Looking For The Balearic Beat / September 2021

There’s been a bounty of balearic beats released during the summer. Music by 30-70, Afrobuddha, Asa Moto, Tony Esposito, Full Circle, Iron Warrior, Jezebell, Akio Nagase, and t-woc, that we’ve already covered. There was also that Riddim Poetry compilation, Ruf Dug versus Super FU, and the wonderful Leslie Winer retrospective. As we enter the fall, here are a few more things, some I forgot to mention, that I think fit the bill…

attraktors Remix Front Cover copy

Attraktors / Ron Basejam Remixes / Higher Love Recordings

Crazy P`s Ron Basejam reconfigures a couple of tracks by Nottingham`s motorik marauders, the magnetic Attraktors. Both Heavy Water, and Maximum Minimum are lifted from the 3-piece`s debut long-player, released last year on Ali Renault’s Vivod imprint. Ron makes the former over as a bass-heavy chugger, and reworks the latter into a rumbling race, blurring the boundaries between Italo and Kosmische. 

Black Heat / Wanaoh / Matasuna Records

Puerto Rican 8-man outfit Black Heat were signed to Atlantic back in the 1970s. Matasuna have licensed a couple of cuts for an AA-sided 45, the most “balearic” of which is Wanaoh – a big band blast of flute-led funk. A glorious group shake and shout, where the chants of the title are supported by brass, organ and an electric strum. 

Felipe Gordon / Highly Conductive Rhythms / Heist Recordings

Felipe Gordon HEIST056 small

Colombian Felipe Gordon has constructed four hits of house, house, house, house, for Amsterdam’s respected Heist Recordings. Under the title of Highly Conductive Rhythms he renders a range of dance-floor dynamics, where the 4 / 4 format is tweaked to include marching band snare fills, and the bang and cowbell rattle of what sounds like a beefed-up Bar-Kays break. The jazz swing of Highly Smooth Tone features the trumpet of Cuban horn player Julio Rigal – who switches between sharp blasts and a slow, stylish, solo. The moodier Highly Deep and Conductive is shot through with suspenseful strings, while stuttered, fluttering, synths and seductive vocal samples float on a rippling, aquatic arpeggio. Highly Corrosive Acid is basically a battle. Where the filtered, elastic, rubber band drum battery has at the twisting, turning, taut, tight flex of Felipe`s 303.

Hard Feelings / Dangerous (Mike Salta & Mortale Remix) / Domino

Amy Douglas and Hot Chip`s Joe Goddard get it together as Hard Feelings, for Domino. While everyone’s quite rightly freaking out about the Crooked Man mixes, it`s Mike Salta & Mortale`s version of Dangerous that gets my vote. Completely flipping the tune in a totally different direction, with an “acid jazz” vibe of gentle bongos, congas, and a groovy bass-line. An acoustic strum cementing the loved-up sunset ambience. Their latin / Brazilian setting showing off Amy’s vocal virtuosity. Transforming the song into a whispered serenade – as opposed to another of her trademark blues-y belters – that put me in mind of Cafe del Mar classics by Karen Ramirez and Kalima. 

Hashman Deejay / Drum Star / Counter 99

Hashman Deejay, an old mate of forward-thinking folks both at Mood Hut and Future Times, has a new E.P. out on Counter 99 – an offshoot of Going Good, run by that label`s co-founder, Salik. The title track, Drum Star, is a beatless Drexcyian seaquake. An offensive of room-shaking, rumbling, occult, low frequency oscillations, hypnotic vibrations, shot through with 303-like acid flashbacks. Bass Of Life is also a deep inner / outer space exploration. Snatches of clipped brass blasts “ambiently” swirling about. Its considerable kick also joined by alien distress signals. Backwards percussion passages, and graf artist spray can snares sucked into its dark pulse. At over 11 minutes long House Rockers is something of an epic, big and tribal, pounding like a dancing warrior`s heartbeat. While snippets of samples, disembodied riffs, circulate, its stripped back and super minimal, really relying solely on rhythm to get its job done. Deftly dicing, slicing, fidgeting footwork formations, and an old school funk break. Choruses of machined hand claps are doubled by delay, and I`m sure I heard someone in there scream “Oh Yeah!”

COUNT03 Label Scan B side

Kondi Band / We Famous / Strut

Kondi Band - Album cover

The Kondi Band take their name from Sorie Kondi`s custom-made 15-pin thumb-piano / kalimba / sanza. Unsurprisingly the sound of the instrument defines their new album, We Famous. A collaboration between the West African Kondi and producers Will LV and Chief Boima, based in London and L.A., respectively, it`s a mix of tradition and electronics. Griot grooves full of shaken percussion, strummed and plucked acoustic strings yes, but also electric flickering, lightning-like juke juju jive, and depth charge sub-bass drops. The songs, sung largely in Sierra Leonean Creole, or Krio, are married to manic machine rhythms, techno stabs – a la Carl Craig remixing Tony Allen – and synthesized sound-effects. It`s God`s World (So Don’t Do Bad) is a call-and-response set to skipping, bouncing, floor-friendly broken beats, while How Will It Be For Me In This World is a celebratory highlight. 

