Balearic . Yacht Rock . New Age . Downbeat


Genre pick of the week Cover of Vol. 6 by Talking Drums.
Riding high on the inexplicable tech-house adoption of their last release, Talking Drums return with hit number six. This desert island disc finds the family bagging a last minute flight to sunnier climes, where the cocktails are strong and the seas are calm.

On 'Air Ecosse', the crew provide an engine overhaul to a middling slice of Scotch boogie, squeezing maximum thrust out of the new beat-y intro before a bubbling bassline and chiming chords provide some serious uplift. The captain takes the comms for a late deadpan vocal, hinting at a little Pet Shop Boys karaoke prior to touchdown in paradise.

The percussion pals kick off the Birkies on the B side, boarding the bateau with a pair of proper harbour heaters. 'Too Yacht To Handle' bubbles along like Mick'n'Keef in disco mode, oozing grooves under a swooning vocal a la Nicolette Larson. A hazy arrangement lets the music play, indulging the instrumental breaks, soaring synths and subtle delays in true 12" Extended Mix stylee, perfect for peak-time at poolside or la playa.

Dropping the tempo to a sunset strut, 'AORwaves' provides the perfect cool-down, as TD cut back the fat on a forgotten soft-rocker to create a cosmic yacht bomb. Low slung, sleazy and spaced out, this is gonna rock a bar set and beyond.


Mine says: Oh hello there... what's this sultry little number? Air Ecosse has to be up there with my all-time favourite TD edits, Too Yacht To Handle does exactly what it says on the tin and you can literally feel the sleaze ooze out of AORwaves - in the absolute best possible way. Cosmic after hours tackle at its finest from my favourite percussion posse!


Air Ecosse
Too Yacht To Handle

Craig Armstrong

As If To Nothing - 2023 Reissue

    Award-winning Scottish composer Craig Armstrong’s trailblazing 2002 album ‘As If To Nothing’ receives 20th anniversary first-ever vinyl release on Hydrogen Dukebox.

    Twenty years on from its original release, Craig Armstrong’s ‘As If To Nothing’ - his electronic/orchestral masterpiece featuring musical heavyweights Bono, Mogwai, Evan Dando, King Crimson and others - is being reissued for the first time on vinyl in a super-deluxe, super-limited edition run via Hydrogen Dukebox.

    Remastered at Abbey Road Studios and cut at half-speed to produce a superior sound quality, the release comes completely repackaged with reimagined artwork by award-winning designer Christopher Thomson and there's also a special 'Dinked Archive Edition' version limited to just 500 copies worldwide including a bonus 10" of a newly unearthed track from the original recording sessions.

    ‘As If To Nothing’, Armstrong’s second solo album following 1998’s ‘The Space Between Us’, is a timeless, groundbreaking record that marries stunning string arrangements, atmospheric electronics and contemporary popular music.

    Originally released on renowned UK electronic outfit Massive Attack's label Melankolic, the record captures an enduring mood and sentiment that continues to enchant listeners today, from the stirring opener ‘Ruthless Gravity’ to the euphoric closing of ‘Choral Ending’. Armstrong’s collaborative work with Massive Attack on the 1994 album ‘Protection’ is an influence that can be heard throughout ‘As If To Nothing’:
    “It was a very particular time musically within Britain, and the world”, he says. “To be part of the label, Melankolic, and working with Massive Attack, was a unique moment in time. They gave me real freedom to do what I wanted. The album was ahead of its time, I think - it still sounds pure and contemporary.”
    “A lot of younger acts have contacted me over the years to say how seminal the album has been to them. One of the great things is that people have never stopped listening to the album. To have it reissued and released on this first-ever vinyl package is a very special thing to me.”

    The album features a cast of luminaries including Bono on ‘Stay (Farway, So Close!’), Mogwai on ‘Miracle’ and Lemonheads’ Evan Dando ‘Wake Up In New York’, as well as producer Photek, soul singer David McAlmont, Alpha vocalist Wendy Stubbs, and Antye Greie-Fuchs, and a sample of King Crimson’s ‘Starless’ on ‘Starless II’. Praise for the album at the time of its release included Pitchfork ("Powerfully evocative and serene") and Rolling Stone ("[Armstrong] makes Bono sound like a fallen angel on a majestic remake of "Stay (Faraway, So Close!)".

