2022 / A Few Favourites / Looking For The Balearic Beat

I honestly lost track of the amount of amazing music that we covered over the last 12 months. My new year’s resolutions, at the start of 2022, were “no more than one post per day”, and “take the weekends off”. Those rules, however, quickly went out of the window, due to the sheer weight of great stuff that we were being sent. Every month I tagged a ton of tunes as “Balearic Beats”. Please check those posts for more detailed descriptions, but below is a quick-ish summary of the songs that, for me personally, particularly stood out. 

SUPER SINGLES

Ruf Dug X Private Joy – Don`t Give In

Ruf Dug X Private Joy

Both the soul and reggae mixes of this are essential. As a package it`s pretty much perfect – strong music, lyrics and vocals. 

A Mountain Of One – Star

A Mountain Of One Stars Planets Dust Me

The album, Stars Planets Dust Me, will no doubt feature in a lot of 2022 top 10s. This is beautiful. My favourite track on it. 

Gold Suite – On My Horizon

Gold Suite - On My Horizon

Marvelous Morricone-esque strummed spaghetti western drama for the dance-floor. 

No Zu – Liquid Love

NO ZU - HEAT BEAT

No Zu return, following singer Daphne Camf`s tragic passing with arguably their finest release to date. The E.P. coincided with a string of successful live shows. It`s great to have them back.

Parkway Rhythm – Be Yourself

Parkway Rhythm Be Yourself copy

Mark Seven continued to, seemingly effortlessly, pump positivity and keep the original US house vibe alive. 

The Maghreban & Omar – Waiting

The Maghreban Waiting

The Maghreban went retro on a collaboration with soul legend Omar Lye-Fook that channeled the early London house sound of L.E. Bass, May`s Love Me Baby, and Warriors Dance. 

Mutabaruka, I Rainy & Simbad – Catch Loot Steal

Mutabaruka I Rainy Simbad - Catch Loot Steal

From soul legends to reggae legends, and righteous Rasta poet, Mutabaruka, who voiced three increasingly dubbed out dance-floor attacks on the corrupt corporate stripping of Africa, for on Manchester’s equally legendary Rainy City.   

Kota Motomura – Paradise

Kota Motomura Pay It Forward

Tokyo`s Kota Motomura impressed with his debut long-player, Pay It Forward, released by Edinburgh`s Hobbes Music. The varied collection`s uptempo numbers drew comparisons to Talking Heads and Dinosaur L, not least for guest, Akihiro Iwamoto`s white knuckle funk guitar. 

More Amore – Nightshift

More Amour art

Arthur “Artwork” Smith and John Solo launched their Hi Quality Records Inc. imprint with two tracks of dynamite disco meets house, both featuring stratospheric keys from Mr. Solo in their second half. 

Unknown Genre – Elevator Ride

Unknown Genre Elevator Ride

Andy “Emperor Machine” Meecham teamed up wth Sean “Hardway Bros” Johnston for an excellent E.P. of H.P. Lovecraft-referencing bump and grind on Other Goodness. The trance-y title track combined kosmische and old school Chicago jack. 

CRACKING COVERS

Athletes Of God – Don’t Wanna Be Normal

Athletes Of God

This one made me cry – as it had me reliving the moment when I finally quit being pushed around. I actually posted these memories on the blog, and then a day or so later deleted them. Figuring that it might be a bit heavy for a record review, and probably wouldn’t help boost their sales. This is an anthem. Vinyl next year, please. 

Stella – Pourquoi

STELLA - DETENDS TOI

A brilliant version of the Chic / Carly Simon classic. Possibly the cheesiest moment – which isn’t really cheesy, more cute – from a fantastic, flawless E.P. 

Cruisic – Pacific 707

Cruisic Pacific

Talking of cheese, I guess this one divided audiences – I’m sure because the 808 State original SO defines such a special time – but once you surrendered to the 4 Beat Club Version`s summery jazz swing, you couldn’t help but smile at its sheer cheek and joie de vie. 

Coyote – Baka

COYOTE BAKA

Nottingham`s original Balearic Beat veterans pay tribute to a massive Mancunian classic. Revamping Jon Dasilva`s Hacienda floor-filling New Fast Automatic Daffodils remix for 2022. 

REMARKABLE REMIXES

Cantoma – To The Sea (Pippi & Willie`s Mix)

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

This sounds simply amazing on a big system. The last time I DJed the club was fairly empty, but this brought everyone out of their corners and up to the decks. I sent Phil a photo, and, again, pleaded for a vinyl pressing. 

Gaoule Mizik – A Ka Titine (Kay Suzuki Dub)

Gaoulé Mizik - A Ka Titine

One of those tracks that will go on to be a classic. I hardly went out in 2022, but I hope wherever I wasn’t someone was hammering this. 

Bottin – Lunedì Cinema (Leo Mas & Fabrice Dub)

Lunedì_Cinema_FRONT

Guglielmo Bottin and Lucio Dalla’s early 2000s remake of Lucio’s much-loved, Lunedi Cinema gets an ace acidic, ambient house overhaul by fellow Italian legends, Leo Mas & Fabrice. 

