Balearic . Yacht Rock . New Age . Downbeat


Genre pick of the week Cover of The Balearic Sound Of... by Mike Francis.
Hot new release from Sunkissed Recordings celebrating Italian synth pop hero Mike Francis aka Francesco Puccioni. Back in the 80s, Francis’ elegant electronic style and smooth rich vocals provided a perfect backdrop to nights dancing on the sand and in clubs throughout the Mediterranean and his popularity continues today amongst the Balearic cognoscenti. This EP features the fantastic in-demand Club Mix of ‘Features of Love’, a funky pop-soul opus washed with lush synths, lazy guitars and dreamy vocals plus the sought-after long 12” cut of ‘Survivor’, a gorgeous slice of blue-eyed soul with a strong dancefloor sensibility. Flip over for big Cosmic play, the magnificent 12” version of ‘Body Thrill’, a bass-heavy chunky instrumental with an Art Of Noise feel followed by Francis’s beautiful laid-back cover of the Bill Withers’ classic ‘Lovely Day’ and lastly the heavenly hypnotic ‘On and On’, a little-known gem from the B-side from a rare 12”. A great package!


Matt says: Mike Francis features on Kelvin and Mike's upcoming "Down To The Sea And Back Vol. 2" complilation, so the Balearic seal of authenticity is present an correct.

Downbeat Feat. F-On

Downbeat Black Label 03

3rd release of Downbeat black label, the sublabel of Downbeat. The owners of the label, Jose Rico, Urtzi and F-on present us two long slow motion tracks with field recordings, whirring melodies and voices from beyond the rave. Two dense experiments which show us the less kind side of Downbeat and continue along the path opened up by "Solaris". "Moskitos En Siberia" explores the barren sonic wastelands which Juju & Jordash are too scared to venture through. A thick haze of ghostly vocals, opiate-soaked percussion and eerie drones. "Smog" on the flip has sounds from a distant metal works clanging away while radiant pads open up and bursts of white noise give us an indication as the origin of the sound source. More ghostly artifacts sweep in and out of the mix indiscriminately while unfathomably subtle melodies drift in and out of focus as the track progresses. This is some really unique stuff, perfect for creating atmosphere in unusual spaces (I can personally imagine this sound tracking Neil Robbins' exhibitions in the old Olklahoma basement here in Manchester) but also great for long drawn out druggy after hours wind-downs, taking us deep inside outself through undeniable introspection and detail. Wonderful stuff.
Only 200 copies pressed.

London producers Jamie Blanco and Chris Stoker launched their Ess O Ess project with a sell out debut on the up-and-coming Love On The Rocks imprint. For their second release the duo traverse to Japan's refined Ene bringing their psychedelic swelter with them. "Re-Enter" summons you through the dense darkness of the jungle undergrowth into a moonlit hollow for a star strewn ritual soundtracked by brooding bass, chunky percussion and twinkling melody. A transcendant and immersive experience for the Adriatic crowds I reckon. On the flip the mysterious and anonymous engineer Man Power applies his expertise to transform "Re-Enter" into a driving, almost progressive house monster, which sheds a few of those crystalline melodies in favour of a stuttering synth tone. 

Diesel and Jarvis return with a massive three tracker of off the beaten track edit goodness. Where they find them, who knows, but thank god they do. Our dynamic duo start the session with some gentle foreplay in the form of "Dreeme". This spacey Balearic roller is nothing other than a shimmering dub of Max Berlin's super sexy "Elle et Moi"! Diesel and Jarvis drop those pervy vocals leaving the funk pianos and coastal accordion line to do the talking, resulting in a sunkissed soother for warm summer days. On the flipside we kick things up a gear and head to the cocaine cool of a European discotheque circa 1981 thanks to "She & He", the kind of dusty disco rock Harvey sprinkles booger sugar on and eats for breakfast. Last but not least the ultra funky "Step" enters the room, slips something in your drink and takes you to bed with its slow motion charms. Emanating from the crossroads between Baldelli's thick and druggy cosmic sound and Larry's sexed up funk, this one will have you hooked in no time.

Eclectic, eccentric and electric Porto DJ Rui Murka finally makes the transition from selector to producer with the sunkissed beauty of "Amigos". The intricate percussion wears the hint of heat haze through its dubby echo while the rhythmic pads and lilting bassline ensure there's enough groove to keep the Balearic floor moving. Rui adds a scratchy funk rhythm guitar and some Chris Rea soloing to create a stunning fusion of island attitude and jazz-funk style that'll find plenty of room in my sets as we head into the Indian summer. Rui's hometown homeboy Tiago drops by to lend a hand in the remix department, pushing the tempo to a respectible 120 bpm and suplimenting those smooth guitar licks with a head nodding low slung bassline. The result is a beefy platter of psychedelic disco which finds itself totally at home on Tokyo's Ene! Hot on the heels of his entry in the Telefonplan directory, Vahagn drops by to offer his own interpretation of "Amigos" and close the EP in style. The Portuguese producer opts to stick fairly close to the original, but adds deep and atmospheric pads and a laid back house beat to create a sunset gem worthy of any of the world's coastal bars.

It's nice to see Mark Barrott's not gone all mañana on us since he decamped to the White Isle. The International Feel boss has seen his way to providing the soundtrack to the summer with his beautiful "Sketches From An Island LP", repressed the two biggest Balearic dancefloor smashes of recent memory (on one vinyl no less), and still found time to lure Cafe Del Mar legend Jose Padilla back into the studio for a sublime release. "Solito" marks three special moments; 40 years of Padilla as a DJ, his triumphant return to Cafe Del Mar after 15 years and the first sign of a new partnership with the forward thinking International Feel imrpint who will release a full length LP next year. Accompanying the original mix of the gorgeous and exotic "Solito" is this immersive double A-side of reworks from German producer Wolf Muller. On the A-side, the "Water Mix" sees the producer focus on the balmy heat of those North African influences, massaging the exotic vocals, gentle percussion and vibrant tonality into an extended intro of deep calm. Before you know it, a steady kick enters the fray, and the bassline resolves into a gentle groove you can't help but move to. The "Water Dance" mix on the other side heads even further into tribal mysticism, throwing dubby elements, desert incantations and souk percussion into the pot for a mind expanding sound akin to Jah Wobble et al's "Snake Charmer" or the more laid back moments on Japan's "Tin Drum". Another must have release from International Feel, and one that suitably whets the whistle ahead of Padilla's LP.

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