Looking For The Balearic Beat / February 2022

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

Dot Allison – Love Died In Our Arms

Dot Allison - Love Died In Our Arms (Lee Scratch Perry Remix)

Promo-ing an E.P. of remixes from 2021’s Heart Shaped Scars – Dot Allison`s first album in 12 years – the beatless folk / jazz ballad of Love Died In Our Arms is given a radical new lick by the legendary Lee Scratch Perry. The last thing that Perry worked on prior to his sad passing, he reframes the melancholic lyric within a sparkling pop skank. Sugary like Lou Hayter. Breathless like Brenda Ray. It`s throughly recommended for fans of Holly Cook and / or Giorgio Tuma`s much-loved hook up with Laetitia Sadier, Through Your Hands Love Can Shine. 

The Big Idea – VIII (Sibson’s Dub Dégagé)

This top track is taken from the 3D Dance Experience compilation, put together by Austria’s Archiac Future Sounds. While the other five tunes are all excellent italo-disco and / or new beat / EBM-inspired excursions, Mikey “45 Turns” Sibson`s manhandling of French rock band, The Big Idea, is something quite different. Hawaiian guitar washes over bubbling sound-effects. Congas cascade beneath brass blasts. A tambourine tapping. The bass-line, jazzy, and super laidback. Anyone remember a mid-90s outfit called Emperor’s New Clothes? Imagine King Tubby at the controls of a Mexican mariachi band. Think Paul Weller kissing the Kosmos with Brendan Lynch, Weatherall & Nicolson rejigging Galliano. A Muscle Shoals, Fame Studios-esque organ adds a little of The Stereo MCs exiled on Main Street to the stoned voodoo, gris-gris, JuJu. The spoken narrative might just be a woozy, wasted Will Self. 

The Big Idea - VIII (Sibson's Dub Dégagé)

Cantoma – To The Sea (DJ Pippi & Willie Graff Remix)

Cantoma - To The Sea - DJ Pippi & Willie Graff Remix

If Hear & Now`s previous rework got the OG to down its sunset cocktail and tip-toe toward a twilight dance-floor, the White Isle-based Willie and Pippi, now set it spinning, prancing, possibly, even up on a podium, beneath the mirrorball and spotlights. Constructing a 4 / 4 thump around rattling percussion, the song now throbs to an electronic bass arpeggio. Crafty key changes keep dancers moving, while echoes of accordion, flamenco hand claps and a bastardized guitar strum ensure an authentic Balearic flavour.

Fabrizio Fattore – Island Goddess

This is lifted from the Lyle E.P. – a fab four-tracker flagged up by The Insider. While the 12 features some fine remixes from Vince Watson, it`s the OG of Island Goddess that stands out for me – a prime piece of percussive house. Chokka with chiming Steve Reich-ian counterpoint, taking techno`s loops and techniques somewhere a little more Balearic, it`s a shot of tropical sunshine, a Caribbean carnival, topped off by a stunning steel pan solo. 


Good Block – Flute Dub

This is one of the tracks being used to promote Planet Trip’s Ordinary Dreams 2 collection – which is due early April. The London-based duo of Richard Foe and Andy Watson follow up their fine Aquaculture E.P., and find themselves in the capable company of few folks that I’m familiar with – such as Erortica, Jex Opolis, and Eirwud Mudwasser – and even more that are new to me – like Phuk Hugh, Mayurashaka, and Mogwaa. 

Flute Dub is synthesized Chic-do-reggae / Carly Simon-like shizzle. Where IDM-esque elements are backed by bogled-up drums. Its bass-line, an `80s, Thomas Dolby blinded by science, growl. 

Good Block - Flute Dub

Hypernatural – New Dawn


A new trio, which features Dan Whjtford from Cut Copy, with a seven-track mini-LP via the revamped International Feel. The music, inspired by the isolated landscapes of the Swedish coast and Scottish Hebrides, is almost wholly electronic. The gentle compositions, intricate with interlocking melodies, drawing on house and dance music for their low-end propulsion. Spirit Walk treads a little tribal and Unknown Caller is a tad “techno”, but there are no “bangers” as such here. It`s most definitely sunset / sunrise gear. Standouts for me are the opener, Longboat, and the shorter, more urgent New Dawn. The former is a Jon Hassell-like blur of Burundi drumming, a synthesized shimmer. Where keys mimic muted horns, on what could be an outtake from David Sylvian`s seminal Brilliant Trees. The latter is a blend of buzzing, backwards sequences and hand-drum ritual that recalls Keith Le Blanc`s Cafe del Mar classic, Ending. 

