Looking For The Balearic Beat / June 2021

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

Abstract Incognito

Abstract Incognito / Me Gusta Dancing / Jansen Jardin

Indian artist, Aditya Mehta, aka Abstract Incognito, has just licensed two tracks to Max Essa`s tokyo-based Jansen Jardin. The buoyant, broken, beat of Alba Energetica generates a gently gyrating tropics of choral sighs, flickering circuits, and synthesized strings – encouraged by whistles, shakers, and an insistent triangle. Me Gusta Dancing has the feel of an old school cut and paste collage. Its hip hop / go go groove coloured by sampled shouts of “Do it, Do it” and various other excised exclamations. Max told me that it has him thinking of Keysha`s classic, Stop It. I reckon if you’re into that recent Soundstealers reissue, then you need to check it out, for sure. 

Benoit B / We Come In Peace / Animals Dancing

Four fresh tracks from the Frenchman, Benoit B, for the Melbourne-based collective, Animals Dancing – led by the breakneck bounce of the trance-y titular, We Come In Peace. Its uptempo, upbeat, “ambience” catching new age washes in its wake – possibly the song of dolphins and whales? – as it races by. The electro squelch of Le Retraile Des Rockers is more broken and abstract, while the darker still, downtempo, Deelkrugz Conquest, is patrolled by disembodied daleks – although they seem to be purring, rather than growling “Exterminate”. The overall effect reminds me a bit of a beefed-up, bass-ier, William Orbit / Torch Song. Drums Symphony is appropriately pounding. It`s almost like three patterns and programs colliding. Its stuttering, pacy, machined percussion recalling fellow label alumni, Suzanne Kraft’s, seminal Renee Running, while a sorta steel pan hook calms its actually quite brutal kick. 

benoit B Animals Dancing

D:Ream / Many Hands / D:Ream

D:Ream – the veteran duo of Pete Cunnah and Al Mackenzie – continue their journey back toward the pop spotlight with a new single, Many Hands. Obviously no strangers to penning and producing chart topping anthems, this fresh foray is unashamedly “feel good” – a flashback to the early `90s when certain tunes would have the whole club join hands and sing along. The original is a great piece of gospel-not-gospel – shuffling to a baggy beat – whose church-y keys may or may not be a vamp on Jesus On The Payroll. Pete’s lyric stressing the importance of the support of others, friends and family. The backing congregation strengthening this message significantly. Pete Herbert`s remix sticks with a 1991 / 1992 “balearic-networked” vibe – bringing the live bass to the fore, adding a melodica-like line, and then setting off some proper piano fireworks. Shape Of Space – the studio pairing of Paul Greendale and Chris Stevenson – then attempt to toughen and tame the exuberance a tad. Turning in a chugger that’s slightly more Sci-Fi, slightly more spaced-out. 

This 12 had me dusting off my copy of Kissing The Pink`s Stand Up (thank you Roger Beard!). As Mr. Weatherall once said, “Don`t fear the cheese”. Weatherall festival favourite, Visti & Meyland`s Stars, is another musical point of reference. So much is “channeled” here – not only the band`s “chequered” history, but also the ongoing global crisis. Honestly, I found the optimism and enthusiasm – especially under 2020 / 2021 circumstances – ultimately, fucking hard to resist. 

DMX Krew / Peripheral Visions / Byrd Out

Originally released in 2017, the super eclectic Byrd Out give DMX Krew`s highly desirable Peripheral Visions E.P. a repress. The five tracks embracing 303 workouts (though nothing too heavy) and `80s synth pop pastiche, while the standouts, for me, are Spiritual Machine, and Slam Your Body. The former seems inspired by early UK house – snares smashing, drums sometimes back-spinning, its infectious b-line accompanied by simple uplifting synths, and a solo of taut, metallic, timbres. The latter`s righteously reverb-ed kick is more Chicago jack, where voicebox-esque keys do combat with a glass marimba, and a cowbell joins in for the climax. 

