Attempting to recreate the golden yesterdays of Jose Padilla`s White Isle sunsets with the tunes of today.
UMAN`s long-player, Chaleur Humaine, was produced by Parisian siblings, Danielle and Jean Didier in 1992. By 1994 the song, Atmosphere, was a favourite of Phil Mison, who included it on his compilation, Real Ibiza. Phil told me that it was Music For Dreams founder, Kenneth Bager, who introduced him to the tune. Freedom To Spend are responsible for the reissue – the CD is in shops now, with the vinyl due in a couple of weeks. The whole album is wonderful – it`s far, far, from a one-tracker.
Nick & Samantha / Pathways / Chris Coco
Stalwarts of Chris Coco`s recording “stable”, Nick & Samantha, released their Summer Is Here E.P., erm, in the summer, but I’ve realized that I haven’t done a Chocolate Milk & Brandy round-up since July (!?). The title track is jazzy, a sort of beatless Brazilian boogie – full of carnival trappings, cowbell, and cuica squeak, but sedate, a way, way off a Celebration Suite. The duo’s soft, bongo`d, cool midnight campfire, samba through Barry White`s You’re The First, The Last, My Everything is probably the main draw here. Acoustically picked, free of disco, mirror-balled, bombast. Whispered, rather than belted out. My pick though is Pathways whose similar sonic template, of gentle percussion and guitar, once combined with Sam’s echoed vocals – “Do you know where I Am?” – has a delicious daydream-like quality. There’s also a bonus cut of cicadas in full song – handy for bringing some tropical heat to a chill-out room all year long.
Cantoma / To The Sea / Highwood Recordings
Cantoma make a very welcome return, with To The Sea, a tune that has me wishing I was on holiday in sunnier climes – tanga`d and tanned-up – instead of digging out my long johns as the equally long mountain winter sets in. But while the music plays at least I can dream. Ace, and accordion-led, tambourine-tapping, ivories tinkle as the brass sounds a serene sunset fanfare.
I’ve said this before and I`ll say it again, Cassandra Jenkins` An Overview On Phenomenal Nature gets my vote for album of the year, and Hard Drive THE song of 2021.
The stunning lead track, from a stunning sophomore E.P. An interview with the hitherto mysterious Common Saints is underway.
The Brkn Record / His Mothers Eyes / The Brkn Record
The Brkn Record is Jake Ferguson`s powerful, personal, musical response to systemic racism and state violence. The project is a collaboration between Ferguson, a founding member of The Heliocentrics, and a long list of activists, poets, and politicians. His Mothers Eyes is the second single to be taken from the forthcoming album, The Architecture Of Oppression Part 1, and it`s both breath-taking, and heartbreaking. We`re obviously planning on writing a whole lot more once we have access to the entire LP.
After decades of success for countless other folks, Woolfy and Projections regroup on their own new label, Ritual Release, and devise a double-pronged musical attack. The first hit is a future balearic / sunset classic.
Session Victim / The City / Session Victim
No doubt there are many stories behind the popularity of the Mark Almond tune, The City, but here’s the one that I’m privy to. Recorded for Blue Thumb back in 1978, the track resurfaced – in the UK – on a Jose Padilla mixtape in around 2006. This tape was bounced backwards and forwards between balearic experts and aficionados, who – eventually – ID`d the song. Wild Life Archive`s Steve Terry located a handful of dusty original LPs – which he then distributed to the great and the good. Both he and Phil Mison span the track regularly during their seminal afternoon sessions on Brick Lane. Helping to fuel demand.
A super sultry slice of sophisticated folk / jazz fusion, the song is a call for a reconnection with nature. Wah-wah guitar interwoven with fluttering flute, as its protagonist sings of an evening being re-energized under redwood trees. All accompanied by smoky after-hours sax.
Session Victim & Erobqiue have covered the track, toughening the beats a tad, trading the axe and woodwind for some fine Fender Rhodes, while their amigo, Jamie Lloyd, alters the lyrics a little, delivering his lines in a manner that recalls Jose Gonzales.
Fun and expletive-filled party hip hop from the anti-establishment institution that is Heavenly Recordings. Both the vocal, and more family-friendly instrumental, have me wistfully remembering taking the edge off Saturday, holding back Monday, at Rob Da Bank`s Sunday Best Clapham Southside shindigs.
Chris Coco & George Solar / September On The Island (Dub Version) / Chris Coco
I`m only a month late with this one – a tribute to the White Isle`s closing season, crafted by Ibiza veterans, Chris Coco & George Solar. Here in its dub version, a bucolic, bass-heavy, bump on sunset, it`s buzzed by the last of the summer`s insect and birdsong, and nostalgic reveries born on the muted sigh of Ian “Fly” Harper’s flugelhorn.
There at least 4 essential gems on Into The Deep Treasury`s compilation of early French “reggae”, Riddim Poetry, but this is the one that`s most sunset cocktail worthy. The others are more likely to start the dance.
Two bona fide balearic veterans (young Willie`s been DJing at Pacha since he was 16) cover quite possibly the greatest love song ever written, which is then made even more balearic by a former king of the Italian afro / cosmic scene, himself now relocated to The White Isle. It`s hard to think of tune more perfect for poolside shandies at Pike`s.
A lush, Latin moment from Pablo Color`s latest LP.
Sex Judas feat. Ricky / When You Wake Up Everything Else Will Be Fine / Optimo Music
This is a solo project from Tore Gjedrem, of Ost&Kjex, which contains a few Cafe del Mar-esque moments. When pushed for a line – of feedback – I compared it to Fuga Ronto. There’s an album due in about 3 weeks time. Expect a lot more words then.
