Earlier this week I made a second hand record haul to die for in the musty gloom of Manchester’s Empire Exchange. After spending a mindnumbing hour trawling through a lot of terrible trance and hard house records, I suddenly happened upon a small enclave of Italo and Balearic classics that had previous eluded me on black wax. In the end I managed to get six excellent records for a reasonable six quid, and thought I’d share my spoils with the wider world.
First up is this deep and danceable, slow tempo proto house groover from the Island records keyboard genius Wally Badarou. At times you get jazz funk, at other’s there’s the low stomp of house and in the middle there’s the glorious keyboard progression that Lindstrøm owes a debt to. Polyrhythmic, funky and dubbed out, this track is a classic deserving of love and dancing from all concerned.
While the artwork may not the most interesting you’ve ever seen, this is a glorious slice of 80’s pop. The original mix is a classic from the dawn of the MTV era, but this 12″ arrangement stretches the action out, adds echo and all round ups the panache. The groove is treated to create a fully immersive bouncing sound. Perfect for those times when you wanna create a shared moment amongst the dancefloor. The man behind the mix is John Potoker, whose remixing credits extend to the vast majority of Miami Vice set (Hall & Oates, Thompson Twins, Phil Collins etc) and pretty much anyone you’d hear at an 80s night. Enjoy this vinyl only treat for a friday afternoon.
This all time classic edit from selector in chief Mark Seven caused an almighty stir in the old bally earache world upon its original release, selling out all over the place in a matter of minutes, and during a postal strike no less. The 12″ in question ‘Divine Edits’ contained three tracks all in keeping with the subject matter at hand. ‘Sermon’ was a low tempo house chugger after the fashion of One Dove’s ‘White Love’, but with a gospel sermon played over the top of it. Essentially it sounds mighty similar to ‘Come Together’ by Primal Scream.
‘Heaven’ begins with the sound of the rolling surf, develops into bongos and spanish guitar and has the kind of world percussion that sounds like loads of frogs, the best kind of course. It’s a full on beach bar number.
The ace in the hole was of course ‘Heaven’, an extension and rearrangement of Gospel stalwarts The Clark Sisters singing a little number called ‘Hi Ya’. The bassline and piano parts sounds like a slow version of ‘I Wish’ by Stevie Wonder, and the girls’ vocals bring out full on hands in the air, take me to church eupohoria. It’s a smash hit.
Earlier this year it was included on the Creative Use ‘The Collection’ compilation CD, alongside some brilliant edits from Soul Mekaniks (Bounty Girls and Even Stevens are magnificent, Instantaneous Acid is a secret weapon) and Mark E’s scorching ten minute wonder ‘Sun Shadow’. I strongly recommend this CD to anyone with ears, you will not come across as diverse a selection as this that still maintains such a high quality. You can still get copies here.
As a limited treat, here is one of 2007’s standout moments, enjoy and then buy the compilation!
Many weeks ago I posted the FPU cover of this classic, with the promise of digitising the glorious and superior original. I then started a new job, went on my summer holidays and forgot my previous oath. I won’t let such an error happen again. This is one of my all time favourite tracks, balearic, cinematic and epic, certainly cheesy, but at the same time fully heartfelt. Jan Hammer is a man of many talents, responsible for some truly far out fusion both with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and on his lonesome, whilst also contributing a number of hideous 80’s TV beds. This however, is his TV standout. Loved by the balearic, ambient, pop and electronica fans, it’s a true essential in anyone’s collection. Alongside Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’, which never sounded as good as in the Miami Vice pilot episode, ‘Crockett’s Theme’ is the standout signature track from that powerhouse of 80’s pop culture. A gift, for you….and while you’re at it, spare the 4 minutes to watch one of the greatest scenes in TV history…
I recently had a discussion with an old friend about Todd Terje’s recent burst of top class activity, and when our conversation turned to our good old favourite Terje edits, I was amazed to hear that my friend did not know this classic.
Paul Simon’s Graceland LP, regardless of your take on the accusations that he mugged the musical heritage of a continent, pulled off the miraculous trick of perfectly marrying American country/folk songwriting with African rhythms and sounds. Of course, other musicians had experimented with polyrhythms before, but no one had done so in pursuit of a making something that at its heart was a traditional American pop record. The record may as well be the soundtrack to the collective unconscious.
When I first heard this edit slipping dreamlike in the middle of a mix, i had a nigh on religious experience. Caked in reverb, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo chanting immediately takes you to church, surrounded by hypnotic rhythms, shimmering guitars, all leading up to an exhilarating drop putting you in the centre of swirling echo. Then that deep wriggly bassline makes you move, softens you up before that warm familiar voice from your childhood guides you into the light. This is my all time favourite Todd Terje edit; he takes a song I’ve loved for as long as I’ve listened to music, and makes it even better. Here it is, ripped from a vinyl pirated from an mp3, in as high a quality as that allows.
Sir John is the debut release from a collaboration between Benjamin Smith (of Claremont’s Smith & Mudd fame) and Chris Todd and Jim Baron (Crazy P). This lush acoustic number is perfect for the current summer weather and in fitting with the current balearic trend. Chiming guitars and shakers give way to a moody groove in the vein of Crosby Stills and Nash’s ‘Dark Star’, all backed with some atmospheric synth work. This will sit perfectly on shelves, in bags and in sets along side Prins Thomas’ Discomiks of Doves’ ‘Kingdom of Rust’ and any of the Fascinating Rhythms releases. On the flip side Mark E ups the tempo and adds a chugging beat and bass as well as some squelching electronics but deftly keeps the whole thing balanced. For me these two tracks are the essence of Balearic music, conjuring up thoughts of summer but with an underlying melancholy.
Grab this gem whilst you can from the usual suspects.