, pay their respects to Future Sound Of London’s Papua Nu Guinea, and tracks such as Dee Patten`s Who’s The Badman?, by employing a proto-jungle / hardcore fucked-up Funky Drummer break. Gently gating everything while an emerging acidic undertow gains momentum, before donning their “trance trousers” as Kris Needs was oft apt to say. 

MCLD deliver the dance floor goods from Tokyo, via Jamaica, on Jansen Jardin – mixing the sounds of New York garage with classy Italian house. Refitting mid-90s deep with loved-up laser blasts, that reflect and refract off disco`s mirrorball like stars and glitter. Love FM being very, very, suitable for twilight to midnight shindig transitions, and likewise 6AM dawn re-entry rituals. Big, smile-inducing, sunrise, gear. 

MCLD Love FM Art

The Spaces Between play host to Chicago legend, Harry Dennis, who makes like a meeting of Ras Baraka and Gregory Porter with the jazz celebrating prose of Ghosts. On my pick of the accompanying remixes, the Black Science Orchestra, in addition, reach out to the spirit of the late, great, purple one, Prince – incorporating a wicked Skunk Funk-ed wah-wah guitar. 

Mind Reader is the title track from Gene Tellem`s sophomore release on Wolf Music – something that was a hot house tip from The Insider last month. The Montreal-based producer sculpting a skillfully skipping beat, to which she tethers muted, kinda dub techno, tones, puckered, popping, stuttered, vocals and a broken bass growl. Showering the telepathic trip with bubbling, effervescent, sound effects. 

Another crossover tip from The Insider was veteran, Mexican vibraphonist, Victor Mendoza`s Salty Noodles. The original is a classy, super sultry, Fania-esque big band samba – boasting – of course – virtuoso vibes, plus some fine boogaloo horns. In the hands of Valencian DJ / producer Ignacio Marco, aka Nacho Marco, it becomes a kind of techno tribute. The percolating pairing of 808, and 909, with a Juno-esque bottom end, done in such a way as to recall electronic dance music landmarks by A Guy Called Gerald, and Carl Craig. The orchestration repurposed in euphoric Strings Of Life patterns. 

HiFi Sean re-fashions Fire Island`s cover of The Style Council’s Shout To The Top – on his own Plastique Recordings – into an optimistic anthem – primed to raise every roof when lockdown finally becomes lift-off. 

fire island hifi sean art

While we’re on anthems, Andrew Weatherall`s epic (understatement) rework of Flowered Up`s Weekender is in here – as a heads up to those who missed out on the repress. It`s being – quite rightly – repressed again. 

Flowered Up Weekender Reissue

UNKLE – Do Yourself Some Good – UNKLE
Akio Nagase – Mongol 303 – Emotional Especial
Gratien Midonet – Osana (Kuniyuki Remix) – Time Capsule
Saidera – Dexia Tudo Fluir – Lets Play House
Residentes Balearicos – Fiesta 3AM – Music For Dreams
Akio Nagase – Saigon Acid – Emotional Especial
Black Bones – ABTS – Touch Sensitive 
Joe Morris – Angels Of Love – Higher Love Recordings
MCLD – Love FM – Jansen Jardin
Flowered Up – Audrey Is A Little Bit More Partial – Heavenly Recordings
The Spaces Between – Ghosts (Black Science Orchestra Remix) – F*CLR
Alex Aguayo – Not Going Out (Balearic Ultras Remix) – Higher Love Recordings
Gene Tellem – Mind Readers – Wolf Music
Victor Mendoza – Salty Noodles (Nacho Marco Remix) – Loudeast
Fire Island – Shout To The Top (HiFi Sean Remixes) – Plastique Recordings

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