    Through his orchestral writing, electronic compositions and wide-ranging artistic collaborations in classical and film music, Craig Armstrong’s work has received worldwide acclaim. Armstrong is widely known for composing award winning film music, having scored both Hollywood and independent films, from Peter Mullan’s directorial debut 'The Close Trilogy' to the BAFTA, Ivor Novello and Golden Globe-winning award scores for Baz Luhrmann’s 'Romeo and Juliet', 'Moulin Rouge!' and 'The Great Gatsby'.

    His film scoring has also featured in many other popular films including 'The Quiet American', 'Orphans', 'Love Actually', 'World Trade Centre', 'Elizabeth: The Golden Age', 'Far From The Madding Crowd', and 'Ray!', with the latter awarded a Grammy for Best Original Score. And several collaborations with Oliver Stone, ‘World Trade Center’ and ‘Snowden’.

    The reissue of ‘As If To Nothing’ is a fitting celebration of this exemplary album’s 20th anniversary, and an opportunity to own this key record from Armstrong’s celebrated body of work on vinyl for the first time.


    Side A
    Ruthless Gravity
    Wake Up In New York
    Side B
    Finding Beauty
    Hymn 2
    Side C
    Starless II
    Side D
    Sea Song
    Let It Be Love
    Choral Ending


    Coastlines 2

      Balearic believers rejoice! Japanese tropical-fusioneers Coastlines are back with the worldwide vinyl release of Coastlines 2. The follow-up to their classic debut, this is the sound of Coastlines's global influences. If the dedication to intricate sonic details is particularly Japanese, the overarching feel captures the sprawling grandeur of the international balearic community. As they put it, Coastlines 2 presents "a more precise and beautifully polished magic hour." If that isn't Balearic, we don't know what is.

      Takumi Kaneko and Masanori Ikeda don’t radically alter their sumptuous template with this second LP; and we wouldn't want them to. Yet with a more focused flow from first track to last, both Coastlines and Be With feel this is an even stronger album than their first. One thing that hasn't changed is the use of instrumentals instead of words to express their themes; namely, "the emotional expression of being soaked."

      Opener "Tenderly" is appropriately titled, a gentle Latin shuffle easing you back into the Coastlines sound. An organ-heavy synthy exotica that's in step with Lovelock's contemporaneous "Washington Park". Their über-horizontal take on Hawkshaw & Bennett's "Mile High Swinger" (from Synthesiser And Percussion, reissued by Be With!) evokes cocktails-by-the-pool as the sun slowly sets. The blunted deep jazz-funk swing of "Alicia" is a rearranged reimagining of the Gabor Szabo song from his classic Jazz Raga LP. This here sounds like an outtake from The Chronic.

      As the sun goes down, "Combustione Lenta" soundtracks the relaxing slow burn of an idyllic bonfire on an isolated beach. Displaying a beautiful new side of Coastlines, we're treated to Moments In Love vibes and melancholic guitar arcs. The piano-laden early morning wonder of "Night Cruise" started life as a completely different song, but the duo found a particularly good loop from the initial sketch and reconstructed it into this sophisticated 80s instrumental soul groove. "Waves And Rays" is all undulating acid waves and lighthouse light. A chopped and screwed steel drum G-Funk with soaring synths and nods toward the squelchy machine soul of Mtume and Jam & Lewis. Yes, *that* good.

      The bouncy futureboogie cosmic chug of "Sky Island" represents the beginning of the sunrise, casting images of 80s Japanese fusion and definitely one to play out early doors to get the crowd stepping. "Area Code 868" is the strutting staccato sound of Joe Sample waking up in the Caribbean to craft his piano funk drenched in sunshine. Accordingly, the tentative, naive melodies of "Sand Steps" represent that vivid feeling first thing in the morning, as you step on to the sandy beach in the sunshine and take a deep breath. The world is yours.

