Looking For The Balearic Beat / March 2023

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

A Man Called Adam / Fight Or Flight / Other Records

Taking its inspiration from `90s deep and jazzy house, A Man Called Adam’s Fight Or Flight is a classy cut-up garage groove. A finely filter fancy, strongly reminiscent of Chez Damier & Ron Trent’s seminal Prescription Records output. Its thoroughly modern throbbing bottom-end, a blissed-out propulsive buzz, serenaded by snippets of strings and beautifully played, intricately looped, piano. Sally’s lyrics concerned with “Living for today”. Those cool keys calmly carrying you away from the stresses of the day. The perfect accompaniment to lines like “You’ve got the look of someone who’s been waiting too long for love”…. and marvelous Ms. Rodgers’ suggestion of ”So take my hand.”

A Man Called Adam : Fight Or Flight

Bruise / Cascade & Thunder / Foundation Music

On Cascade, Bruise once again doffs his production cap in the direction of Detroit don Terence Parker. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Taking cues from timeless tracks such as Love’s Got Me High. Complete with crowd / party chatter, which bubbles all through the mix. The other voices being Bruise’s now trademark soaring choir-like harmonies. Built around its climatic – titular – breakdown of almost classical keys, the song’s tiny snippets of cello, violin, and live Rhodes, start like a Cajual or Relief record before stretching out  into something symphonic. 


Thunder is a darker trip. Its bulldozing bass delivering powerful, precision, body blows, while stabs of dirty, distorted brass summon sinister cinematic spy themes. Flashes of flute and Art Of Noise-esque fragmented vocals softening the tune’s obsidian edges. 

Bruise Thunder

Everything You’re About To Hear Is True Vol. 2

These are 4 fresh editions from a respected UK sound system, who I’m assuming would prefer to remain anonymous. On this, their second 12, they welcome a new member to the family. Somebody equally famous, who, I’m guessing, would also like to keep their identity a secret. Two of the tracks bring an afro flavour. D`Afrique is a tropical groove that taps into the French-Caribbean floor-filling sound of Thomas Bangalter’s dad, Daniel Vangarde. Smashing stuff by folks such as La Cie Creole. Juxtaposing funky rhythm guitar and chanted vocals with jazzy keyboard solos and breakdowns. The brassy, mid-tempo boogie of Scarap Disco balances a fat squelchy bottom end with elegant electric keys. Holdin’, on the other hand, is a soulful sing-along, accompanied by slapped bass and blues-y axe outbursts, and is uber Balearic in its declaration of undying love. The closing World People is a post-Soul II Soul, loved-up Movement 98 moment. Rolling piano and spine-tingling synths backing some ecstatic rapture, set to an early `90s  pop shuffle / digital skank. 

Everything You're about to hear is true 2

Falk & Klou / UFO / Before I Die

Falk & Klou : UFO : Before I Die

Falk & Klou are the duo of Carl-Johan Fogelklou and Fredrik Falk. Their LP, Swedish Library Grooves Vol. 2, first sneaked out, self-released, in the summer of 2021. Picking up a vinyl pressing in 2022. The standout track, UFO, has now been signed for a single on Jason Boardman’s Before I Die. Fellow musical Mancunian Andi Hanley stepping in to provide a seamless 7-minute-plus spaced-out extension. 

A shot of squelchy, brassy – it features fanfares from both trumpet and flugelhorn – slo-mo Bootsy Collins-esque P-Funk, the song orbits somewhere between George Clinton’s mothership and the “outsider” soul of Starship Commander Woo. Think The Undisputed Truth meets Pierre Henry, Cecil Leuter, Bruno Spoerri, or Claude Vasori. Full of quirky little electronic details to capture enquiring open minds, it also makes room for a rollicking rock guitar solo before hitting a final fade and a blast of free-jazz skronk. 

Fire featuring Adrian Sherwood / Salgari Records

Fire, on Turin’s Salgari Records captures a pretty special performance. A five-man strong improvisation, dubbed live and direct by On-U Sound’s Adrian Sherwood. Around 50 minutes of dubplate pressure, recorded at the Torino Jazz Festival, in October 2020. The opening A Queda Do Céu is a sorta laid-back siesta. Recalling a previous project of Sherwood’s, the collaboration with veteran Cumbia band, Los Gaiteros De San Jacinto, which appeared a while back on Khaliphonic. Here, massed horns add an afrobeat flavour. The results also bringing to mind the mid-90s acid jazz / trip hop of Emperor’s New Clothes. Skankification is a dynamite dread rattle. Carried by melodica and crazy cowbell. The free sax on Sinnervisions runs a buzzing bass voodoo down. Sherwood throughout dashes the tracks with spring reverb thunder and lightning, and triggers an all-star cast of spoken word samples. William Burroughs, Andy Fairley, Timothy Leary, Prince Far I, and Einstein, all get a say. These punctuations, particularly the Rastas, sometimes a little Orb-like along the way. Hellfire preachers dance to flickering, frantic, echoed rhythm guitar, and the tempos, kicks, toward the close, touch on house, techno, and trance. Within this magnificent melting pot midi marimbas tumble. The breakdowns are full of Middle Eastern mystery.  

Fire Adrian Sherwood

The Maghregan / Running / Zoot Music

With no unnecessary frills, and stripped down to ultra-efficient simplicity, The Maghreban continues to turn out quality modern dance music. Tunes that acknowledge their roots, but update those influences with a definite 21st Century twist. Running is Ayman’s tribute to `90s techno. Constructed around racing snares, and 4 / 4, the rhythm recalls Derrick May’s futuristic Transmat relics, and / or old school Chicago jack spun at +8. A sustained emotive synth line undercutting the significant urgency, while a 303 gets increasingly nervous, and pizzicato keys mimic plucked strings themselves mimicking showers of falling rain. 


Tyler Pope / Jump In The Fire / Interference Pattern

Tyler Pope, guitarist with LCD Soundsystem, Hercules & Love Affair, and ex of !!!, currently runs the Interference Pattern label, out of Berlin. The imprint’s latest release is Tyler’s own Make Each Other Happy E.P. The standouts from which, for me, are the track Jump In The Fire, and its brilliant Dennis Bovell dub. Rattling along on party percussion and a boss punk-funk bass-line, with Tyler throwing around hypnotic highlife shapes, the original is like a meeting of Lagos’ King Sunny Ade and Manchester’s New Fast Automatic Daffodils. Industrial funkers Chakk with added JuJu. Earning a place alongside recognized Amnesia classics such as Vendetta Palace’s Pressure Time. Mr. Bovell then applies more reverb, more echo, more delay, and retunes the guitar into steel pan-like tones. Sets the syn-drums battling like rival spaceships. 


Underground System / Lookin In / Razor N Tape

Brooklyn’s Underground System have a couple of new tracks out on local label / institution, Razor-N-Tape. Both also receive rocking remixes. London’s ironically monikered Clive From Accounts (he tries to make out he has a passion for paperclips, when he’s actually one of the most consistently interesting new house producers around) tackles Lookin In. The original is a house / disco hybrid, featuring Clavinet keys, grungy funky guitar, and a nagging flickering, that sounds like a gated flute. Group horns providing an Fela Kuti-esque afrobeat hook. “Clive” strips the rhythm back to syncopated snares, loops and echoes, a little of the vocal, before unleashing a beast of a bass-line. Pulling the 6-string figures to the front of the mix, he very subtly smoothes the groove. While nothing, on the surface, seems to change – there are no cheesy breakdowns, or solos – there’s a definite irresistible dynamic that pulls you in. You don’t notice until you`re surrounded. 


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