For his last appearance on Running Back, Fort Romeau unashamedly paid tribute to the legendary Fairlight CMI sampling computer. On this follow-up, he turns his attention to another legendary piece of kit from the early 1980s: the more affordable E-Mu series of sampling keyboards/digital workstations. Naturally, the assembled "Emulators" are rich in vibrant and colourful synthesizer motifs, crunchy drum machine hits, elastic basslines and nods towards the kind of club-ready instrumental synth-pop jams that many would consider "Balearic". Highlights-wise, we're particularly enjoying the full-throttle hustle of "Emu" (think Chicken Lips meets early Italian dream house), the glistening ambient rush of "Emu III" and the undulating, acid-flecked cheeriness of digital-only bonus cut "Emu IV". That said, the thrillingly percussive "Bonus Birdy Beats" version of "Emu III" is pretty smart, too.
International Feel's mini album series seems to explore the space between world beat, balearic and library music. Here, L.A's Pharaohs 'have imagined a place far from the city' on their first release for Mark Barrott's esteemed imprint. Co-founder Sam Cooper has stated that we were influenced by a surfing book by photographer Michael Kew and that a lot of the music was inspired by his travels in the South Pacific and its imagery: an idea of what it would sound like if they were actually there themselves. Cooper met co-founder Ale Cohen in Amoeba Music and the pair started jamming in the late noughties. Diego Herrera (aka Suzanne Kraft) was an original member but now resides in Europe, preventing him from collaborating, moving forward. But still, some of his playing can be heard on the album. Casey Butler aka Stellar Rahim, is the fourth member, who studied composition at CalArts.
Originally released back in 1990, on their own, self-titled label, Holy Ghost Inc's second record has long been a collector's item. Faced with spiraling prices on the second hand market, Australian label Isle of Jura has done the sensible thing and reissued it. They deserve props for including the Sun & Moon Mix: with its ponderous bass and dubbed out effects, it has long been a crossover for house, ambient and even trance fans. At the other end of the spectrum, the Amphibious Carbine version is a classic 90s trance-y house groove. The label also deserves extra praise for including two previously unreleased dub mixes that alternate between ebbing and flowing effortlessly or tripping the light fantastic - on both occasions against a backdrop of subtle break beats.
Almost 12 months on from its release, Christian Loffler's Mare album - an impeccably atmospheric drift through slow-burn downtempo soundscapes and hushed deep house - is given the remix treatment. Naturally, there's more of a focus on the dancefloor, with Atavism, Zimmer, Frejka, Vilette and Loffler all delivering sumptuous but heavy interpretations that touch on deep house, tech-house and early morning techno. That said, it's still the more downtempo and experimental reworks that really sparkle. Check, for example, the breath-taking synthesizer arpeggio lines and eyes-closed majesty of Tiger Lou's version of "Neo" and Max Cooper's superb neo-classical takes on "Haul" and "Vind".
Polski-in-Rotterdam Richu M lays down his biggest, broadest and most vibrant collection since Most Blunted collection in 2015. A sweet selection of rough warm grooves that all sport ace sample craft and refreshingly ludicrous titles, highlights include the turbo b-boy soul of "Melting Dolphins", the dreamy Jean Jacques Perry textures of "Aquarian Mummies" and the Hammond-slapping fusion and lolloping jacks of "Donor Goes To Hawaii". Get packing.
This is simply a stunning album, the opening track 'Put Castle' sets the tone, as the vocal guilds us through the tracks different states and tones, we are keenly aware that this album wants to move out of its box. Moving into a 'Loveboat' we are enter a soft soundscape which washes over you in waves, before dropping into a head bobbing deep house beat and occasionally freaking you out with its creepy Willy Wonker-esque, vocal. At 8.33 'Moon' is the longest track on the LP, basking in white noise, it begins with subtle nods to techno and floats into a more structure house style, layers of shimmers and sparkles add light to what would otherwise be a minimal, ambient track and it's not until 5 minutes we really start to additional melodic elements. 'Fool You' has more upbeat funky kind of vibe, with organic sounding instruments and a gentle vocal. 'Dog Sled' is one of the harder tracks, with sharp, crisp sounds and striking piano. Do yourself a favour and listen to this album.
K7's new sub-label 7K! presents two remixes of Luca D'Alberto from his recent album entitled Endless. Richard Dorfmeister & Stefan Obermaier's remix of "Her Dreams" is a stunning deep nu-disco rendition carried by a glistening arpeggio, cloudy rhythms and hypnotic pads. The legendary Howie B's rendition will take you deep down into the rabbit hole on this eerie (and somewhat haunting) ambient revision. D'Alberto's first recording for newly-formed, Berlin-based, neo-classical imprint, at its heart, is a blood and guts re-imagining of what neoclassical can be: passionate and daring. Music that jumps out from the shadows at you.
Monkeytown stalwart Siriusmo is back with a bang and a pencil. He now presents Comic: a record that sounds like its title. This feels like a dilettante kid's drawings, roughly sketched with a big marker. Abstract layouts and finely carved romantic paintings. The legendary Mr. Oizo joins him on the bleepy "Doppelklick" while scene veteran Jan Driver is back on the scene for a collaboration entitled "Patina" which is a rhythm heavy and brooding piece of dancefloor drama. Elsewhere, there are plenty other highlights such as the booming "Dagoberta", the chill Balearic vibes of "Geilomant" or the jagged and angular groove of "Isegrim". 14 songs ripped from the pages of a colouring book to vividly be coloured by you!
Indian Wells is Calabrian producer Pietro Iannuzzi, who presents his third album via Los Angeles based Friends Of Friends. Across a range of artfully composed and emotive tracks, the album, entitled Where The World Ends, channels feelings of geographical, social and political isolation formed from borders both ageless and imposed. Choirs of wordless vocals provide a universal element of communication throughout; breaking down barriers of language, creating connections and crossing borders. Lead single "Cascades" is spiritual and evocative deep house on the techier tip, which will appeal to like minded sounds on esteemed imprints like Crosstown Rebels or All Day I Dream. The second single is the title track, and shows a moodier side to Iannuzzi which could get airtime in Berlin's top clubs: calling to mind the trendy sounds of local labels like Stil Vor Talent or Kindisch. Mixed at Sudestudio near Lecce, (Puglia) by local songstress Matilde Davoli.
Having bubbled away with Balearic intentions on Mackrory's Forgotten Corner, then last year's rather successful full length on Music For Dreams, Nick and Harry galvanise their spiritual partnership with another long player for Kenneth Bager's highly lauded imprint. Hear them explore their fusion, palette and respective styles on a much broader canvas, across these 11 tracks and three remixes: it is a truly perfect summer album. We're treated to touching steel drum drama and delicate introspection on first single "Lucky Charm" this is deep Balearic tinged chill-out at its finest. Keep your ears peeled for the great edit by Andi Hanley, coming soon.
Berlin hero Sven Weisemann makes his debut on Danish dub techno authority Echocord and follows up last year's mighty fine Separate Paths EP on Delsin. Carrying on from said release, Weisemann sure remains consistent with these four servings of expertly executed dub techno excursions on the Bilateral Relations EP. Opening up with the lush and evocative ambient house of "Lunation" which bears a similar sound to his recent efforts on Mojuba, he then serves up the straight up title track: minimal dub techno done proper. "Monistic" is more typical Echocord faire: glacial mysterious and deep. Finally the Valve tr9 remix of "Decimation" has more of a techno influence and a tougher rhythm section, but the haunting dub chords and greyscale textures remain.