Review: The Iceland-born, Norway-based producer, B. G. Baarregaard, channels the great tradition of Scandinavian electronic disco on this delectable four-tracker, maintaining a crisp and funky edge to his productions while making sure every inch of the wax is dripping with old-skool warmth. "Tokyo 1988" stands out with its perfect lashings of boogie rubbed into the joints, while "Kick The Burger" slows things right down for a cool and deadly cruise through electro funk of the highest order.
Review: It's been a while since we last heard from Jan Schulte and Diskoking Burnhart McKoolski's Bufiman project - two years, in fact. After previously plying their wares on Verein Freir Menschen und Musik, the eccentric Balearic/disco duo have been snapped up by Gilb'r's Versatile imprint. "Running (The Chase)" is something of a killer - a driving chunk of clavinet-laden disco fuelled by a seriously heavy post-punk/dub disco bassline. "Kavalier" is deeper and spookier, with new age synth melodies riding a loose, Afro-influenced groove. The slower "Bonobobeat", meanwhile, is a low-slung delight, with snaking synthesizer lines wrapping themselves around dense, head-nodding disco percussion.
Review: Bonnie & Klein can often be found cruising round labels like Music For Dreams and Leng, imparting tender touches of Balearic finery for those who like to cruise on the slinkiest of 80s flavoured jams. They're on cracking form for this return to Uber, kicking off with the sultry "Tones Of Ballad", which gets a subtle beefing up from Drifts Projects on the remix. "Pretty Lake" is the cut for those who want to achieve pure transcendental bliss by way of canned slap bass and sustained chords, and then "Snowdrifts" finishes the EP off with a thoughtful piece shaped out by sweet piano and stirring strings.
Review: While floors still burn from "Mapping" on Cin Cin earlier this year, "I Can Still See You" sees Gacha return to his more ambient, introspective and eclectic pastures on this extensive show-stopping, sense-blurring five track EP. "River" glistens with gentle ebbs and flows, "Saysea" insists with a lush jazzy break while "Reflection" trembles with just the right tech tendencies without getting too heavy for itself. Elsewhere "Through The Glass" is a straight cinematic trip back to the world he forecast in Two Sunsets while "Advice" closes with a moment of broken beat poetry. As long as Gacha Bakradze can see us, we can hear him. This has to be a good thing.
Shadows From Nowhere (Danilo Braca ReVision) (9:04)
Review: In the previous reissues we talked so much about this fantastic piece and "Marie", a very cinematic and supportive song, that now it is appropriate to dwell on the re-visited version of Danilo Braca that extends beautifully on the AA side of this new remastered reprint. Danilo who lives in the big apple often frequents Ibiza, perhaps also for this he has been able to exalt the most rhythmic elements of "Shadows from Nowhere", putting the beautiful falsetto beats to excessive movements, just like the waves that wash themselves on the sandy beaches of the White Island. His teacher Mario Gentili from Layer Bows added a beautiful arrangement for the strings and his Italian-New York collaborator Alvise Marino spread some fragments of guitar powder on top. That's it. 9 minutes of pure bliss, but also of catchy rhythm!
Review: Boom! Finally another reissue of Boards Of Canada's seminal Hi Scores LP from 1996! Along with the likes of Aphex Twin, LFO and Squarepusher, these guys have helped to define how we see electronic music today and this particular LP is arguably their most complete when it comes to the dancefloor. The title track is a twisted, floaty bindle of breaks and beats, but it doesn't end there. Tracks like "Nlogax" are inherently Detroitian in nature thanks to the bleepy drum machines inside, and all we can say is that if you haven't laid hands on this album yet, you shouldn't miss the opportunity to cop it now. It's still so relevant and contemporary, it hurts.
Review: It was Memorial Day Weekend 2016, and the sun shined bright over the Detroit River. Pontchartrain stepped up to the decks at the Red Bull stage at Movement Electronic Music Festival donning his infamous "Detroit vs. Itself" t-shirt. His first song through the Rane rotary mixer was a dubplate made specifically for his set: "Afterlife". It's a brilliantly executed balearic daytime disco rework that warrants the praise of summer anthem that it's earning. On the flip is "Pool", an equally sunny slomo beatdown rework from Blair French. It's a delightful blend of cerebral and soulful, and is finally getting a release after being originally championed by Peter Croce on his Le Mellotron Paris set back in early 2018.