Lady Blackbird – Lost And Looking (Cosmodelica Remix)

LB Lost And Looking Coleen Murphy Remix

Lady Blackbird`s super smooth cover of Sam Cooke`s Lost And Looking is the latest track from her album, Black Acid Soul, to be remixed for the discerning dance-floor. This time out Colleen “Cosmo” Murphy does the honours, and in my humble opinion it`s the best frugging reinterpretation of Lady B`s work to date. Ushered in by hand claps and shuffling snares, this Cosmodelica version, is still very much about THAT vocal, but the focus also shifts to a bold new b-line – “borrowed”, or at the very least inspired by Crystal Glass` Loft classic, Crystal World. As the song steers toward its climax, it`s subjected to showering synths, pausing for a split, milli, second – catching its breath – before emotionally exploding. 

Love Ape – Dance Of The Apes (Gold Suite Remix)

The Sawah Indah E.P. contains three tracks from Amsterdam’s Love Ape, for Joe Morris` Shades Of Sound, plus two additional remixes. Beachnap pays homage to the classic Mediterranean / Adriatic Italian house of the early `90s – all atmospheric synths, bongos, ethereal whispers, and sampled surf. Joe slowing it down, and calming the kick, for a sunset / sunrise reprise. Ricefields is electro-tinged and full of Fairlight vocals. Dance Of The Apes dabbles with acid, while its keys are accordion, Hablando-lite like. The latter, given a great going over by Gold Suite, becomes a gated, dark, trance-dancer – illuminated by Spanish-leaning, flamenco-esque, acoustic picking and playing. Packing some Sergio Leone / Ennio Morricone drama that’s a match for Leonidas & Hobbes` 2017 smash, Web Of Intrigue. 

Love Ape

Joe Morris himself also has two serene synthscapes on offer. Appalachian Clouds has its rhythm reduced to gentle sonic twists, and is shot through with self-help / mediation tape snippets. Floating on feather-like fractals, somewhere between A Positive Life and the Art Of Noise. River Of Stars boasts a slightly more boisterous beat, and revives the vibe of Ultramarine`s 1990 chillout room staple, Stella. 

Peter Matson – Call & Answer

Peter Matson is the Brooklyn-based bandleader of afrofunk outfit, Underground System – who recorded a Balearic biggie back in 2014, with their cover of Socialist anthem, Bella Ciao – which was later remixed for Hell Yeah by musical maestros, Leo Mas, Fabrice, and Gigi Masin. Last year Peter collaborated with fellow Brooklynites, Razor-N-Tape, for the marvelous Mory-Kante-on-acid-esque Ewesse Ye. His new E.P. – The Right Way – finds him working with Ibibio Sound Machine’s vocalist Eno Williams – who scored a leftfield floor-filling hit of their own with Let’s Dance, also in 2014. 

On Call & Answer they partner-up for a party-starter that squeezes a squelchy 303 into its buoyant Lagos-inspired brass-punctuated bump and bounce. For the remix, Faze Action streamline proceedings over a more straightforward 4 / 4. Turning in a disco-derived production that recalls the dynamite work of proto-house don Paul Simpson. 

Peter Matson The Right Way

Minus Yogis – Sanctuary Alicante

The mysterious Minus Yogis celebrate the Spanish, Valencian, safe haven of Alicante with a track centred on trippy, tumbling chimes. Cycling through shifting, spiraling, scales, on a Icarus-like flight toward sunnier climes. Trance-dancing, but not in some strobe-lit basement, instead out in the open air beneath clear blue, optimistic, skies. Something for your summer holidays for sure. 

Minus Yogis Sanctuary Alicante

Payfone – Coffee Machine

Its been a little over a year since Payfone released the sublime Sofian. The title of their new single, Coffee Machine, is a little misleading, since the song – and it is a song, a proper one too – has nothing to do with caffeinated beverages. Rather its dream-like lyrics deal with “post-pandemic” ennui, anxiety and uncertainty. Musically its a seductive, sedated, slo-mo boogie – smooth, slick, silky and dark, like 90% cacoa chocolate. Similiar in its pop leanings and super production to sometime Leng label-mate, JPYE. The second-half is given over to some ace electric guitar work. 

