Looking For The Balearic Beat / February 2023

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

Blavatsky & Tolley / Dancefloor Killer (Rude Audio Remix) / Nein Records

Phil “Blavatsky” Peskett and Jamie Tolley return, fresh from their tribute to Andrew Weatherall, Just A Disco. This time they rope in Rude Audio for a remix, who turn Dance Floor Killer into a cross between New Order, Chris & Cosey and Factory Floor. Demonstrating that there are more than 2 ways to jack, adding a little acid to the cocktail and a real heft, punch, to the kick.  

Blavatsky Dance Floor Killer

Crooked Man / Love & Resistance / Vicious Charm

Viscous Charm is a new label, launched close to the end of 2022, by Damian “Skint” Harris. The imprint’s latest release is a double-header where Sheffield’s Crooked Man once again proves that he can be pop without compromising his underground / leftfield credentials. Love & Resistance manufactures some modern 21st Century disco from masterfully modulated LFOs. Surrounding Carmen Squire’s soft, seductive, siren-like vocal with finger-clicks, and echo. The production is both hypnotic and packed with catchy hooks. While the rhythm is relentless, without resorting to cheesy breakdown, the vibe, rises and falls over nearly 10 minutes to create a post-peak big room blissed-out moment. 

Nemesis on the flip is a clanking and looped bit of bashment, blasted by bursts of rave bass, and similar in tone, and construction, to the huge hit that he had with Amy Douglas. It also reminds me of the super stuff that SWAG used to make. Twisted more sinister into something called Nemesister, the track comes on like a souped-up Chris & Cosey – slightly gothic synth-pop whose skipping beat, and military snares, also have a bit of a Jamdown bogle to them. 


Bernardino Femminielli / O Signe des Temps / Before I Die

Bernardino Femminieli cover

His press release describes Parisian musician, and Antinote alumni, Bernardino Femminielli, as an “Iconoclast”. While that might be overdoing it a tad, Bernardino’s bass-heavy take on Prince’s Sign Of The Times is terrific. His whispered French vocal recalling Max Berlin’s erotic “Serge Gainsbourg meets Massive Attack” masterpiece Elle et Moi, while the percussion has something of the Malcolm McLaren / Trevor Horn’s about it. IUEKE’s remix turns the bottom-end into a bellowing room-shaking vacuum, and loses the guitar shredding. Talking Drums open with an accapella intro, and initially dismantle the groove, teasing with only broken tastes of it. Beneath a symphonic string-line and melodic bleeps, mid-way through the gear kicks in and it gets its “drug chug” on. 

Ferrari / Subacqueo (Bell-Towers Remix) / Rollover Milano


Rollover Milano have a new E.P. out, focused on the talents of fellow Italian, Ferrari. The standout from the 4-track release, for me, comes in the form of a brilliant remix from Rohan Bell-Towers – where serene synths undercut a riot of breakneck bongos and fidgeting frequencies. Its forceful 4 / 4 and bad – meaning flipping good –  bass-line both rushing toward some rippling piano. Rohan building upon the classic `90s “paradise house” template © Don Carlos. The Don by the way had his essential 1994 triple pack, Aqua, reissued just before Christmas by Irma / Sound Of Calypso. 

Inner Glow / RK18 / Ruf Kutz

Australian producer, Inner Glow, has 3 tracks from his Deep Water Mixtape pressed onto vinyl, care of Ruf Dug’s Ruf Kutz. Party People is constructed around a marvelous monologue, reminiscing about disco’s golden age, The Paradise Garage, folks coming together, a harmonious nation united by a house groove. Full of fragments of familiar classics, percussion fills further punctate its stripped-back pumping. Call Me is filtered, phased, grainy and granular dub house. Its digital b-line being the major melodic element. Love Has No Age revolves around this repeated refrain until it finally emerges as a full, proper, song. The ghostly gospel vying with helium-pitched snippets, enveloped in a warm synthesized womb-like “wow”, while racing to an energetic electro rhythm and rattling high-hats. Despite its significant, serious, forward motion, the tune is actually a deep mediative, reflective, moment, which with the subtle insertion of a single spoken word sample suddenly becomes hugely uplifting. 

Inner Glow Ruf Kutz 12

The Last Poets / E Pluribus Unum / Dynamite Cuts

last poets chastisment

Originally released on the 1972 LP, Chastisment, care of Verve sub-imprint Blue Thumb, Malachi Trout’s Dynamite Cuts have pressed The Last PoetsE Pluribus Unum on a desirable 7. Over impassioned African percussion Jalaludin M. Nuriddin shares some reality, clarity, on how shit works. Although recorded over 50 fucking years ago all that’s changed is that rather than “vampire millionaires” it would now be billionaires or trillionaires. 

Martin Lefteri / Mount Nod / Smashing Plates

Martin Lefteri’s Mount Nod is `80s referencing electro-disco, harking after, and taking its cues from much-loved dance-floor landmarks such as Francois Kevorkian’s seminal remix of Yazoo’s Situation. Anatolian Weapons’ remix works as a more minimal dub. Setting proceedings marching and chugging, and introducing an evil acid house undertow. Bonus cut, Asakusa, adds guitar and echoed percussion. 

mount nod cover

Maghreban / M25 / Zoot Records

The mighty Maghreban collaborates with UK hip hop veteran King Kashmere on a mad, mad, cymbal-smashing new single. A dose of deftly deconstructed broken future funk, M25, all sinister synths and industrial clanking, inhabits a dark house / techno space somewhere between L.E. Bass’ Strive and Suburban Knights’ Art Of Stalking. 