Review: Despite not releasing all that much in 2018, Canadian nu-jazz combo BADBADNOTGOOD's reputation continued to rise. That was in no small part due to their eye-catching collaboration with Little Dragon, which resulted in the digital release of "Tried" back in September. Now the track has been given a deserved seven-inch single release by Ninja Tune. With LD lead vocalist Yukimi Nagano doing her best to channel the spirit of Minnie Riperton, "Tried" has a similarly languid, jazz/folk/soul fusion feel as some of the best works by Rotary Connection. BADBADNOTGOOD's admiration of the Charles Stepney-produced band comes through loud and clear through the choice of instruments and arrangements. For further proof, check the accompanying flipside instrumental mix.
Review: New York's Quinn Luke aka Bing Ji Ling is always up to some crazy shit. Whether it's far-out strains of exotica, electronic folk, or even some straight-up hill-billie funk, the nomadic artist is always one to look out for. He's up on Spain's excellent Lovemonk label, perennial leaders in leftfield disco and balearica, with the raunchy, funk-tastic guitar riffs of "Twilight", a tune that is so cool and laid-back it could be enjoyed by pretty much all walks of life. There's three version, though, all by Jose Manuel; the main remix drops in a house beat and something of a Latino sound, the dub goes deeper into the bass elements of the mix, and the Voyage Voyage mix takes the listener on a more daring journey, backed by a progressive edge. We love it.
Rawmance - "Mondonotte, La Mattina Dopo" (Security re-drums) (3:30)
Review: La Beaute Du Negatif's fourth multi-artist EP arrives with little fanfare or fuss. Instead, the Rome-based label has decided to simply offer-up the EP and let us come to our own conclusions. For what it's worth, ours is that it's well worth checking - especially Monomorph's blissful, acid-flecked IDM opener "Rystal", which previously appeared on a hard-to-find CD way back in 1996. There are plenty of highlights elsewhere across the EP, though. Head first for the sparse, spacey cheeriness of Brainwaltzera's "Phos Harbinger", before getting your ears around the ambient jungle-techno brilliance of "Opener" by The Jaffa Kid. This is followed on side B by the shuffling, sun-kissed downtempo grooves of SSIEGE's "Sogno In BB" and a drowsy, mind-altering chunk of late 90s Warp Records style electronica by Rawmance.
Review: IIB next release comes from French duo Baptiste & Pierre. 2 tracks of warm tropical goodness. Virage is a deep mellow afro tinged tropical workout. Muted guitar hook and nature sounds conjuring up far flung deserted beaches. Ruf dug beefs it up a touch and moves it indoors giving it a more afterhours feel. The second track has the same evocative feel as Virage with added atmospheric pads and a bouncy melody. Like a closing track on an 80's road movie. Full of emotion. Italian maestro Deep 88 creates a truly authentic slice of early ninetoes deep dreamy house. Perfectly wrapping the original in warm analogue drums. Another quality release from IIB.
Review: International Feel main man Mark Barrott has been unfeasibly productive in the last couple of years, releasing a string of fine mini-albums, and 12" singles, which touch on a variety of styles. This latest outing is every bit as magical as some of those excursions, with A-side "Cascades" offering a life-affirming blend of undulating, Tangerine Dream style synthesizers, soft touch, D.K style beat patterns, and breathlessly sun-kissed atmospherics. It's ambient, kids, but not as you know it. The Ibiza-based producer moves further towards Jose Padilla territory on the hot and humid, tropical-tinged flipside "Tagomago", whose combination of live instrumentation and blissful electronics is near perfect.
Review: Said to have been created after a long period of writer's block, Mark Barrott wrote much of Sketches From A Distant Ocean when he returned to his former home of Uruguay for the first time in a long while. The long break is said to have taught him about the value of self-expression and connection, and he returned to work with an invigorated enthusiasm. This has certainly paid off, as Sketches From A Distant Ocean shines through musically. Our picks are the sun kissed balearica of "Galileo", bossa nova-inflected island dreams of "Low Lying Fruit" and the evocative trip-hop journey of "The Rowing Song", which calls to mind his earlier output from the '90s as Future Loop Foundation.