      The emotional, organ-piano-steel drum-driven "Song For My Mother" is a slo-mo show of sincere gratitude to all the great mothers. "Yasmin's Theme" is Coastlines's Brazilian homage, recalling for them that early summer feeling. It's propelled laconically by the carnival beat of batucada`s big bass surdo drum and complimented by sweeps of warm keys and radiant vocal harmonies. Blissful beatless closer "Asafuji" conjures a scene from a wonderful morning spent with the people of Shizuoka, the symbolic mountain of Japan, Mt Fuji and its inhabitants. It sounds like Dâm-FunK jamming with Sabres Of Paradise.

      Coastlines 2 was painstakingly crafted, across the pandemic, at Masanori's rented place in Tokyo and then brought back to his home studio and worked on slowly and repeatedly. With limited time to see each other, the duo became more united in their "consciousness with natural progress."

      Mastered by Simon Francis and cut by Cicely Balston at Air Studios, this magnificent double LP has been pressed by the good people at Record Industry.


      A1 Tenderly
      A2 Mile High Swinger
      A3 Alicia
      B1 Combustione Lenta
      B2 Night Cruise
      B3 Waves And Rays
      C1 Sky Island
      C2 Area Code 868
      C3 Sand Steps
      D1 Song For My Mother
      D2 Yasmin's Theme
      D3 Asafuji

      Full length double LP from contemporary Irish guitarist Jonny Dillon. Beautifully recorded blues / folk guitar pieces. Essential for fans of John Fahey. TIP!

      Jonny Dillon’s debut acoustic LP ‘Songs For A One-String Guitar’ took the listening public by surprise and the critics by storm when it dropped out of the blue on All-City in 2019. It represented a departure for an artist who was renowned for having the Midas touch when it came to coaxing dance floor fire from all manner of hardware. But fortune favours the brave and temporarily setting the machinery aside and following an acoustic path to the waterfall has already reaped rich rewards for Jonny Dillon. He’ll never say it in so many words but here’s a man on a mission: “Fail as I may, I have to go back and try again every time, to wait in hope for a glimpse of the spirit that hovers over the face of the deep, and to keep watch for the Light that shines in the darkness.”

      The generosity of spirit which is the linchpin of all great music is something that can neither be cheaply conjured nor ever easily faked, god forbid. It’s the elusive emotional conductor in the spinal cord of sound - a foundational component of that mysterious feeling of connection we as listeners are seeking every time we put the needle on the record or press play on a song. The very essence of the thing we seek, in short. The holy grail. When sweet music hits, it’s the spirit that moves us and it’s both the source of the power within it as well as ultimately the place where it resides inside of us too, once heard. This is how music works. Journeying. Spirit to spirit. From the makers and dreamers of the dream to dreamers in general. The indomitable spirit inherent in the instrumental guitar compositions and distinctive finger picking style of Jonny Dillon is a case in point. This is spiritful music of a rarer kind made by an artist as inherently attuned to the troubling times we are living through as he is to the value of carving out new paths to the waterfall through the medium of sound on our behalf. Boom and there it is. Much needed guidance. A priceless new navigational tool of the imagination to help us all through the maze.

      Just like the debut offering, this a path inherently worth following too, every step of the way. This time Jonny’s singular playing style finds true expression in a sound world expertly shaped by a master of the production craft, John ’Spud’ Murphy in Hellfire Studio. Masters at work, times two. Like all dream productions, it quickly assumes three dimensional proportions and becomes a place to go in and of itself, worth returning and retreating to, time
      and again. On A New Directive From The Bureau of Compulsory Entertaintment, his mode of expression is as clear and impactful as the immediate impression the sound makes on us. His is a strong game. He rises to the occasion and fulfils a great need on our part in so doing. We have to give thanks where it’s due. Balms for the soul are hardly two-a-penny in these challenging times but this is a timely one and of a lasting kind too. In stripping everything back and breaking his sound down into the bare component parts of reverberating steel strings on resonant wood, he has tapped into a kind of universal music of the spheres. It’s in tune with the times and more. Big picture sound with heart and soul to match. The iridescent sound he conjures from that same deep is a joyous thing to behold imbued as it is with a kind of light that never goes out. A dozen jewels adorn this timeless creation, each one a glimpse of eternity. They will shimmer forever. Man gets tired. Spirit don’t.

      Dónal Dineen, January 2023.


