Balearic . Yacht Rock . New Age . Downbeat


Genre pick of the week Cover of Piano Piano / Barbados by Tempelhof.


Piano Piano / Barbados

Those expert ears at Aficionado work their magic once again to coax two stunning sounds out of the aether and into the warmth and comfort of a 12" vinyl. Harnessing the power of the international Balearic brotherhood, 'nado sought out these sublime frequencies from Italian sorcerers Tempelhof and transmitted them directly into our lives. Freshly inspired from recording an album with ambient maestro Gigi Masin, the Mantuan duo deliver two pieces united in quality but diverse in mood.

On the A-side, 'Piano Piano' captures that bittersweet sensation of a joy you wish would last forever but you can't stop slipping through your fingers. Rhythmic guitar, emotive piano and rising strings build into a towering sculpture of sound decorated with blossoming chimes and intricate percussion. Over the course of nine minutes Tempelhof take us on a journey through euphoria and melancholy arriving at the perfect Balearic end of nighter. After all that exhilaration we're in need of some respite and our Italian guides duly oblige with B-side cut 'Barbados'. The intro of cadent guitar, serene synth washes and rippling hats invite you to slip your mooring and drift away to a distant land. The track swells like rising waves before crashing into a shower of rattling percussion, loon calls and echo drenched snares. Suddenly your mind floods with memories of Arthur Baker remixing New Order and the guitar and synth return in natural harmony like surf washing over the shore. On this 12" Tempelhof take us on a one way journey to emotional release, flying first class with all the perks.

Officially Aficionado

One of the finest Claremont 56 releases, tucked away on a missable little 7" back in 2011, gets a big and beefy Mudd rework for 2014 on this dope 12". Recorded at Can’s legendary Innerspace Studio, it’s a seedy late night boogie affair with sultry vocals from a tempting hostess and the gentlemanly yet sinister host, the legendary Holger Czukay. Built on grinding, guttural bass, a rolling groove and slinky guitar lines, all finessed with weird space-ocean noises, this is immersive psychedelic disco at its finest. A good dose of organ comes into the second half and adds its own peyote addled charm. The results are of the kind when records become loved for their obscure oddity and otherworldliness. A track that doesn’t fit anywhere, but works everywhere.

Portuguese disco warrior Tiago launches a soul sister to his edit imprint Interzona 13 in the form of Outerzona 13. The new label will play host to a rotating cast of groovy cats who dig deep and cut sharp, flipping hidden gems into dancefloor workouts. First up is the minimally titled Black, aka Nelson Gomes, a former bandmate of Tiago's in the excellent, Golf Channel approved Gala Drop. His latest moniker is reserved strictly for edits and DJ sets, and off the back of this three tracker of African excellence I reckon he's gonna get plenty of work. Stretched across the A-side in one giant, hypnotic hip shaking groove is the percussive dancefloor killer "Black". The track evolves from a killer conga, lin and kit drum groove into an irresistible funk workout with sexy clav, chanted vocals and hot brass working in perfect harmony to tear the floor apart. I've already bagged a copy on the strength of this track alone. But that's not all folks, because the flip boasts another two upfront Afro grooves that'll work their magic on the crowd everytime. Up first is the raucous and off kilter vocal cut "Van III", a snaking and swaying shoulder roller with tight guitar work and effortless bass brilliance. From the giant snare and twinkling sequences, I'm gonna date this to about 84, but I've been wrong before. And what better way to finish than with a sunblushed boogie roller in the form of "Tabanka". The sweet vocals, perfect for an unknowing singalong, ride a languid west coast groove dropping out here and there to make room for some dope solos. Buy this record or deeply regret it.

Coober Pedy University Band


Melbourne party enthusiasts Animals Dancing launch their self titled label with the sophomore release from Krautback duo Coober Pedy University Band (Tornado Wallace & William Paxton AKA Tom Moore of Otologic). This completely bonkers ode to Australia's workshy, snake eating laughter bird is the best example of dancefloor didgeridoo since that Aphex Twin single I can't remember the name of... Once described as "a bit too mental for me", "Kookaburra" sees our intrepid composers pick up exactly where their Moon Plain release left off, that is at the ridiculous, silly and amazing end of the dancefloor spectrum. Essentially little more than an undulating didgeridoo line, a solid kick, bongo clatter and the maniacal laugh of the Kookaburra, the track is perfect in its simplicity. Also included is the hilariously named, Kookapella", an exotic tool which drops the didger to give more room to our feathered friend. A prominent member of our mail order department is sat sharpening the knives as I type this, but I think this is the most fun record I've heard in ages. Unique, a certain mood changer, tone setter and future classic you've gotta get on this.