Ponty Mython / Onimano X991 / Not An Animal

Saint Petersburg-born producer, currently based in Vilnius, Lithuania, Ponty Mython lets loose across 3 fresh tracks for Not An Animal. Walkie Talkie is tumbling technological thumper – upbeat electro-organics. Abstract but with a definite fluid flow. On We Expect A Soft Landing, splashes of sound, somewhere between a whip crack and a gunshot, that surround the robotic funk. In its original mix Onimano X991 is a ping-ponging, popping locking, party-starter, all bumping bleeps and syncopated squeaks, the odd ethereal sigh. Its seriously significant groove giving off jagged, angular shapes. Relentlessly wriggling and wigging out, hard to pin down, classify, or draw comparison to. It`s no wonder that PM has such a cult following and his releases go for eye-watering prices. DJ Fett Burger readies the re-rub, beginning by adding a breakbeat, phased and spun back, and boosting the bass levels to ridiculously rude, before dissolving into serene silicon washes and analogue bubbling. Giggle energy, echoed laughter, is the last thing you hear. 

Social Lovers / Higher / Lovers Lane

Higher is 4 and a half minutes of hushed harmonic house on a cute 7”, coming care of Star Creature-distributed, label Lovers Lane. If you were quick then you got it in neon pink. Megan Doherty`s helium vocals harbour a touch of jazz, and Billie Holiday, in their cadence and inflection, while Matt Poisson provides soft focus frequencies, cool carnival congas, and `80s Linn drum disco pops. 

Social Lovers Higher

Various / Playing With Fire / Wrekin Havoc

Wrekin Havoc is a new vinyl-only venture instigated by three respected “music fiends”. The press prose has them meeting at a magic mushroom festival on The Wrekin – a West Midlands / Black Country landmark, a hill said to have been “built” by the Welsh giant, Gwendol Wrekin ap Shenkin ap Mynyddmawr, during his failed attempt to dam the River Severn. The crew`s collective motto is “Stay Gold” – a quote from Robert Frost via S. E. Hinton`s The Outsiders, and / or Francis Ford Coppola`s classic film of her book – but I guess it could also be a reference to Psilocybe cubensis, which you might better know as “gold caps”, or “golden tops”. Fantastic fungi that can be found all around the mound. The first E.P., Playing With Fire, has the three amigos rearranging four Euro-obscurities – which either set them back pennies, or a small fortune. Knowing the chaps, my money’s on the latter. There’s a trio of boogie-tempo`d tracks, of Brexit-busting, eccentric, exotic pop. Two feature clipped jazz guitars, buoyant slapped bass, and frantic French chanteuses on the look out for love. I`m not sure of the geography of the third, it could be Italy, could be Spain. Moodier, dubbier, it definitely hails from somewhere latin and passionate. The final piece presents a pensive moment. Sighing sunset synths and pizzicato strings underpinning a sultry half-spoken / half-sung Saada Bonaire / Propaganda-esque vocal. In the pipeline since before the summer, with the current pressing plant crisis, the 12`s now predictably not out until November. However, preorders are up over at Phonica, where you can also listen to clips. All monies raised from this, and subsequent E.P.s, will be donated to charity via the distributors, Prime Direct.

Wrekin Havoc Art

Mix to follow care of my friends at Hamon Radio…

If you can make it to Bonobo in Harajuku this Saturday – October 2nd – then you’ll be treated to an evening of similar sounds at the Lone Star 11th anniversary party…


Artwork by Max Essa

Full Circle – Here No Evil – Good Morning Tapes
Super FU – Moonlovers (Ruf Dug Remix) – Paper Wave
Wrekin Havoc – We`re Truckin – Wrekin Havoc
Asa Moto – Connexion A Liege – Deewee
Leslie Winer – RoundUp Ready – Light In The Attic
Attraktors – Heavy Water (Ron Basejam Remix) – Higher Love Recordings
Hard Feelings – Dangerous (Mike Salta & Mortale Remix) – Domino
Wrekin Havoc – Love Shock – Wrekin Havoc
Apartheid Not – Reality Now – Into The Deep Treasury
Black Heat – Wanaoh – Matasuna
Tullio de Piscopo – Stop Bajon (Jezebell Remix) – Paisley Dark
Revival Season – Iron Warrior (Raf Rundell Remix) – Heavenly Recordings
Tony Esposito – Kalimba De Luna (Hear & Now Remix) – Archeo Recordings
Full Circle – Out Hear – Good Morning Tapes
Akio Nagase – Jack The Sax – Darker Than Wax
Felipe Gordon – Highly Corrosive Acid – Heist Recordings
Kondi Band – How Will It Be For Me In This World – Strut
Ponty Mython – Onimano X991 (DJ Fett Burger Remix) – Not An Animal
30 / 70 – Tastes Like Freedom (Mixes) – Rhythm Section International 
Social Lovers – Higher – Lovers Lane
Afrobuddha – Obame – Mysticisms


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