Paul Valery At The Disco (Prins Thomas remix) (11:40)
Ou Pas (Carrot Green remix) (6:16)
Farmarama (A Man Called Adam Too Much dub) (10:54)
Review: While A Man Called Adam's recent "Farmarama" album did contain a few dancefloor-centric cuts, it was more geared towards sofa-bound listening rather than club play. Hence this tidy EP, which offers up a trio of dancefloor-focused revisions for Balearic-minded DJs. For us, the standout is undoubtedly Carrot Green's inventive revision of "Ou Pas", which re-casts the cut as a dubbed-out, acid-powered psychedelic house trip. That said, many will enjoy Prins Thomas' jazzy and surprisingly trippy take on "Paul Valery At The Disco", which contains tons of new Latin-tinged live percussion and a suitably wonky cosmic disco vibe. If that lot's not enough to set the pulse racing, A Man Called Adam's own "Too Much Dub" of "Farmarama" strikes just the right balance between chunky, bass-heavy rhythms and melodic dreaminess.
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: Faze Action last teamed up with Zeke Manyika, formerly of 80s funksters Orange Juice, for the effervescent "Mangwana" back in 2016. Now they're back in collaboration for more classically rooted house music with a deeply infectious African twist. "Kubatana" is punchy where it counts, but it's a light and springy proto house burner first and foremost, with Manyika's vocal sounding as smooth as silk in the middle of the mix. "Hapana" is equally rich in musicality and personality, albeit on a more simmering, meditative tip. On the B side, "Kubatana" gets reworked by Rudy Midnight Machine and Paradise, who turn in distinct versions without losing the overall 80s aesthetic that powers the release.
Review: Claremont 56 founder Paul "Mudd" Murphy has a thing for studio supergroups. New project Hillside follows in the footsteps of Bison (who once counted Holger Czukay, Ursula Kloss and Sal Principato amongst their members) and Paqua. Their debut single is closer in tone to the latter than the former, with opener "Hidden Port" offering a deliciously languid, wide-eyed fusion of eyes-closed jazz-rock guitar solos, unfurling kosmiche keyboards, bobbing Latin rhythms and an electric violin solo from a musician renowned for his work with British folk legend Bert Jansch. You'll find more electric violin on the wilder and more up-tempo flipside "The Kings Tun", where distinctive fiddle solos rise above jangling acoustic guitars, warm bass and spacey keyboard flourishes. Anyone fancy a cosmic hoedown?
Review: Julien Jabre's Elias Productions returns with this sterling new package from the esteemed French producer. "Samana EP" kicks off with the Levant mix of the title track, which is a bombastic peak time cut loaded with emotional tension and release thanks to a powerful lead that reaches skywards like the crescendo of an unforgettable open air set. "Far At Sea" is a change of tempo that locks into a low slung groove without sacrificing the bold compositional surges that typify Jabre's approach in the studio. Lazare Hoche come on board to deliver an edit of "Samana" that nudges the wild peaks and valleys of the original towards a more steadfast, streamlined dancefloor workout.
Review: Beyond Paradise's latest release comes courtesy of fellow Leeds resident Mark Crossley, a psychedelia-loving musician and producer who now records as The Local Beatnik. As you'd perhaps expect, there's a suitably hallucinatory feel to much of the music on the "Kirkstall Delight EP". Check first the Plantlife-do-mushrooms flex of opener "Mountain Walk", where Crossley's effects-laden vocals rise above sparse, loose-limbed drums, squelchy synth bass and meandering synthesizer lines - before acquainting yourself with the Turkish psych-funk and kosmiche influenced shuffle of "Eskase". Crossley reaches for the Sitars, tablas and slo-mo beats on "Travel", while "Eastern Dish" is a non-stop hum of backwards guitars, Ravi Shankar-esque sitars, dense beats and a sharp dancefloor sensibility.
Review: It's rare to see Detroit stalwart Marcellus Pittman releasing a seven-inch single, but then he has stated that his latest excursion is "genre free". While that's not strictly true, it's certainly a pleasing diversion from his usual beatdown influenced deep house fare. A-side "Fruits And Vegetable Groove" is a chunk of hip-hop style MPC beat science, with Pittman expertly cutting-up drowsy samples, skewed beats and tipsy, mind-altering chords to create a suitably blunted, left-of-centre soundscape. "Love 4 My Kinfolk" is similarly laidback and groovy, with gentle instrumentation and fuzzy jazz-funk samples rising above a dusty, head-nodding groove.