Deluxe Tote Bag (Ecru)

    Heavyweight deluxe ecru tote bag with folded gusset that expands to hold approx 25 LPs / 12"s. Printed with Horsebeach logo.

    Ryan Kennedy has been making music ever since he was a young teenager. Now in his early 20's, his dreams and desires have finally been distilled into this, his debut album. Written over the space of a year, but recorded in a fortnight, straight to tape, in Ryan's central Manchester flat, 'Horsebeach' is a gorgeous journey through Northern, jangly, dreamy guitar pop. From as far back as The Wake, through the now de rigeur C86, this is bedroom introspection gone widescreen.
    Gorgeous songs of love and longing, this music has a lilting, drifting quality, sometimes reminiscent of Felt, or of a meandering, jangle-tastic Real Estate, of whom Ryan is clearly a fan. Chiming guitars, brooding melodies, thoughtful words. 'Horsebeach' is a very lovely record indeed.


    Andy says: Like Real Estate, but with a delicious debt to The Smiths, feeling melancholic never felt so good. The sound of the Summer.

    Optimo Trax continue their relentless onslaught, this week initiating into their ranks son of legendary Glasgow DJ and close affiliate of Optimo Music, Harri. With his father providing 30 years+ (and still going) of music and producing knowledge it was gonna be hard for James NOT to get involved in the dance! At the forefront of the current generation of Glasgow dance ambassadors (he shares a flat with Jackmaster) this EP showcases the youngster's rugged and detailed, bumpin' tech house sound. "Sneaky" is all about the warehouse, a classic ring modulated synth riff riding a tight sqaure bass and chopped up party vocal samples. With nice two-part variations this just rolls and rolls and will get 'em shaking off the rafters and dancing on every conceivable surface. "Listen To My Buttons" unlocks the long sawtooth drones and dark eerie synth-strings for a heady, late night electrical excursion; made for elevating consciousness after a long session. "V Moog" deploys more rave-inspired hoover-leads (his Dad's surely been playing him all the old hardcore tapes) and allows more rampant drumbox trickery to carry the groove. Big breakdowns with fat drops characterize this as another huge warehouse number. Finally another Glasgow local Esa (under the Hillhead Young Team moniker) remixes "V Moog" into a wobbly Iberian-inspired terrace jam. Techy and stimulating, with those twangy, discordant sine tones that seem to be the favoured sonic drug of choice with the kids at the moment. Massive record from the next star of Glasgow's underground.

    Craig Leon

    Anthology Of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1: Nommos / Visiting

    Craig Leon’s seminal synthesizer albums 'Nommos' and 'Visiting' are finally re-editioned in definitive form as the 'Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1' for RVNG Intl.’s archival series.

    Issued respectively by John Fahey’s Takoma record label in 1980 and Leon’s Arbitor private press in 1982, 'Nommos' and 'Visiting' were the twin brainchildren of studio wizard Craig Leon. Leon’s production was pivotal in realising the debut recordings by Ramones, Blondie, Richard Hell and Suicide. While those albums broke ground in new worlds of sound, Leon’s own debut album was arguably, if not literally, more alien.

    In 1973, the Brooklyn Museum hosted a comprehensive collection of sculptures by the Dogon of the Republic of Mali, a tribe whose religion is based in reveries and recollections of a visit from an extraterrestrial species they named Nommos. Years after experiencing the exhibit, Leon remained fascinated by the idea of alien visitors sharing not just stories of their home-planet, but musical traditions as well. For the classically trained Leon, a puzzle was presented and a challenge in place: what would music sound like if handed down from an ancient alien species? And how best to imagine it?

