Looking For The Balearic Beat / Bonus Beats / July 2021

Kasper Bjorke – Baybi (Roman Flugel Remix) – HFN Records

Baybi is the fourth single to promo Kasper Bjorke`s new album, Sprinkles, itself due in a couple of weeks, on July 30th. The original mix is, according to the press release, a “deliberately camp”, bouncing, bit of light electronic pop – punctuated by cute, parping, synthesized horns, which serve – very effectively – as the track`s hook. Roman Flügel, however, pitches it up and transforms the tune  – still slightly cheesy perhaps – into a proper party-starter. Pumping, and propulsive, with arpeggios a-go-go, its Phillip Lauer-esque programmed patterns (Phillip really should have patented it) positioned somewhere between EBM, Italo, hi-energy, and new beat. That bionic brass sounding even sax-ier in this setting. 

Buena Onda Balearic Beats 2021 Sampler – Hell Yeah!

Berlin-based party, Buena Onda, celebrate those pandemic locks coming off with a vinyl-only sampler – globetrotting in their search for exclusive good vibes. Australians Kayroy & Jaspar Robinson delivering the auto-tuned, Ai, love song, Satellite – spinning out into orbit, backed by serious beats, and an equally serious guitar solo. Italians Feel Fly’s Esperanto also soars, on sublime synths, and gorgeous guitars, but closer to Earth – through azure, blue skies to a floor friendly 4 / 4. Ireland`s Vendetta Suite has the track, Neon Secrets, remixed by Japan`s Max Essa. Taken from his rightly rave-reviewed, 30-years-in-the-making, debut LP, The Kempe Stone Portal, the previously motorik meets Phil Spector tune now bops to breakneck bongos and Oriental pop tones, topped off by some New Order / Barney Sumner-esque twang. Wistful woodwind, Spanish strum, poignant picking, and kids` laughter, all wash in and out of Chris Coco & Micko Roche`s  wonderful What Is Love.

Buena Onda - Balearic Beats 2021 : Sampler Uno

Chantage – It`s Only Money – Staubgold

Professor Vivien Goldman, here, in a previous life with partner in crime, Eve Blouin together as Chantage serves up a sort of novelty record – reissued by Staubgold – that’s a veritable musical melting pot. Stirring in Caribbean steel pans and calypso piano, with West African highlife picking, a Romany violin….and Steve Beresford on French horn, while the tongue-in-cheek song has the feel of a Brecht / Weill threepenny opera. Originally released in 1983, on this new 7 it`s backed by an On-U Sound dub. Mr. Sherwood shifting the focus away from the Fiddler On The Roof vibes, and amidst dubwise dropouts, pushing various prettily delayed tropical cascades to the fore. The concoction kinda psychedelic in its cultural collisions. 

Cole Odin & Lex (Athens) – Leng

Leng have two new 12s – the first of which is already in shops. Cole Odin`s Little Boxes single is a San Francisco affair. Perhaps tapping into Mr. Odin`s hometown’s musical heritage, the tune – produced in partnership with Eddie C  is kinda disco meets psychedelic rock. A long journey into the musical night, where plaintive piano provides pinpoints of light. Its dark, motoring, motorik, and rich, dense, sound like Echo & The Bunnymen set to a driving dance beat. While listening to its backwards sitar-like buzz I couldn’t help humming the words to Lips Like Sugar. I`d have described the track as “epic”, but that was before I`d heard the mind-blowing, head-fuck, 40 Thieves overhaul. Cole’s fellow San Fran-ers take the tempo up to almost full-on trance. The bass-line becoming one big rumble, ripe with wah-wah-ed didgeridoo drones. Enlisting assistance from members of the local Bay Area band, Guavatron, a clipped guitar keeps time, and then launches into a crazy, screaming, solo – peaking in rushing wave after wave. 

Lex – from Athens, and not to be confused with our Swiss gentleman friend with the two XXs – has three tracks pressed on a disco maxi, opening with the conga-ed, electric strum of Punta Allen. Taking its name from a small Mexican, Mayan, fishing village the tune is an appropriately sun-soaked slice of pop, with a loose, live, feel to the playing, and its holiday vibe cemented by a steel drum serenade. As the piece progresses, the keys, care of Artis Boriss, expand out into jazzy jive, while those softly hammered pans gradually get all the more emotive. This almost seamlessly segues into the E.P.`s second track, The Jamail Pass, its timbale-d attack and funky organ grind. Strutting to a 6-string riff that’s part Izit`s Stories and part Why Did You Do It? by Stretch. Believe me, that’s how balearic it is. Again, while doing its dance the track becomes increasingly psyche and wigged out. The more uptempo, fusion-flavoured, Angels Of Rhythm, features smokily sung, positive, conscious lyrics, which, to my ears at least, lend the song a classic Ballistic Brothers bearing. 

? – I Wanna Be 5 Semitones Down – When Doves Cry

The mysterious When Doves Cry have released an anonymous 45. I Wanna Be 5 Semitones Down is a moody, manhandled, piece of mid-90s street soul. This former chart topper now rendered gender fluid, and moving super slow to a muffled, muted, break, sporting a smudged, smeared, submerged, metronome swing. The production fizzed hissed and hazed like Philip Jeck messing with some seminal downtempo Detroit sides, such as those sought after Retroactive joints by Carl Craig (Suspira) and Urban Tribe (Covert Action). Willfully Lo-fi crackles, static, and all. 

Lastly, I’ve heard word of a South London balearic beat / acid house veteran helming a new label, named Hot Shot Lovers, and hatching a plan to unleash a whole load of expertly executed edits. I’ve been privy to a few, which encompass balearic, funk, jazz, and soul, but I think the first 12`s gonna kick off proceedings with Doc`s Good Times Rework of Gang`s Melo Do Tagarela. Where he masterfully moves the big piano right up front, and concentrates on the resulting looped vamp, before  finally letting the Chic b-line hit…then allowing the axe to solo – cool and breezy – …and then the brass. Handclaps are juggled a la Grandmaster Flash adventuring on the old 1s and 2s. Percussion going potty, and sound effects whooshing, all the while in the background. At present, that`s gonna be flipped by the feel good `80s boogie of Change`s Hold Tight – with Doc stripping back the song, and extending the groove. Emphasizing the flickering rhythm guitar, and slowly introducing the sing along chorus, and keys. 

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