Looking For The Balearic Beat / June 2022

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

John Beltran / Para Viajeros / Oath

John Beltran Mallorca

Three of the four tracks on this E.P. are lush, highly percussive, latin house – sophisticated, futuristic fusion-esque sambas – but it was the mellow, marimba`d, Mallorca, that caught my attention. A daydream-like drift, a feather-light float of gentle hand drums and warm synth swells, surrounding carefully placed piano notes. Subtle, but haunting, with melodic patterns recalling John’s classic album, Ten Days Of Blue, the tune occupies a sonic space somewhere between Steve Cobby`s The Departure Lounge Awaits and Art Of Noise`s Moments In Love and, to my ears, it coulda been a Cafe del Mar contender. 

Cantoma / Shelter / Highwood Recordings

Cantoma Shelter

Phil Mison reunites with long-standing firm friend, and collaborator, Quinn Lamont Luke, and on Shelter, the two do a damn fine job of following up their 2013 anthem, Alive! Given the circumstances that we`re all still living through, the pairs swinging, sunshine-filled optimism, is way, way, overdue. The beat skips, the brass is bright, and the strings romantically swoon. 

Coyote / Homegrown / Chillout Tent

Chillout Tent Volume 1

Coyote`s Homegrown is the promo that`s been singled out as a teaser for The Chillout Tent`s forthcoming 12-track compilation. Timm and Ampo have submitted something that`s super stripped-back – an introspective treat. A time-out of swirling synths, percussive ripples, and rumbling bionic bass. The “Version” is actually busier, with the buzz of wildlife and birdsong, and zither zing, which the deftly applied “dubwise” twists into distracting details. 

While we’re on Coyote, The Balearic Network and White Isle veterans have also given Kate Bush a great going over – taking a top track – a tender, poetic, euphoric song about lovers alone on a secluded beach – from the top LP, Aerial, and excising the ecstatic, but eccentric second half. Focusing, instead, on its twilight groove, while adding some echo, naturally. 

If you’re into Coyote`s deep, laid-back, dubbed-out sound, then do yourself a favour and also check Undefined`s new LP, Defined Riddim, on Khaliphonic. The record carries a cross-section of modern roots reggae, a lot of it heavily Basic Channel and techno-influenced, but the plaintive piano-led track, Untitled, slots right into Coyote`s stoned in the sun, in a hammock, contemplating the cosmos, vibe. 

Eddie Danielli / Hannon (Leo Mas & Fabrice Rmx ) / Sampling Moods

Eddie Danielli

Italian producer, Eddie Danielli invites a few of his heroes to remix his work on the Eddie & Masters E.P. Two of the people involved are old friends of ours, the legendary Leo Mas & Fabrice. The pair rudely loop and rearrange Eddie’s funk, before 4 / 4-ing it up. Colouring the resulting carnival with glimpses of greasy, gritty guitar, and fragments of funky organ grind. 

Revelers Stone Bricks Saan

The dynamic duo of Leo & Fabrice also delivers a tribal dub of Manuele Roberto & Nicola Arecco AKA Revelers Stone Bricks` Saan. The latin and afro rhythms lysergic-ally laced, and giddy with growling and gurging electronic bass. 

Ethimm / Choices (Fuga Ronto Remixes) / Phantom Island

Choices Fuga Ronto Remixes

Phantom Island`s Fuga Ronto remix Ethimm, paying homage to cool `80s pop – the tumbling and clattering machine rhythms of tracks such as Ryuichi Sakamoto`s Tibetan Dance. Steamy and tropical like Saada Bonaire. Sensual, and eccentric, like Savage Progress or Hong Kong Syndikat. Snatches of saxophone in amongst the flickering electro. 

Lanowa / My Fantasy / Citizens Of Vice

There are 3 cracking Crooked Man remixes included in this release, but it`s their “Chapter 2” that gets my vote. Locked to a percussion loop – reminiscent of Max Berlin`s Elle Et Moi, spinning at +8 – disco hand claps, and undulating, warehouse-reverberating, bass. Drenched in washes, tidal waves, of delay, it`s totally modern but touches on tunes that rocked `88. Slightly sleazy, certainly sexy, and hugely hypnotic. The bubbling bottom-end becomes more acidic as the track builds, with siren-like synths summoning the moody spectre of Master C&J`s Dub Love.  