    Upon meeting Fahey in the late 70s, Leon pitched the concept as an opportune time to employ the latest and greatest synthesizer technology available. An avant empathist and eternally free spirit, Fahey enthusiastically green-lighted the project for his Takoma imprint. After a secluded week in an Austin, Texas studio with his partner, wife and collaborator Cassell Webb, Leon returned with a collection of incorporeal melodies generated by the Oberheim OB-X, Roland JP-4 and Arp 2600 synthesizers propelled by primitive rhythms programmed on a prototype of Roger Linn’s nascent drum-machine, the LM-1.

    Issued by Fahey with zero expectation of the same radio airplay Leon accomplished with his pop productions, 'Nommos' now stands as an innovative example of cosmic-synth composition that wasn’t made for its time or any other. For this edition, Leon has in fact re-animated 'Nommos' by re-recording the exact audio signals as preserved in the album’s original studio notes. Every patch, tape-delay speed and outboard setting was transcribed as first scored, materializing the best possible audio of an album whose masters were unaccessible to Leon due to a major label merger milieu from years ago.

    Additionally, the re-master of 'Visiting' was supervised firsthand by Leon. As its title suggests, 'Visiting' materialized in 1982 as a conceptual continuation of 'Nommos'. The album is in equal measure more improvisatory and constructed than its predecessor. Both albums were intended to be listened to as a set in the first volume of Leon’s 'Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music' (the title was an homage to Harry Smith’s influential collection of folk music issued two decades prior). A creative evolutionist, Leon made subtle edits and compositional additions to both albums to enhance the connectivity and encourage infinite interpretation.

    While reissues and bootlegs have appeared to relieve the demand for these records, this collection will stand as definitive versions authorized by Craig Leon himself. The vinyl edition will be housed in a 2xLP set that includes detailed artwork and two essays by Leon. The first tells the complete story of the stargazing Dogon people and their prescient understanding of cosmology. The second details Leon’s adventure in creating the 'Anthology of Interplanetary Folk Music Vol. 1', an epic story bookended on this side of history as one seamless synth classic.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to the Shimmy Sham Sham sessions. After a trio of sell out under the counter specials the crew return with their finest work to date, ready to add some extra weight to every DJs box. In a move that many a purist would baulk at, our intrepid editors offer a rework of Arthur Russell's mystical, magical and magnificent "In The Light Of The Miracle". Wipe that pained expression of your face, this isnt some clunky ableton cut up powered along by a banging donk! This is subtle and delicate scalpel work, worthy of the best in the business, far from the usual back street boob jobs we're subjected to in edit land these days. The blissful melodies and complex percussion get multiplied by groove factor ten, and the whole thing is given a straighter, more floor-centric arrangement. So, now you've left the beach for the dancefloor, the boys are ready to get the party rocking for real on the seductive and sassy B-side. Nina had her fair share of hits, but none work a dancefloor better than the percussion heavy groove of "Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter". Here, at the hands of the Shimmy Sham Sham crew, it's extended and uplifted into a bumping house mover perfect for sultry nights on the terrace. Adding a well balanced kick and remodelling the arrangement, Shimmy Sham Sham massage the rough edges of the original into an irresistible dancefloor force!

    Space Girl

    Space Girl / ODSM

    Delivering a beguiling two tracker on the Various label, Space Girl are two producers and a singer called Floella all from London.

    Eponymous track 'Space Girl' mixes a lo-fi selection of analogue and acoustic instruments (theremin, upright bass, tremelo-twanged guitar etc) along with Floella's seductive vocals creating a cute sci-fi tinted rock & roll era style easy pop number. B-side cut 'ODSM' brings things up to date, using those same instruments to sculpt a sparse post-dubstep / downbeat vibe with a sweet easy touch. This 7’ will is a start of things to come… Space Girl brings a tune for the jetpack and future technology sneaker world.

    DJ magazine say: "a quirky and light-heated set of vocals are underpinned by a subdued pop / folk / electronica production backdrop expertly crafted. Love this."

    Already getting airplay from Rob da bank (Radio 1), Gideon coe, Marry Anne hobs (6 Music) and John Kennedy (Xfm).

    The Unheard

    Untold Stories In Music The Compilation

    Fifth release for the Unheard here, on the Unicycle Nutfish Productions label, following on from the the 'Untold Stories In Music trilogy, here is a double vinyl compilation featuring 14 new tracks, and eight others hand picked from past releases. The styles vary from chillout lounge, to upbeat grooves, big breaks, and cut & paste. 300 copies only.

