Monday’s Long Song

I don’t know if we are in the midst of a Balearic revival or if it’s just that I’m just finding a lot of it at the moment. This new track from Fjordfunk is a Balearic beauty, a slow motion eight minute epic with ripples of warm synth sounds, descending keyboard parts, a funky bassline and a guitar solo that stays just the right side of going over the top.

There is also a Hardway Bros remix that strips things back and heads into slightly darker territory although the twinkling synth and strings definitely keep things centred around the Mediterranean. Fjordfunk is producer Jann Marius Dahle from Norway.

 

Midweek Mix

This has just gone up at Test Pressing, your one stop shop for all things dubby and Balearic. Test Pressing asked Sean Johnston to put together a mix, specifically two hours of trippy and wigged out tunes from Sean’s record box. You can find it here (and download for free) and you won’t regret it. I can’t get the player to embed.

A couple of years ago Sean put out an e.p. in his Hardway Bros guise, the Pleasure e.p. This song is stunningly effective piano house, guaranteed to spread joy.

You Don’t Really Need Me

This is from a new e.p. by Dan Wainwright, a resident of these parts apparently, a slice of cosmic, Eastern tinged, progressive chug which at some point in the fourth minute when the soft multi-tracked vocal comes in reveals itself to be a cover of The Supremes classic Keep Me Hangin’ On.

The e.p. then takes a turn into darker territory with a Hardway Bros remix, a moody, low slung groover, the appropriately titled Swamp Dub, which sounds just like a sweaty basement after hours. In a good way.

There’s a third track too, The Endless Process Of Release, starting out with synths and coo’d breathy backing vox, some lovely sequenced bass and then a mid-tempo beat gently pushing things forward, various percussive sounds reverberating round the mix, more roof terrace in the sun than cellar rave, until it all starts to build for the last few minutes, twinkling arpeggios and rushing bleeps.

A/B Music

Back in 2013 Hardway Bros put out this monumental piece of dance music, A/B Music, a dramatic collision of  cavernous acidic squiggles, metallic guitar and a driving, lurching rhythm track. A dark, propulsive dancefloor gem.

A/B Music is also Sean Johnston’s tribute to the sounds of Belgium in the mid-to-late 1980s and the Antwerp club that the track is named after (AB, Ancienne Belgique). Belgian New Beat was centred around slow, downtempo club music, DJs spinning dark European industrial music, Eurobeat pitched down from 45 rpm to 33, early house from Chicago, a minimalist precursor to house, acid and techno, played to full houses as the youth of Ghent packed into the Boccaccio club. A record label in Ghent have recently put out two compilations, each one a four CD box set, packed full of new beat. Volume One is here and Volume Two is here.

Gadji Beri Bimba Clandridi

June 2018 is a gift that keeps on giving in terms of images. In the picture at the top Diego Maradona celebrates Argentina finding some form of redemption against Nigeria (who didn’t deserve to lose to be honest). Diego danced with a Nigerian fan, celebrated Messi’s goal in ecstatic style, flipped double birds at fans below on the 86th minute winner and then had a health scare in the concourse. He is disappearing in a blizzard of coke. I love Diego in many ways but I fear for his health. In the picture below a resident of Mossley, in the Pennines east of Manchester, returns from the Co-op in a gas mask to protect from the moorland fires which have been out of control most of the week. The smell of burning peat hangs over the city.

Recently I have been a little bit obsessed with this song from Talking Heads in 1979. Byrne’s lyrics were adapted from a poem by the Dadaist writer Hugo Ball. The groundbreaking Afro-funk is the product of the band.

I Zimbra (12″ version)

It works well with this, out earlier this year from Sean Johnston’s Hardway Bros, a 2018 slice of Afro-funkiness.

That Hit

Flash Atkins is here with some uplifting, locked groove, slinky, tech-house, and there’s some lovely soulful vocals from Charlie Sinclair- waiting for that hit. Night time music.

The single comes with a remix by Hardway Bros, Sean Johnston bringing the buzzing bass to the fore, stretching it out and sending it into sci fi techno territory.

The Laser

There’s a lot of new music out now or imminently. Hardway Bros will put out a new ep at the end of May, 4 new tracks led off by this one- Friedman Feedback Loop Revision- where Sean Johnston loops some magic over a hi-hat and some drums and then lays waste to your speakers.

Sean’s ep releases over the last few years for New York label Throne Of Blood have been uniformly excellent, especially the Pleasure Cry 12″ from 2016 (with Argonaut being among the best tracks of the year to Bagging Area ears). If you want to catch up with the back catalogue you can get it all digitally at Bandcamp.