Super selections & Wonderful words by Balearic Mike.
Happy International Women’s Day!!!
Adrian Sherwood Presents: Dub No Frontiers – OnU Sound Records / Real World Records 2023
This incredible record, showcasing the talents of 10 incredible women, has just come into my possession, and it felt like a good day to tell you all about it.
The concept was devised by Adrian Sherwood and Lincoln ‘Style’ Scott. Having worked with many women singers all around the world, they’d become aware that often these singers felt that the dub / reggae world was a very male-dominated area, and as such was often an intimidating place to work. Inspired by these women’s experience, Adrian and Style conceived this album, where they invited the female artists to perform a song of their choice, all in non-English, over some On-U Sound rhythm tracks. The result is this wonderful record, featuring 10 artists singing in 10 different languages, including Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Hindi, Yoruba, Polish, Russian, and Romani. The entire thing is completely beautiful, which makes it hard to highlight any particular favourites, but hey, I’ll try.
Neyssatou covers Bob Marley’s War in Arabic, which is absolutely wonderful, while Rita Morar sings Meri Awaaaz Suno (Hear My Voice) in Hindi over the Sacred Ground Rhythm, which is also incredibly beautiful. But trust me this entire album is all killer – no filler, and it’s also gorgeously put together, with a series of stunning paintings of iconic and heroic women on the cover, inner sleeve, and booklet – all by artist Peter Harris. The cover is a portrait of Black Panther Afeni Shakur – 2Pac’s mum – who organised food and education programmes in her local community, despite the infiltration of undercover FBI agents who tried to entrap her and coerce her into committing terrorist acts. Sadly Style passed away before the project was completed, and the album is dedicated to his memory and that of Ari Up from The Slits.
This is already an early contender for record of the year…
Payfone & Kyd Nereida – I Feel You – Leng Recordings 2023
Wow! Just Wow! I’m a fan of the label, the artist, and the remixer (and he’s a mate an’all!), but please do not let the idea that there is any nepotism involved in the above statement enter your thoughts, because this track is a stone-cold killer!
Leng is the sister label to the Balearic behemoth that is Claremont 56, and I’m a huge fan of both imprint’s output. Paul “Mudd” Murphy is a great producer and remixer, and a dear friend. I’ve been a fan of Payfone since they released the excellent Paradise on New York’s Golf Channel Recordings almost a decade ago. Last year Payfone released one of the very few dance 12”s that I bought, the weirdly wonderful electro funk of Put Your Face Away, which I thought was superb. When I got an email from Leng saying they had something upcoming I was intrigued, but I wasn’t expecting this.
What we have here is quite literally a future Balearic classic, which will be in DJ sets for years, or decades, to come. It’s a gorgeous, sexy, hauntingly beautiful song, warped into just over 7 minutes of seductive, slo-mo, cosmic disco of the finest quality. It is absolutely on a par with such classics as Claudia Barry’s Love For The Sake Of Love, Sharon Bailey’s Cosmic Dust, Clive Stevens & Brainchild’s Mystery Man, and a slew of similarly essential tracks which are now cherished staples of our little global Balearic / disco community.
I Feel You is beautifully produced, quite minimal in its presentation, which gives the gorgeous, seductive vocal from newcomer – to me at least – Dominican-Republic born vocalist Kyd Nereida, room to breathe. Mudd’s remixes are reassuringly close to the original, with just minor tweaks and the addition of a beautiful keyboard solo from Michele Chiavarini. I love this record! You will too!
While we’re talking about Leng, here’s a total banger on the label from a couple of years ago…
The Emperor Machine & Severine Mouletin – Dance Par Amour – Leng Records 2021
This is an absolute dancefloor beast of a track, which, since it was released around the end of 2021, when we were all in various stages of COVID Tiers (tears!?), or about to go back into a total lockdown, I’m guessing not that many people actually got a chance to dance it. Which is a bloody shame, as this is a fabulous dance record.
Andy Meecham obviously needs no introduction. From Bizarre Inc., through Chicken Lips, and now under his Emperor Machine moniker, he’s been making excellent music from his bunker in deepest, darkest Stoke-On-Trent for the best part of 3 decades now. He’s also a lovely chap, who we had a most excellent time with at Electric Elephant in Croatia a few years ago
Andy’s stuff as Emperor Machine is always interesting, but this is excellent. A propulsive house-meets-Italo-Disco-meets-electro-boogie workout of the finest order. It’s got a great bassline, but its main hook is the gorgeous warm bubble-bath of synths that the track drowns you in. From big moist pads to dramatic stabs, to squelching, twittering, bleeps n’ bloops, this is an analogue hot-tub for you to swim around in. The gloriously weird vocals from Severine Mouletin then take the whole track to other level. Part English, part French, they lend a wonky, off-kilter, strangeness to the whole track, and are utterly wonderful.
“I am the groove of your life…”
A great sleeve too!
For more from Balearic Mike you can find him on both Facebook and Instagram – @balearicmike.
Mike has a Mixcloud page packed with magnificent, magical, music, and you can catch him live on 1BTN, from 12 noon until 2 (UK time) every 1st and 3rd Friday.
You can also check out the super silk screen prints of “Balearic Wife” over at @jo_lambert_print