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the critically acclaimed H-Track crew get back to waxing ways and demand your presence on the beach bar dancefloor for the foreseeable future. The H-Track series may not have been the most prolific over the last six years, but their work is always high on quality, even if it's lacking in quantity. For volume 4, H-Track is joined on production duties by Mancunian chum Haners and old time associate Tony Watson, who makes his vinyl debut. Haners jumps straight into the action on the A-side with an amazing extension of Dutch soft rock also-rans Rene And His Alligator and their 1982 recording "Can't Live My Life". There's no doubting that this is one of those songs that makes you think there is a galactic ocean's worth of more to discover, just when you thought you'd heard it all! A gentle yacht rock groove rolls away underneath the exotic kalimba and West Coast guitar licks while Renee's vocals steal you away to a distant land. It's a divine trip you don't want to end so it's just as well that Haners has doubled the length. On the flip, official edit debutant Tony Watson gets his scalpel stuck into the opening track of Eurthmics' soundtrack for the big screen adaptation of 1984. Dave Stewart described the album's sound as "Kraftwerk meets African tribal meets Booker T and the MGs", and it's difficult to disagree when you're listening to a zero gravity afro cosmic bomb of this magnitude. Watson's rearrangement takes the original to the next level of Baldellian brilliance and provides a lysergic dancefloor delight of the highest order. Last up, it's the turn of H-Track himself to take centre stage, which he does with the panache of a seasoned pro. Finally making his long time secret weapon "Lifestream" available for public consumption, H-Track unleashes an intergalactic wormhole powerful enough to invert the fabric of space itself. From an opening reminiscent of an 80s new age album, the track kicks into gear and transforms into a cosmic dancer you'll be powerless to resist with it's chugging bass power and hypnotic synth parts. A fine return, and hopefull the sign of more to come.


    Patrick says: If you're a fan of obscure Dutch soft rock (and let's face it, who isn't!) then the edit of Rene And His Alligator's "Can't Live My Life" will be a winner for you.

    It's Magic Wand time again, so don't tell JK Rowling (copyright), but I'm Olivander, you're Harry and this is wizard! Another four cuts of reworked obscurities perfect for the Balearic crowd to vibe on during the summer months. Magic Wand stalwarts Coyote dive in with the funked up 80s pop of "Budimo", which sounds very much like a lost maxi disc B-side from Germany's answer to early Spandeau. With its big metallic vamps and cocaine fuelled synth bassline, this is perfect for the peaktime sweat of the Outlaw's floor. Next up there's a Sunshine rework of the blissfully horizontal "Flowers In The Garden", which marries Dilla styled sampler work with shimmering echo and a lanugid funk bassline for maximum BBQ relaxation. Next up, Very Polish Cut out hero Ptaki hits us with brilliant version of Bucks Fizz' "One Of Those Nights", which rolls along with its low slung soft rock groove heading for the heart of the Adriatic beach bar. The new arrangement sees the vocals and almost unbearable chorus stripped back to the bare bones, placing maximum emphasis on that killer groove. We finish in tropical fashion with the impassioned South American disco of "Olhos Colridos", as reworked by Belabouche. This dope jam gets you locked in early before slaying you with an array of corking instrumental parts, while the whole track has the kind of EQ which feels like the sound is swelling in the heat. Ace. 

    Magic Feet boss Craig Bratley shows some serious sense of humour with this four track, various artists, remix EP. Since the ALFOS associate features on every single track on the record, he's cutely titled this release the "Vanity EP", and he has every reason to be vain. This release is aimed at the vinyl completist and features four remixes which have so far been unreleased or received a digital release. We begin with a couple of Craig's remixes on the A-side, a percussion heavy rework of Catalepsi's "Quartz Giaponese", which gradually builds into a chugging zero gravity groover, and a super slo mo sci fi acid version of The Souls' "Tonight" which has been a staple of Weatherall's sets for quite some time. On the flip, the sought after Sean Johnston remix of "Obsession" takes us into the deep darkness of the nightclub black room with it's evil sleaze and S&M synth work. The EP closes with a balearic acid chugger as Craig reworks Four Walls into a languid funk groove with squeeling synths and lysergic washes.

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