Review: Stuck at home with nothing to do for days, starved of culture and community? Now you know how Bjorn Torske felt in the Tromso of the late 80s, writes Hell Yeah. Bjorn Torske, a legend to come out of the enigmatic Norwegian disco scene, and now Hell Yeah Recordings main selector, has been called upon to captain a flight through Hell Yeah Recordings impressive discography. With cassettes of the mixtape already sold out, this digital version - with stand alone tracks - brings together sounds of label mates like Alexander Robotnic, Max Essa, Luminodisco and the much loved Gigi Masin & Templehof collaboration. Gliding from Calm's celestial "Space Is My Place" to Crimea X's piano-driven "10PM", housier Lauer remixes or Prins Thomas Diskomiks, Torske makes himself known by threading some his own own edits (and kleggsommer dubs) to complete a fantastic voyage through the Italian label. Hell Yeah!
Review: If you enjoy dreamy, otherworldly music tailor-made for sunsets and sunrises, there's a fair chance you already own a number of Max Essa releases. While his singles are often excellent, it's his albums that really stand out. "The Great Adventure", the Tokyo-based Brit's first LP in two years and fifth solo set in total - is typically impressive. Rich in dreamy analogue synthesizer sounds, even gentler rhythms and glistening, sun-bright guitar solos, it's the kind of album that feels like a warm, loved-up embrace from start to finish. Amongst the undeniably Balearic highlights are the Flamenco-tinged nu-disco shuffle of "The Great Adventure", the yearning ambient-meets-dub bliss of "Themes From The Hood, The Cad & The Lovely", and the picturesque beauty of "Buran Chime".
Review: UK producer Max Essa first made his name in the late 00s with a string of shimmering nu-disco releases on Nang and Bear Funk. These days, though, he's based in Japan and, for this latest long-player at least, concentrating his energies on ambient productions. Across nine tracks with mysterious titles like 'Breakfast In Yutenji' and 'Beautiful Western River', gently tinking minor-key ivories, Carpenter-esque synth sweeps, found sounds and occasional, ultra-languid drum beats create slow-moving soundscapes built for post-club comedown sessions and lazy Sunday mornings alike, while 'Twenty Types Of Dusk' nods back to his earlier days.
Review: While there's always been something definitively matter-of-fact about the title of the Balearic compilation series, the music they showcase is rarely less than magical. That's certainly the case on this fourth annual instalment. Naturally, the selections touch on a variety of Balearic staples, including Vangelis-influenced instrumental bliss (Max Essa's sublime opener), hypnotic, slow motion grooves (see Simon Peter's wonderful, jazz guitar-flecked "Ottimismo"), flamenco guitar-laden haziness (a killer On-U-Sound version of Los Twangueros's "Entre Dos Aguas"), swirling synth-pop/nu-disco fusion (Faze Action remixing Private Agenda), loved-up blue-eyed soul (Quinn Luke) and deep space electronics (Fabrizio Mammarella's enveloping Ambient Mix of Gallo's "Faron").
Review: Japan's disco don Matthew Bruce aka Max Essa is back with a three part track, namely Themes From The Hood, The Cad & The Lovely. Recording for a decade, this prolific producer has big hits like "Panorama Suite/Uptown Vibration" that have long been in Hell Yeah boss Marco Peedoo's record bag. The story goes that Essa first approached the label with a bunch of tracks until a good correspondence alchemy ensued and together the artist and label decided to put out the most timeless EP possible. This is music that will calm busy minds now and forever.
Review: Last year, the crew behind Brazil's well-loved Mareh festival decided to launch their own label. Like their 2014 debut EP, which boasted cuts from Eric Duncan and Pete Herbert & Dicky Trisco, Mareh Drops is another all-star affair. The Revenge kicks things off with the sparse, string-laden tech-house bump of "Strings of Fife", before Berlin-based Canadian Eddie C delivers the quietly impressive "Take Me Or Leave Me", a delay-laden deep house shuffler with sun-kissed disco influences. Pete Herbert goes solo on the deliciously bright, breezy and sun-drenched Balearic disco groover "El Bigotes", before Max Essa goes deeper into Balearic territory with the sweet synthesizer arpeggios, bubbling beats and dreamy pads of "Night Measure".