Looking For The Balearic Beat / December 2022

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

There’s only a handful of new tunes as we hit the holidays and festive season, but they’re top tunes all the same…

Afro Breed / Tootee

Tight tight afro funk, released on Mushi 45, with zero details. Even the imprint is a bit of a mystery, as UK sites say it`s Japanese, and Japanese stores say their British. Sometimes the label seem to do straight reissues, and at others sharp edits. Coming on like Matata’s I Feel Funky, or The Lafayette Afro Rock Band’s Hiache, both sides are punctuated by wild honking sax. Part 2 swaps the vocal for a buzzing Wasp synth.

Afro Breed

Brown Spirits / Dead End Exits

Brown Spirits

A hand-stamped 7”, exclusive to London’s legendary Sounds Of The Universe store, this really should have been in my recent “modern motorik” list. Driven by a mad, tumbling, derivative of Klaus Dinger’s beat, this is a free-jazz-inspired rock – a crashing cymbal and guitar – freak-out. While it sounds as if it was once based on a mod organ groove, its totally shaken by drum and wah wah explosions. Try to imagine Trees Speak riding MC5`s Starship.  

Intelligent Communication – Principles Of Motion 

Intelligent Communication

A 4-track reissue from a one-off pseudonym of Gary Cobain and Brian Dougans, aka Future Sound Of London. At the recommended 45 RPM, the opener Drive is a barmy 126 / 127 breakbeat and bleep thing. At 33, it becomes a dose of downtempo, dubby IDM. Soul II Soul shuffling at around 90 / 92 and showered in uplifting celestial sighs. I, of course, didn’t know this when I bought the 12, which I purchased primarily for Open Loop – a sweet shot of sunset house, that`s very likely Larry Heard-influenced. Humanized by conga fills, and the keys alternating between jazzy and ethereal, almost vocal, coos. Flight is gently acidic. Critical Ebb mixes the tribally tinged rhythms of Bang The Party / Warriors Dance with Italy’s “Paradise” sound. Action-packed, but still sorta stripped down, its the kind of thing that the Clandestino chaps – Joe Morris and Nick “Lone Saxon” Smith – currently excel in. 

Quinn Luke Lamont / No Getting Over You

Quinn No Getting Over You

Forthcoming on a 45, from Tokyo’s Flower Records, is Quinn Luke Lamont’s lovelorn ballad, No Getting Over You. A sadly strummed sundown serenade set to slow, synthetic squelching, the song originates from an archival kinda country & western session. Recordings made for Quinn’s proposed 7th solo album, that celebrate the farmland surroundings of his former home in Hurley, in the Catskills, upstate New York. Now a little more “machined”, but still magnificent and moody, its Americana roots are given away by the near bluegrass picking. Max Essa “rocks up” for the remix, a fluttering, featherlight, reimagining. His sparser production exuding an altogether airier (heart) ache. It`s worth pointing out that this is Flower’s first ever non-Japanese artist release. 

Royal Mirrorball / (Earth In) Blue

Royal Mirrorball

Rush Hour have revived this super rare, and sought after, Japanese single. The work of Hokkaido-based producer, Hiroshi Matsui, the track`s taken from his turn of the millennium E.P., Unreleased Project Part 1, the originals of which go for an eye-watering sum. Bouncing along on a brilliant belching, farting Deeelite / What Is Love?-like bottom-end, keys, in a simple but clever arrangement, switch between clipped and muted. Soaring on a dramatic sustained string-line, and interwoven with Barbarella-esque whispers from singer, Suzi Kim, the song also boasts a bigger, bolder proper piano solo, care of Yas Kitajima. Cool and uncluttered, it`s an instant classic. 

Wavetest / High Altitude

This is the second release from Silum Records, a more peak-time dance-floor  focused spin-off of Zurich-based Balearic Beaters, Phantom Island. Delivered by Drumpoet Community collective, Wavetest, the A-side, Guschg is a big, buoyant tune, that boasts a boisterous Italo, almost Bobby O / hi-energy b-line, and is coloured by cowbell, bongos, and 303 twists and turns. Stuffed with modern mirrorball magic. Flip to the B, and Gritsch starts out slower, sleazier, bumping and grinding, dressed in black leather,  but layers of jazzy, melodic, chords quickly lighten the mood. Gnalp then sets its scene with hypnotic circling sequences, while fine fancy solos take the E.P. further into future fusion territory. 

Wavetest High Altitude

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