payfone coffee machine art

Micheal James Pollard – Surrender 

Michael James Pollard

Mancunian Micheal James Pollard has a couple of his early `80s demos Emotional-ly Rescue-d by Chuggy Leath, for a smart 7. Part of a scene surrounding the band, Dislocation Dance, Michael’s Too Confusing is jauntily jangled Postcard / Rough Trade indie-rock. A “kitchen sink” love song, in the vein of Everything But The Girl’s bedsit realism, and the sort of thing you might expect to find salvaged on Preston`s collectable Optic Nerve. File next to acts such as Even As We Speak and Metro Trinity. The B-side is a stripped-back and heavily reverb-ed reading of Ashford & Simpson`s dynamite slice of disco desire, Surrender. Michael’s makeover is lo-fi and breathless, and consequently even more sexy than 5th Dimension`s classic John Morales & Sergio Munzibai mixed version. 

If you’re as much as a sucker for this as I am, also check Anita Lane`s recently reissued cover of Gil Scott-Heron`s Home Is Where The Hatred Is, for a similar fix. 

George Solar & Chris Coco – Mother Earth

George Solar & Chris Coco - Mother Earth

A dub-influenced, uptempo cut – of bongos, congas, cowbell and kick – where a melodica line wafts in like hookah smoke from a Moroccan bazaar, through the White Isle hippie markets of Las Dalias and Es Canar. The Bonus Beats remind me a little of The Idjut Boys` Staeb from their wonderful Whoktish E.P. Ibiza resident, Sadeedo, steps up and transforms the track into an ambient wash of sustained keys and loose chimes. Devoid of drums, but boasting some serious sub-bass. 

Telefis – Falun Gong Dancer (Jah Wobble Mix)

Telefis - Falun Gong Dancer

Jackknife Lee and Cathal Coughlan team up as Telefis, and recruit Jah Wobble to remix a track from their long-player, a hAon. Opening with kinda abstract crunchy glitched beats, the former PiL powerhouse – of course – adds a trademark large, large bass-line. Sending the cold wave synths into a slow skank, and blurring the borders between dub and “trip hop” – in a similar fashion to, say, Adrian Sherwood reworking Death In Vegas` Dirge. It`s a great loping groove. The singer and song stretched into something sacred. It`s almost a Gregorian / Dominican chant. My only complaints are that its too short, and it needs a vinyl pressing. 45 me please!

Vanity Project – Falling Up (Leo Zero Acid Dub)

Vanity Project`s Falling up, for Eclectics, is chunky, chugging novo new beat – stomping, stamping, and ringing with Nina Walsh / Andrew Weatherall-esque detail. Its melody slowly emerging in the shape of celestial sequences, and more Fairlight-flavoured chords. For the remix, Two Tribes` Leo Zero rocks up with pockets packed with Blue Cheer, Orange Sunshine, Owsley`s original White Lightning, blotters, microdots, and windowpanes,. Spiking the track significantly, while adding a stirring siren-like string-line. Falling Down swaps those Woodleigh Research Facility references for wiggles and squiggles straight out of William Orbit`s early `90s studio. James Bright then gives it a lighter lysergic lick (do people still keep toads, is that still a thing?), and tops his rework off with a dramatic dubbed out piano riff. 

ECLECTICS LEVELS original copy 2

Please also check previously reviewed releases by Hugh Mane, Jansen Jardin, Jezebell, Mutabaruka, I Rainy & Simbad, and The Vendetta Suite – all of which are well worthy of your listening time. 

Hypernatural – New Dawn
Hugh Mane – Voices Of Choice
Joe Morris – River Of Stars
Good Block – Flute Dub
Telefis – Falun Gong Dancer (Jah Wobble Mix)
The Big Idea – VIII (Sibsons Dub Dégagé)
Vanity Project – Falling Up (Leo Zero Acid Dub)
Residentes Balearicos – D110 (James Bright Remix)
Yuki Suzuki – We Don’t Have Much Time
Jezebell – Le Acid Et Moi
Hugh Mane – Music For A Non-Existent Song
Payfone – Coffee Machine
Cantoma – To The Sea (DJ Pippi Willie Graff Remix)
Love Ape – Dance Of The Apes (Gold Suite Remix)
Peter Matson – Call & Answer
The Vendetta Suite – Warehouse Rock (Timmy Stewart 6 Minutes Before Sunrise Mix)
Mushrooms Project – Galattica
George Solar & Chris Coco – Mother Earth
Mutabaruka, I Rainy & Simbad – Loot, Cheat, Steal 
Lady Blackbird – Lost And Looking (Cosmodelica Remix)
Fabrizio Fattore – Island Goddess

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