Glass Coffee / Kunafa With Jose / Higher Love Recordings
Something else that I should have covered at least a month ago is Higher Love Recordings label showcase, Higher Love Vol. 1. Collecting 12 tracks from imprint stalwarts, plus a few newcomers, it offers a glimpse of things to come from the Brighton-based outift. The assembled artists together supplying a seamless sun-stroked soundtrack, which segues through ambience to IDM and electro-boogie and back to ambience again. Taking in kosmische, and plenty of dubwise, and paying touching tribute to both Jose Padilla and Andrew Weatherall as it does so. It`s impossible to spotlight a highlight from such a varied selection – choice would be totally dependent on mood – so I’ve gone with the opener from Dubai-based Glass Coffee, recalling his last conversation with Jose.
As Cal has already eloquently inked, Bremer McCoy`s Natten is a wonderful album. I`ll be honest, and say that it took me until track 9, on the first listen, but upon repeat I was completely hooked. It`s impossible to pick a standout. Nova was simply the one in the appropriate key.
There are a whole range of moods on this righteous reissue from Barcelona`s Musica Maquina – some of them admittedly a tad (beautifully) dark. However this particular tuneful treasure, in my humble opinion, has the heyday of the Cafe del Mar deep in its DNA.
A top track from Steve`s latest – Shanty Bivouac, I just can’t stop playing this, it`s perfect. It leaps out every time I listen. Steve`s informed me that a small vinyl repress is imminent, so those who missed out, get those Bandcamp buzzer fingers ready.
Stunning “Tokyo Balearic” from Soshi Takeda that seemed to come out of nowhere. Hopefully we`ll see some local live gigs from Takeda come 2022.
Mr. Contact can clearly make pretty cool techno but the downtempo cuts on his debut long-player, Drinking From The Mirage, are completely off the scale.
Q Base / Il Sole / DFC
The demand for this prime piece of downtempo mid-90s Italian deep house has rocketed since Young Marco included it on one of his genre-defining Welcome To Paradise compilations in 2017. Co-produced by Claudio Zennaro and Andrea “Cutmaster-G” Gemolotto – a former member of Sueno Latino – it`s a smooth, slick, finger-clicking, slow, seductive smooch of a track – a balearic bubblebath of gently rippling African rhythms and chants. The synth interplay rising and falling, like waves kissing a shore at low tide. Originally released in 1991, DFC have repressed it on red vinyl.
Tony Watson – Lets Have Fun Again
Tony Watson – of Adult Contemporary imprint fame – breaks a significant musical silence – and releases the mid-tempo “monster” – Let’s Have Fun Again. As warm as the Californian sun that it was created under, it`s a laidback cruise full of sunset pads, and pseudo-acidic squelching. But when Tony rolls in Spoonie Gee / Pumpkin`s Love Rap break, things get a bit more boisterous. A roar of celebratory cheering then signals for the synths, which rise in triumphant arcs.
Kayroy / Imagine (Gallo Tropical Hinterhof Remix) / Hell Yeah!
There’s a new Buena Onda comp due, scheduled now, I think, for early next year. A vinyl continuation of the long-running Berlin-based party, as she reopens her doors. In the meantime the label, Hell Yeah!, tease with a 4-track sampler. A record that features a couple of new names, and a couple of imprint favourites. Of the fresh faces, Tonarunur are the Icelandic team of Björn Gauti Björnsson and Björn Gauti Björnsson. Their tune, Flotholt, is a twisting and turning, beatless mind-bender, with a decidedly low pH. Relative remain a mystery to me – as their name is impossible to Google – but their contribution, The Healing Place, juggles disco handclaps and congas with a block-rocking breakbeat. Kiyotaka Fukagawa aka Calm remixes Gallo`s Abysso into an italo disco march. Its bold bass arpeggio softened by cascading keys and stirring strings. Gallo then reworks Kayroy`s Imagine, updating, reinventing the classic Italian (dream) house template. Creating a euphoric rave oasis, raising ethereal walls of raining piano, setting off synthesized fireworks. The spinning, ringing and chiming, everything, riding broken breaks and a big bottom end pulse. All of artists involved indulge in TB-303-laced aural adventures – epic in nature, intent, and ambition. To my ears at least, seeking to synthesize an end-of-the-night anthem, and what could be a more noble and righteous goal?
The accompanying mix will be hosted this Sunday, by Nevena / DJ Tsunamica, my balearic friend in Belgrade.
UMAN – Atmosphere – Freedom To Spend
Nick & Samantha – Pathways – Chris Coco
Cantoma – By The Sea – Highwood Recordings
Cassandra Jenkins – Hard Drive – Ba DaBing
Common Saints – Starchild – Common Saints
The Brkn Record – His Mothers Eyes –
Projections – Original Cell – Ritual Release
Session Victim – The City – Session Victim
Revival Season – Iron Warrior – Heavenly Recordings
Chris Coco & George Solar – September is Here (Dub) – Chris Coco
Jean Michel Bertrand – Dream Reggae – Into The Deep Treasury
DJ Pippi & Willie Graff – The First Time (Roberto Lodola Instrumental) – Archipelago
Pablo Color & Berlin Lama – Recuerdos – Ish Records
Sex Judas feat. Ricky – When You – Optima Music
Glass Coffee – Kunafa With Jose – Higher Love Recordings
Bremer McCoy – Nova – Lukas Bop
Idee du Femelle – The Sea In Winter – Muscia Maquina
Steve Cobby – The Departure Lounge – Declasse
Soshi Takeda – Deep Breath – 100% Silk
Guy Contact – Voices From The Bedrock – Butter Sessions
Q Base – Il Sole – DFC
Tony Watson – Lets Have Fun Again
Kayroy – Imagine (Gallo Tropical Hinterhof Remix) – Hell Yeah!