Review: Emotional Response do a great service here to all lovers of braindance craving new fixes since Rephlex shut up shop. Brainwaltzera's debut EP Marzipan was a self-released concern that sold out quickly back in 2016, meeting with emotionally charged responses from those wanting to nab a copy. Now it's more widely available, the gorgeous lilt of bubbling 101 melodies and delicate drum machine patterns can spread their wings and bring some healing vibes to a broader audience of electronica devotees. Coming on with the sensitivity of Wisp and other contemporary braindancers, this is how comforting home listening beats should be done.
Better Man (Craig Bratley instrumental remix) (4:44)
Review: Here's a question for you: What happens when you take a track by a British power trio heavily influenced by blues and psychedelia, and get a master of wayward, left-of-centre Balearica to remix it? You get the latest 12" missive from Claremont 56, which sees Bella Figura's "Better Man" reworked twice in impressive fashion by Magic Feet boss Craig Bratley. If you are familiar with Bratley's output for s It Balearic, Bird Scarer and Tsuba, you know the man breathes cosmic goodness and his work on Bella Figura's track offers a subtle new version that loses none of Justin Gartry's bluesy poignancy whilst adding a sparsely treated beat and plenty of low lying studio trickery.
Review: Blue Feather were a truly blue-eyed funk outfit from the Netherlands who had a prolific run in the 80s with two albums and a string of club singles to their name. "Let's Funk Tonight" was surely one of their bigger hits, and it sounds resplendent with a fresh master and the full extended version spread out across the A side here. Offering something new for the modern market, Best call upon Faze Action to flesh out this reissue with a killer dub of the track that treads softly but funks deep, just like a good dub should.
Turn Me Loose/My Design (extended version) (13:58)
Turn Me Loose (Sirs cut) (10:32)
Review: Best Records present another deep cover jam Balearic diggers will rejoice at being able to lay their hands on. Blue Night was the brainchild of Peter Miconi, who created "Turn Me Loose" in 1983. All the elements are present here, from the aching blue-eyed soul vocals to rich guitar solos and an irrepressible funk bedded down in the groove, here stretching out for a full 14 minutes of pure sunkissed bliss. On the flip, SIRS takes a careful run at the original that simply reframes the elements with a more pronounced rhythm section - this is someone who knows exactly what the track needs and declines to change anything for the sake of it. Classy stuff, as you would expect from a reissue on Best Records.
Review: Tucked away in his Peak District hideaway, Jack Lever has been laying down sumptuous fusions of dusty ambience and lo-fi electronica for some time now. He first rose to prominence via a fine 12" on Apollo in 2013, before heading back to Derbyshire to self-release music from the archives on cassette and download. This return to wax is well worth a listen, if only for the drowsy, 6AM ambience of "Convair", which wraps shortwave radio crackle and yearning chord progressions around gentle acoustic guitars. "Torches" is a blissful and dusty outsider house shuffler, while lead cut "Roads" is a terrific, dancefloor-tempo trip-hop head-nodder rich in distorted guitars, cascading instrument solos and beefy dub disco bass.
Review: Deep and sensual balearica on offer here from The Balek Band, brought to you by Beauty & The Beat - the in-house music label of the 'freeform psychedelic dance party' hosted in various east London venues over the years by Cyril Cornet, Jeremy Gilbert & Cedric Woo since 2005. The Balek Band are a French outfit - the side project of Vidock (Abstrack), accompanied by Samuel Creach (bass) & Zeppo (percussion). Together they create soundtracks for your perfect island dream as heard on "Tometsi", the deep down polyrhythmic spiritual entrancement of "Diconiels" .....
Review: Belfast pair Bicep are smart operators. Having previously doffed a cap to both Italian house and classic New Jersey garage, recent releases have seen them play around with a variety of rhythmic patterns and more advanced musical elements. They're at it again here on their latest outing for Aus. Opener "Just" is pleasingly cheery, with simple but addictive electronic melodies and sweeping chords nestling above a head-nodding, hip-hop influenced groove. "Celeste" is undeniably Balearic, with sun-kissed pianos, dreamy pads and drifting vocal samples stretching out over delay-laden, African-influenced percussion. Finally, they return to their rush-inducing best on "Back 2 U (Tranz Dub)", a loving fusion of vintage progressive house builds, winding melodies and mid '90s beats.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Especial is delighted to welcome Baris to the roster. Known for his edit series of obscure Turkish Psychedelic, Rock and Disco, here he takes the producer's chair to present "200". Working with musicians and singers to create a completely original production. The song's message for equality (of the sexes) highlights the bigotry and backward political and religious boundaries his country faces and acts as a siren to the current troubles. Handed to Emotional Recordings over 5 years ago but with no label to release it at that time, now we are delighted to be able to release 200's message. The original is backed with remixed from new production duo Khidja, as well as East London's finest, The Asphodells. Teaming up with guitarist Balabas, Romania's Khidja turn in a deep and introspective interpretation mixing their own heavy eastern influences, while the B-side sees Weatherall and Fairplay don their Asphodells mantle for two renditions that firmly lay it before the ALFOS alter. With artwork (by Jamie Paton) highlighting the struggle for fairness and freedom in his homeland, we hope the release can be seen as a support for their tribulations and highlight the talent that lays East.