Lanowa Fantasy

Home Remixes / Warm

Home Remixes

Further tracks, from Warm`s winning Ali Tillett-compiled collection, Home, get remixed. A Mountain Of One take Mia Toi Dodd`s sweet folk vocal and send it into spaced-out digital dub. Shuddering and juddering with exploding snares, and surfing backwards solos, before being hit by a big prog rock piano riff. That`s partnered by 4Hero`s magical makeover of FUG`s From Little Seeds We Grow, which is a masterclass of soul and restraint. Outstanding, orchestral, swinging, syncopated, they keep the original’s acoustic piano and strum, adding understated keys, and sublime spirit-raising swells. Turning in a timeless production that summons the sounds of Terry Callier, Rotary Connection, and Charles Stepney. Airy, light, and frankly, amazing, packed with hope and a whole lotta heart. 

One Half of Bent – Akanaya

Simon Mills, One Half Of Bent – of I Love My Man fame – releases a trio of tracks on new label, Neapolis Records. All 3 are bathed in a warm, reassuring, glow, and 2 bare a big Brazilian influence. On Akanya, shakers shake, suggestive of Rio`s rhythms, while its groovy b-line resembles a slow take on the Cuban rumba Guaguanco – the beat of rebirth and regeneration shot to stardom by Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson’s classic, The Bottle. There are house-y keys, another nod to Jackson in its free-floating flute, and a cool, choral vocal – an “aria” lending the tune a spiritual, cosmic, jazz vibe. The uplifting Duerme is sung in Portuguese, to afro-tinged disco drums. Nightwalking, however, follows in the footsteps of Simon’s biggest hit. Muted keyboard melodies melt throughout this down-tempo number, which is built around sweeping, strings, and a famous, and probably very familiar, do wop, pop sample. Sweet, cute, it`s the sort of thing that both triggers nostalgia, and gets stuck in folks heads. It may be a bit too sugary for old school Amnesia purists – who prefer a bit of a Fini Tribe / Kawliga bang with their Balearic – but it’s one of those songs that`s sure to cross-over. You’re bound to hear it everywhere come summer.

One Half Of Bent Akanaya

Rude Audio / Big Heat

rude audio big heat

Mark Ratcliff`s Rude Audio bring the Big Heat – a terrific piece of mid-tempo acid house thumping, that, given its title, is appropriately warm. The track`s initial promise / threat of darkness is quickly brightened by a surprisingly playful melody – chiming, reassuring, good feeling / well being / rush-inducing. Summery even. Painting pictures of blue skies in a strobe-lit room. Bedford Falls Players remix perhaps pays tribute to messers Weatherall, Nicolson, Kooner, and Burns – as both the break and the timbales will be familiar to anyone who’s a fan of their work. The acid snarls, slightly nastier, and a burst of b-movie dialogue, half-way, signals a big dubwise drop. Rich Lane then reinvents the tune as dose of dub proper. Skanking to a broken blues lick, Rich`s radical remake is as Balearic as St. Etienne`s Only Love…., Sheertaft`s Cascades. 

There’s the added bonus of Rudely Fresh – a cool Compass Point-esque meeting of new wave and Nyabinghi – while Al Mackenzie’s epic, atmospheric extension of Dust Devil completes the package. 


Rude Audio – Big Heat (Rich Lane Remix)

Onegram – Trans Europe Express – Flower Records

Ethimm – Choices (Fuga Ronto Remix) – Phantom Island

Rude Audio – Big Heat

Donalds House – Budge-E Beat (Flightless Bird Mix) – Wax O Paradiso

The Balek Band – Balek Zouk – Abstrack Records

Jezebell – Concurrence (Super FU Remix)

The Balek Band – Charbon Alcool – Abstrack Records

Lanowa – Crooked Fantasy Chapter 2

Eddie Danielli – Hannon (Leo Mas & Fabrice Remix)

One Half Of Bent – Duerme – Neapolis

Be Lanuit – Hixa Mia – DSPPR

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