Good Block / Orange Tree Edits

Mondo is chunky and slo-mo, Art Of Noise-esque. My suspicion is that this is more than a simple edit, a better description might be a crafty, clever, collage. Snippets of sitar serenading a sampled Spanish vocal – think spaghetti western Mexican bandit – and did I hear part of a percussive percolation pinched from Paranoimia? Vuudu is tailored from the same sonic cloth – flush with “found” fragments – but slightly more bombastic and banging, and with far more percussion rattling around. Its Santeria chants less ZTT, and instead Helen’s Zanzibar meets Cry Sisco`s Afro-Dizzi-Act. I`d love to visit a Good Block party at some point. 

Greyfield Woods / Vanish (Rude Audio Remix) / The Fearless Few

Rude Audio rework Greyfield Woods` Vanish, for London label, The Fearless Few, replanting the plaintive vocal over racing programmed percussion. The effect is ever so ethereal, while running at a deceptively house 120 BPM. Dancing at the darker end of the synth pop spectrum. Imagine Severed Heads and O Yuki Conjugate at a Mutoid Waste Company rave, Chris & Cosey walking through Heaven, each with a window pane in their eye. To my ears at least the remix seems to forgo the use of contemporary “Soft” technology, so rather than sounding “now”, it is instead timeless. It could have been created any where between 1985 and 2025. The track can be found on the compilation, Sankta Lucia Remixed, all profits from which are being donated to The Felix Project – helping those going hungry in London. 

vanish rude audio

Roberto Lodola / Marty`s Beach / Futura

Roberto Lodola is a legendary Italian DJ / producer, responsible for classics – Marimba Do Mar, African Rhythms, Jazzy Dance – and remixing more – Helen’s Zanzibar, Daniele Losi`s Tom Tom Beat. Currently hanging out on Ibiza, Marty`s Beach is his latest, forthcoming release, and it stays true to the seminal late `80s / early `90s sound he helped create. Hip hop in the break, jazz in bass-line, plus piano and sax solos from someone who can really play, and I mean really play. The results on a par with previous personal Italian favourites, Mr. Marvin`s Entity, and the Red Zone mix of Mags Prout`s Dreaming Stop. Its final fusion flights cementing the perfect summer soundtrack – something for when sunset shimmies out onto a twilight dance-floor.

roberto lodola martys beach art

Palmiara / Mt. Paradiso / HOMAGE

Palmiara, aka Poland`s Antoni Sierakowski, has produced a trio of tunes for Brooklyn`s HOMAGE. Surfin`s the one. Crazy with congas and carnival cries, a TB-303 b-line and cowbells. It`s a bit of barmy bashment that only gets barmier as it gets busier, with scratching and Fairlight-like vocal treatments. A piece of perky pop house that probably would have got played by Danny Rampling at The Shoom, alongside equally bonkers stuff like The Beatmaster`s Burn It Up. Gerd Jansen`s Acid Tribe Balearic Full Moon Mix is, believe me, brilliant – borrowing Pascal’s massive bongos for a slightly longer, slightly “straighter”, slightly sobered-up take. Swapping in a more sophisticated synth-line, and even managing to insert a breakdown for a momentary breather. 

parquet courts plant life

Parquet Courts / Plant Life / Rough Trade

Still in Brooklyn, Parquet Courts announced a new single on Monday, in the shape of Plant Life. Reworked from a forty-minute jam – built around slapped bass, tumbling live drums, and melodica / accordian-like keys – the track switches between song and spoken word. Snippets such as “I love everybody” and “I just got into town” sharing a cab with the beat poetry of Neal Cassady, and It`s Immaterial`s John Campbell. The improvised nature of the tune allowing for a big, big, break, where the rhythm section remains locked, and the focus shifts to vibraphone and acoustic strum. Clipped chords then recharging with an electric intensity for the coda.  

There are remixes by Peak Wifi, and the wonderful Yu Su – both of which, for now, are under wraps. FM Karuizawa were granted an exclusive with the release, so even if I say so myself the best place to hear the extended ten-minute 12” mix right now, is on my show, The Remedy. I need to send out a huge “Thank you” to Rough Trade and the band. 

Quinn Luke / Don’t Run Away / El Triangulo

I know The Insider`s already given this a rave review, but here’s my 2 cents…

“Bound to a classic Chicago house drum pattern, bongos, and a bulbous, almost acidic, bass, free-flowing frequencies – rushing like a mountain river – cleanse your dancing mind. Gently stabbing strings puncture this peace, while a clipped rhythm guitar then struts, cuts a near ska skank. Synths finally taking fusion flight, as Quinn`s soulful, pleading, falsetto begs a leaving lover to stay.”