      Numinous Hedgerows Look See
      Hey Who Put These Sunsets Here
      Rose Gardens Requiems
      Lifes Railway To Heaven
      Heaven Knows
      After Vastopol
      The Corridor Of The Heart
      I Used To Just Drink Linden Village But Now I Live There
      Day Is Breaking In My Soul Blues
      In Christ There Is No East Or West
      The Great Big Ship That Came And Floated Everybody Away
      Here Comes The Ladder Of Divine Ascent

      David Holmes

      This England (Original Soundtrack)

        David Holmes (Ocean’s Eleven, Out of Sight, Killing Eve, The Fall, ‘71) new soundtrack to Sky limited series ‘This England’ is released via Stranger Than Paradise Records. The show is co-written and directed by Michael Winterbottom (A Mighty Heart, The Road to Guantanamo) and stars Kenneth Branagh as Boris Johnson and Ophelia Lovibond as Carrie Symonds. The 6-part drama is based on Boris Johnson’s tumultuous first months as Prime Minister and traces the impact on the country of the first wave of the Coronavirus pandemic.

        The plan for the music for This England came in 3 parts.

        1. We wanted to create a theme that was high in tempo. A theme that moved as fast as the virus was spreading. We wanted to always feel that we were chasing the vaccine but were ultimately never catching up as the virus took hold through huge events like Cheltenham & Champions League matches that should never have gone ahead. All the rhythms within the score were created using heart beats, ventilators, defibrillators, ECG machines etc. Even though these weren’t obviously noticeable I felt that it worked great as a linear thread and gave the piece real human movement, emotion and tension that told the story in an original way.

        2. The second theme centred around the virus itself as it creeped, crawled and spread through cities, countries and ultimately the world, the horrific nature of it and how the world practically changed overnight. I wanted to create a sense of danger that was uncomfortable. It also had to work with the recklessness, nativity and ultimately mismanagement that was witnessed day in day out in Downing Street.

        3. Emotionally, we had to be really careful. The last thing we wanted was to be overblown with the emotion. It was very important to deal with the raw human emotion in a very delicate way that had a profound feeling as people of all ages were dying unnecessarily by the 100s every day. The care homes were very tricky because of the hopelessness and obvious outcome of the situation. There was no room for sentimentality. We also wanted to create a darker sense of melancholy as Boris Johnson was not taking the virus at all seriously as he drove off to Chequers week after week.

        David Holmes in his own words:-
        “I’ve been profoundly affected by the sheer lawlessness and the dishonesty of the Tory government. When are the people who vote them in ever gonna learn? Boris Johnson is starting to make Margaret Thatcher look like she wasn’t doing a bad job. And she was the devil.”


        A1 Welcome To Brexit Britain
        A2 Meanwhile In Wuhan
        A3 AstraZeneca
        A4 Herd Immunity
        A5 Care Homes Catastrophe
        A6 Why? Why? Why?
        A7 Why Are They Not Testing?
        A8 A Very Different Britain
        A9 15,000 Discharged From Care Homes
        B1 No Morality
        B2 National Health Service
        B3 Test! Test! Test!
        B4 Another Break At Chequers
        B5 Jobs For The Boys
        B6 Forget About The Floods
        B7 Human Too Human
        B8 Failure Of Leadership

        The original environmental album from the Kyoto Connection available on Vinyl for the very first time. The album was composed, produced and recorded by Argentinian producer Facundo Arena over the course of one month in early 2018. A classically trained pianist and analogue hardware obsessive, for this project Facundo wanted to move out of his comfort zone and compose the album purely using plugins and sequencing software on his iPad, running the songs directly onto tape, in this case his trusted 1978 Akai GXC-70D tape recorder.

        Why an iPad? Facundo explains “In the 1980’s Japanese ambient producers experimented with hardware sequencers and computer sequencers on the Atari ST. Today thanks to IOS apps like Samplr, Korg Gadget and Fugue Machine it’s possible to experiment like the old days with new ways of composing and recording. Each track was recorded live into the Akai, so there were many takes to get the right result with each take recorded on the same cassette (recorded and erased over and over again) which helped to achieve an ‘old tape saturation’ effect”.