Earl Natty / Fools Gold / Wonderfulsound

Earl Natty Fools Gold

A damn fine 45 from Earl Natty that’s only available if you sign up to Wonderfulsound’s super Singles Club, this was released a little while back digitally, but now has become something physical. A skanking ska cover of The Stones Roses’ seminal “Baggy / Madchester” hit, Fools Gold, it has a haunting melodica replace Ian Brown’s quality sulphate and Thai sticks tones, amidst funky Jackie Mittoo organ flashes, cartoon sound effects and an Apache-esque bongo break. 

Persian / Dubplate #3 / Mysticisms

Peter Riley aka Persian is the person behind Mysticisms Dubplate #3 – his second in the series. Smoke Mari binds roots reggae samples and soundclash sirens to a boisterous beat. Proudly praising the herb, it’s impossible to spin on Japanese radio. Zatoichi’s Troubles takes its title from Kan Shimozawa’s legendary blind swordsman – once played on the big screen by “Beat” Takeshi Kitano – and will be a real surprise for those familiar with Riley’s more rocking gear. A super sophisticated musical mist, a multilayered opium den dream, of Middle Eastern prayer and snatches of dialogue it recalls the downtempo work of folks such as The Rootsman, Suns Of Arqa, and the duo Blue, who recorded for Andrew Weatherall’s under-rated / appreciated Emissions Audio Output imprint. Stoned immaculate, horizontal and heavily sedated. Suffused with swirling smoke-like psychedelic keys. 

Persian Dubplate #3 - Smoke Dub

Revelation  / First Power (Domination Dub) / Missile Vintage

Revelation First Power

This is a top piece of trance-y house that was first released on New York label, Atmosphere Records, in 1990. An imprint run by Silvio Tancredi, Tommy Musto and Frankie Bones. The 12 was the work of Andre Estrada and Mundo Muzique, and has now been licensed to the UK’s Missile Records. In the UK, back in the day, it was probably played everywhere, and I’m pretty certain that it was rinsed by DJs Kevins Hurry and Swain at a party called The Raid, held at London’s Limelight nightclub, on Shaftsbury Avenue, because it kicked off some flashbacks when I listened to it again. In hindsight it’s perhaps one the tunes that helped give rise to “progressive”. It was also highly likely a sizable influence on another Raid resident, Paul Oakenfold. Just check out his Perfecto remix of U2’s Lemon. It’s trippy, but not cheesy, not dated, but classic. First Power, that is : )

Scientist  / Step It Up / Mysticisms

Mysticisms Dubplate #4 is a bit of a coup, licensed from the legendary Hopeton Overton “Scientist” Brown. The original cut is a `70s Bunny Lee / Aggrovators production, which has been remixed before, by both Blackstar Liner and Big Audio Dynamite’s Dan Donovan & Don “Rebel Dread” Letts. Here, however, Dusseldorf’s DJ Normal 4 and Aki Aki get their hands on it and deliver a militant Moody Boyz-esque makeover, mixing Nyabinghi rattle, and 303 fractals with ridiculous belching bass. 

Scientist Dubplate #4- Step It Up

STR4TA / Lazy Days (Ruf Dug Remix) / Brownswood Recordings 

Ruf Dug radically reworks STR4TA and, to my ears, appears to be channeling mid-90s Carl Craig. Taking inspiration from that point in time when C2 was commissioned for countless remixes, and the jazz in the end results was especially strong. In Ruffy’s re-imagining Emma-Jean Thackray’s vocal – heavenly harmonies and scat – plus her horn’s mellow muted fanfares, summon Mr. Craig’s recreations of Directions’ Busted Trees and Hugh Masekela’s The Boy’s Doin’ It. The dub in particular is super summery and sure to be massive at this year’s sunshine-filled morning and afternoon terrace, poolside, and festival sessions. 


Unloved / I Did It / Heavenly Recordings

I Did It is a single that preludes Unloved’s new mini-LP, Polychrome. Recorded during the sessions for their previous, Pink Album, it finds Jade Vincent’s defiant lip-curled drawl playing tag with trebly keys, these overlapping oscillations, crazy cosmic Joe Meek-esque crescendos, over a heavily reverb-ed `50s / `60s rock `n` roll Burundi beat. While those drums are totally diverting, an instrumental mix reveals the track’s true electronic nature, and a nod, perhaps to Pierre Henry & Michel Colombier. Like a meeting of The Strangeloves and Ram & Sel, it’s very much the kind of 45 that Malcom McLaren might have stacked in the SEX jukebox. There’s also a bonus manhandling from Manfredas. Even more echoed, it’s a densely layered deconstruction. A seriously psychedelic serration, that dances into deep, hypnotic shamanic drum circle territory. Rattling and clanking with an industrial edge, before mid-way through its 13-minute journey, bursting into song, and reducing the rhythm to just a brushed snare. Most definitely macro, not micro, dosed. Stay tuned for a full review of the new album. 

Unloved I DID IT_230116_BW02

Mix and track-list to follow….

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