Residentes Baleáricos / Simplemente Cachonda / Balearic Ensemble

Simplemente is nocturnally nuanced, post-sunset sexy. Boasting a bionic bass rumble, and backwards strings, while riding a techno timpani, of serious snares and a terrific kick. Cachonda is a souped-up samba, buzzing, alive, like an Amazonian jungle recording. Ripe with woodblocks and rainsticks, keys and bells cascading through scales. The closest comparison that I can quickly come up with is Now Now Now`s Problems. 

Secret Soul Society / Yo, We’ve Landed (Hardway Bros Remix) / Paper Wave

This is a bit of a teaser, but I’ve been lucky enough to have had this on my hard drive for a while. Yo, We’ve Landed is the very high quality coupling of Cal Gibson`s Secret Soul Society with Hardway Bros` Sean Johnston. Where a trippy, trance, intro makes way for a bass heavy 100 BPM beat, while details like vocals, and a phone ringing (perhaps?), are buried deep in the mix. Gaining momentum like an ecstasy express, drawing you in as it steam rollers along. Picking up passengers until, suddenly, the party’s at full throng. While it`s understated, and without an obvious hook, the production is powerful and demands to be played loud. Right now, unfortunately, there are no public links, and no available art, but the tune has been picked up by Paper Recordings. 

secret soul society logo

Shkema / Ispanija (Each Other Remix) / Good Skills 

Max Pask and Justin Strauss remix Shkema`s Ispanija for Lithuanian label, Good Skills – serving up a slice of super slinky sleaze. Nailing its disco beat to a nasty, gnarly, gnawing 303. Preyed upon by vampiric vocoder-ed voices, the track pauses for a drum roll…and then really lets you have it. While the tempo might only be 108 BPM, it`s not for the faint hearted. 

Chip Wickham / Blue To Red Remixed / Lovemonk

A trio of tracks are, here, taken from Chip Wickham`s latest album, Blue To Red, and remixed. Playing with the title tune, Photay loops Chip`s flute over a forthright 4 / 4, while supersizing the subs to “bottomless”. He also drops the drums for a short beatless version. Chip himself dubs out Cosmos. This four minute excursion reimagining the original’s eleven minute spiritual, modal, expanse as a scorched summer daydream – drifting into genius Greg Foat territory. Wolf Music’s Medlar showers Interstellar with sound effects, pumping  it full of purposeful latin percolations, while teasing with strings and peaking acid tweaks. Everything on offer is further honey-ed by Amanda Whiting`s heavenly harp. 

Mix to follow, care of my dear friends at Hamon Radio….

Mario Rui Silva – Kazum Zum Zum – Time Capsule
Good Block – Vuudu – Orange Tree Edits
Andrzej Mikolajczak – Tori – Very Polish Cut Outs
Parquet Courts – Plant Life – Rough Trade
Fuga Ronto – Greatest Treasure – Phantom Island
Rheinzand – Slippery People (Chris Coco Dub) – Music For Dreams
Secret Soul Society – Yo, We’ve Landed (Hardway Bros Remix) – Paper Wave
T Woc – Crazy Bronco – Strangelove
Abstract Incognito – Me Gusta Dancing – Jansen Jardin
D Ream – Many Hands (Shape Of Space Remix) – D Ream
Roberto Lodola – Marty`s Beach – Futura
Residentes Balearicos – Cachonda – Balearic Ensemble
Chip Wickham – Interstellar (Medlar Remix) – Lovemonk
Rheinzand – Queen Of Dawn (Pete Herbert Remix) – Music For Dreams
Circle Sky – Dream Colour – BMG
DMX Krew – Spiritual Machine – Byrd Out
Palmiara – Surfin (Gerd Jansen`s Acid Tribe Full Moon Mix) – HOMAGE
Benoit B – Drums Symphony – Animals Dancing
Bing Ji Ling & Alex From Tokyo – Not My Day – World Famous
Joaquin Joe Claussell – Way Back Then – Rekids


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