        The image for the album is taken from an original 1960’s Japanese postcard featuring the famous Arashishama Bridge. The album is pressed on heavyweight 180 Gram Vinyl with sleeve design by Bradley Pinkerton.


        Tea House
        Wave Notation
        The Matsuyama Mirror

        Richard Norris

        Deep Listening 2019-2022

          Deep Listening 2019 - 2022 features the best of Richard Norris' recent ambient, downtempo and deep listening music.

          This reflective, meditative take on electronic music has been a daily practice for the musician for some years, and has resulted in numerous releases on the Group Mind and Inner Mind labels. Included are a number of 'Music For Healing' tracks, part of an ongoing series of releases specifically created for relaxation and anxiety relief. The results have been quite phenomenal. People have given birth to this music, and there have been many reports of people using this music to help anxiety, stress and bereavement.

          Richard Norris is well known for his work with Soft Cell's Dave Ball in the Grid, and Erol Alkan in Beyond The Wizards Sleeve, as well as many solo releases, productions and remixes. He has been called 'the electronic musician's electronic musician', and the results are all over this double album, with warm analogue bubble baths heavily featured. Dive in... 


          1. Eighty Eight
          2. December
          3. Cornflower
          4. Borders
          5. I Know How You Feel
          6. Through The Window
          7. January
          8. Four
          9. Ultramarine
          10. June
          11. Nine
          12. Grains Of Light
          13. In A Heartbeat
          14. The Golden Age
          15. Deep Orange
          16. One
          17. Signal To Power
          18. Super Wolf Moon
          19. Two
          20. Space

          The Orb

          The Dream - 2023 Reissue

            ‘The Dream’ is the eighth studio album by The Orb. It was released in 2007 on Liquid Sound Design Records and saw a return to form and leans towards the earlier Orb sound and aesthetic. Dr. Alex Paterson reunites with Martin ‘Youth’ Glover and is also joined by Tim Bran of Dreadzone. Listeners are treated to the magical guitar flair from none other than Steve Hillage (Gong, System 7) as he joins in on several of the album’s tracks. A special one for aficionados, collectors, and connoisseurs across the globe!

            TRACK LISTING

            A1. The Dream (The Future Academy Of Noise, Rhythm And Gardening Mix)
            A2. Vuja De
            A3. Something Supernatural
            A4. A Beautiful Day
            B1. DDD (Dirty Disco Dub)
            B2. The Truth Is
            B3. Phantom Of Ukraine
            B4. Mother Nature
            C1. Lost And Found
            C2. The Forest Of Lyonesse
            C3. Katskills
            C4. High Noon
            D1. Sleeping Tiger & The Gods Unknown
            D2. Codes
            D3. Orbisonia

            Denver producer and visual artist John T. Hastings aka RUMTUM returns to Bastard Jazz for his second album on the label, "Arcadian Daze". The album is a contemplative drive down a nostalgic highway, reflecting on a period of his late adolescence growing up in Ohio, spending time at Arcadia Beach on Lake Erie and discovering the likes DJ Shadow, Madlib, Fila Brazilla, early Four Tet, the original Ninja Tune roster and more. Revisiting these coming of age memories, John purchased an older MPC 2000XL and set out to musically capture the excitement of putting his first nascent loops together, inspired by this pivotal era of electronic music that has since birthed movements like such as Lo-Fi/Chillhop, Vaporwave, LA's mid-2000s Beat Scene / Low End Theory, etc.

            The end result of "Arcadian Daze" is indeed filled with that nostalgic spirit paying homage to those aforementioned sounds, but also presents a forward thinking musical palate that's very much grounded in RUMTUM's sensibilities as a producer and time spent learning to program new & vintage outboard gear. The album moves away from the warm, dreamy sounds of last year's "Isles in Indigo" LP, and touches more into a mystical, pensive vibe with elements of darkness and light.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. No Drugs Needed
            2. Echo Drift
            3. Arcadian Daze
            4. Utopia Dock Lab 1986
            5. Bike Race To Nowhere
            6. Under 1000 Clouds
            7. Pier Light
            8. Vapor Sun
            9. DaBrye Squared
            10. Life In Reverse
            11. Sand Spirit

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