Review: First released in 1987, Stephane Severac's sun-kissed European pop gem "Hold On" has long been regarded as something of an under-appreciated classic by those DJs of a Balearic persuasion. This new edition replicates the track listing of the original 12", opening with the evocative extended version. This builds in stages, opening with Chic inspired guitars and dreamy synth chords before introducing a poolside-friendly groove, snaking saxophone solos and Severac's heavily accented vocal. Over on side B you'll find the shorter "Single Version" - less sax, but just as much eyes-closed vocal action from Severac - and "Dreams", a bonus cut that sounds like his take on Duran Duran's mid-'80s big studio synth-pop sound.
Review: The mysterious Shelved Recordings imprint is not your average re-edit label, with the producer behind the series (sometime Ruf Kutz and Magic Wand contributor Andi Hanley) focusing not on disco, but rather the more Balearic side of 1980s pop. The label's second outing - which is being released in two parts - begins with a hazy, sun-kissed version of what sounds like a little-known Japanese Balearic-pop masterpiece, where dewy-eyed female vocals rise above a slo-mo groove, marimba style synthesizer motifs and twinkling pianos. Over on side B, "All Night Long" is a suitably chugging, spaced-out take on Godley & Creme's quirky 1981 classic "Babies", while "What?" is a hypnotic, largely instrumental interpretation of The Who's "Eminence Front" that wisely emphasizes the original's most atmospheric elements.
Review: Longstanding house peer Watson comes correct with this breathtaking outing on Joe Claussell's Sacred Rhythm. Taking off where he left us on his own Everysoul Audio last year, it's another lavish, unhurried and timeless composition that tips nods to all eras with its velvet pads and Julien Jabre style pianos. The words 'Epic Intro mix' say it all, as does the 13 minute length; Watson's timing ahead of the summer couldn't be better. Daydreamy, liquid in its development and soulful to the very core... If you're playing so much as one al fresco event this season - even your nan's BBQ - you need to pack this.
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.
Review: Archeo trumps once again with a stunning reissue of Riccardo Giagni's highly desirable 1988 masterpiece "Kaunis Maa". It's a subtle, refined body of work that places Giagni's delicate guitar refrains front and centre, with a hazy mist of atmospheric synth pads drifting in the middle distance. The title track is especially sublime, folding dreamy exotica tones into the pastoral sound palette with stunning results. Alongside the six original pieces, Archeo have also commissioned a special, Balearically charged remix from Claremont 56 artist Simon Peter
Review: Archeo trumps once again with a stunning reissue of Riccardo Giagni's highly desirable 1988 masterpiece "Kaunis Maa". It's a subtle, refined body of work that places Giagni's delicate guitar refrains front and centre, with a hazy mist of atmospheric synth pads drifting in the middle distance. The title track is especially sublime, folding dreamy exotica tones into the pastoral sound palette with stunning results. Alongside the six original pieces, Archeo have also commissioned a special, Balearically charged remix from Claremont 56 artist Simon Peter.
Review: Since emerging in the late 1990s, Swedish singer/songwriter Jay-Jay Johanson has carved a niche as a purveyor of beguiling, jazzy and occasionally surprisingly dark music. "Kings Cross", his 14th studio set, is an altogether warmer and more softly spun affair. Of course, his distinctively low key but emotion-rich vocal delivery remains the same, it's just the music beneath that has been given a bit of a remix. You'll find a gaggle of lusciously orchestrated, Sebastien Tellier style cuts, a handful of dusty downtempo groovers, some gentle folk-rock songs and even a small selection of nu-jazz numbers. The result is an album whose slow motion ethos and subtle beauty is surprisingly alluring.
Review: On its initial release in 1994, St Etienne member Bob Stanley described "Tiger Bay" - the band's third studio set - as "an album of modern folk songs done in 20th century styles". It was, though, much more than that; while opener "Urban Clearway" sounds like Kraftwerk, "Hug My Soul" and "Like a Motorway" akin to the Pet Shop Boys and "Cool Kids Of Death" reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder, the rest of the album is far more pastoral in tone, with luscious instrumentation and traditional folk melodies coming to the fore. As this expansive 25th anniversary reissue proves, the album remains a timeless classic. As well as the original album, this box set contains a wealth of bonus tracks, demos and "work in progress" cuts that shine further light on the album's gestation.