The Vendetta Suite – Warehouse Rock (Timmy Stewart Remix)

The Vendetta Suite - The Kempe Stone Portal Remixes

This E.P. of remixes brought together 3 veterans of Belfast`s house / techno scene. David Holmes and Timmy Stewart both stepping up to remix tracks from their old friend Gary Irwin’s album, The Kempe Stone Portal. I loved David’s mix, but Timmy’s was the more Balearic – wrapping Warehouse Rock in birdsong and disco strings. 

David Holmes – Its Over… (Hardway Bros Remix) 

David Holmes - if We Run Out Of Love

David Holmes and Sean Johnston both had stellar studio years, with a long, long list of lush productions and remixes between them. Mr. Holmes, in particular, pushed a pissed off but positive political message to the fore. I also loved Hope Is The Last Thing To Die – so much so that I bought the T-shirt. 

Lady Blackbird – Lost & Looking (Cosmo`s Mix)

LADY BLACKBIRD : LOST AND LOOKING (COSMODELICA REMIX) : FOUNDATION MUSIC

Borrowing bits and pieces from a few Loft favourites – and who’s more in the know than Cosmo – this in my opinion is the best dance-floor rework of of the dynamite Lady Blackbird to date. 

Hear & Now X Chris Coco – For U (Davin Varda`s Trainwreck)

HEAR & NOW X CHRIS COCO - FOR YOU

A genius combination / collision of `80s and `90s Balearic Beats. I’m gonna keep an eye out for Darvin from now on. 

ROCKING RE-EDITS

Black Bones – Duca Bianco

BLACK BONES DUCA BIANCO

Timmy Stewart again, as part of Belfast’s Black Bones, created a quartet of “alternative” edit, all post-punk and edgy in tone. The E.P. felt like a new wave breath of fresh air. 

Everything – Jesus Train

Mind Fair Everything

A 12” from a pack of prestigious party-throwers, who I guess would like to remain anonymous, though the tag-line for the release might be a bit of a give-away – Everything You’re About To Hear Is True. All the obscurities on offer boogied to a differing degree, but this cut of Cat Stevens-like gospel is the one for me. 

Robot 84 X Tama

Robot 84 Tama

Scott Ferguson and Andy Williams, aka Robot 84, take a Mory Kante vocal lift and make a Ye Ke Ye Ke for 2022 and beyond’s dance-floors.

Marc Roberts – UNO

Moton Marc Roberts 1

To be honest, I’m not such a collector of edits. I understand their importance and essential function but the obsessive “historian” in me is usually more into finding the OGs. However, Marc Roberts transforms this John Martyn song from an understated LP track into a quality, chugging, feel-good groove. It`s better than the original in my book.

RIGHTEOUS REISSUES

East West – Can`t Face The Night

East West - Can't Face The Night - Emotional Rescue

A shot of super sitar-laced `80s Indipop, revived by Emotional Rescue, as the label celebrated a decade of doing the do. 

Fila Brazillia – Mermaids

Fila Brazillia - Mermaids

Steve Cobby and David McSherry, who, as Fila Brazillia, hold a place in everyone’s hearts, had their 1991 debut, Mermaids, reissued by Running Back. A sublime slice of “paradise” house whose Eden was not the Mediterranean and Adriatic but The Humber and River Hull. 

Adelle – Don`t Give Up (Dub Mix)

Adelle First - Don't Give Up

I’ve got a couple of South African smashes to close. It`s the Dub Mix of Adelle’s Don`t Give Up that shines. A soaring sax dominating this mid-80s, mid-tempo, mover, made available again by the mighty Kalita. 

Small – Make My Life

Small - Don't Leave Me In The Rain

Small’s early `90s LP, Don’t Leave Me In The Rain album – reheated this year by Warm – mixed gospel and house, with such a spirit-lifting positive punch that I compared it to legends like Peter Black, Blaze, and Joe Smooth.  

A huge, huge “Thank you!” to everyone who shared music with us!

Track-list 

Ruf Dug X Private Joy – Don`t Give In

Good Block – Flute Dub

Everything – Jesus Train

Athletes Of God – Don’t Wanna Be Normal

Stella – Pourquoi

Marc Roberts – UNO

A Mountain Of One – Star

Cruisic – Pacific 707

Cantoma – To The Sea (Pippi & Willie`s Mix)

Adelle – Don`t Give Up (Dub Mix)

Gold Suite – On My Horizon

Gaoule Mizik – A Ka Titine (Kay Suzuki Dub)

Bottin – Lunedì Cinema (Leo Mas & Fabrice Dub)

The Vendetta Suite – Warehouse Rock (Timmy Stewart Remix)

Coyote – Baka

Small – Make My Life

No Zu – Liquid Love

Parkway Rhythm – Be Yourself

The Maghreban & Omar – Waiting

David Holmes – Its Over… (Hardway Bros Remix)

Fila Brazillia – Mermaids

Lady Blackbird – Lost & Looking (Cosmo`s Mix)

Mutabaruka, I Rainy & Simbad – Catch Loot Steal

East West – Can`t Face The Night

Hear & Now X Chris Coco – For U (Davin Varda`s Trainwreck)

More Amore – Nightshift

Unknown Genre – Elevator Ride

Good Block – Naiad

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