Review: When it comes to a reissue such as this it can't be understated just how arresting the work of Boards of Canada can be in the right situation. This EP, that came to light in between Music Has The Right To Children and Geogaddi, represents the enigmatic duo at their most powerful, channeling their energy into four long-form tracks that draw on all of their combined strengths. "Kid For Today" is haunting and dark but utterly heartbreaking, whilst "Amo Bishop Roden" heads into more mysterious territory. "In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country" is eerie in its titular invitation to join a cult, and "Zoetrope" tips its hat to Terry Riley et al in its looping phrases, but really there's no describing the magnificence of these gems, pleasingly reissued on vinyl to beat the Discogs chancers.
Review: Widely regarded as Boards of Canada's finest hour, Music Has The Right To Children finds itself the subject of a well-deserved 2LP gatefold reissue from Warp Records. One of the most defining records of what was known for better or worse as IDM still sounds as timeless as it did in 1998, as the library tones of "Wildlife Analysis", thick downtempo rhythms of "Roygbiv" and out of focus melodies of "Olson" prove. Essential!
Review: Warp's Boards of Canada reissue campaign reaches Geogaddi, perhaps the duo's most expansive (if not their most popular) record, presented here on a 3LP gatefold edition. Considerably darker than its predecessor Music Has The Right To Children, the claustrophobic sounds of "Gyroscope" and sampled spoken word in tracks like "Dandelion" and "Energy Warning" present a somewhat dystopian setting, filled with unsettling sounds, such as the light but eerie melodies of "Alpha & Omega" and "1969". Undoubtedly one deserving of reappraisal.
Review: One of the deepest reaching projects from the multifaceted Vibraphone stable resurfaces for an extended trip through ambient sonics that marks possibly the most daring departure on the esteemed Italian label to date. The harmonious tones undulating throughout Sketches From Space are instant soothers, taking the odd cue from techno but defiantly beatless and meditative. It's a surprising addition to the long and winding Vibraphone story, but also feels like one of the strongest steps forward the resurgent label has taken since returning to the fray. Just try sinking into "Lagrangian Point L4" and you'll see exactly what we mean.
The One O Ones - "Radio Cosmos 101" (Bals edit) (4:27)
Gemini - "Take A Chance" (4:34)
The Clean Hands Group - "Night Fly" (4:24)
The CVQ Band - "Whatever You Do" (instrumental) (4:38)
Miss - "Hip Hop" (3:06)
Metal Voices - "At The Banks Of The River" (3:44)
The Clean-Hands Group - "Shake It On" (4:03)
Gigi Flag - "Nymphomaniac" (instrumental) (5:58)
Eddy La Viny - "Havan' Hamac" (3:43)
Review: BeachFreaks Records co-founder Charles Bals is a man who knows about records - and obscure European ones at that. Club Meduse, his first compilation for Spacetalk (a label with a track record for producing these kinds of killer, crate-digging comps), is loosely designed as the soundtrack to life around a mythical (IE imaginary) Cote D'Azure resort. Musically, it gathers together the kind of hazy, soft-focus and life-affirming cuts that you would have heard at resort discos in the mid-to-late 1980s. Suffice to say that Bals' selections tend towards the rare, magical and undeniably Balearic, from the glassy-eyed, cascading jazz-funk of the Keyboys and loved-up post-boogie sweetness of Gemini's "Take a Chance", to the sparkling Euro-electro of Miss' "Hip Hop" and pitched-down drum machine chug of Gigi Flag's "Nymphomaniac (Instrumental)". Essential.