Review: Surprisingly, it's been some four years since Croat producer Ilija Rudman dropped his much-played debut album, The Reveal, on Bear Funk. Happily, True Colours - his first outing on Is It Balearic - sees him in fine form, joining the dots between kaleidoscopic synth-funk, rubbery dub-disco, spaced-out boogie and glassy-eyed downtempo jams. Rudman is an expert at capturing the sounds of bygone eras, usually through the use of vintage equipment, while delivering tracks that sound thoroughly fresh and original. It's this that makes True Colours such a fantastic set. Highlights are plentiful, from the close dance smoothness of "Bad Passion" and boogie dub vibes of "All The Time" (check the delay-laden hits and sweeping violins) to the jaunty electro-goes-Balearic brilliance of "Wild Guess".
Review: Having cruised around labels such as La Luna, Tusk Wax and most tellingly Back To The Balearics, Maricopa has already left a trail of smooth-sailing breadcrumbs behind him, and now he drops anchor in a harbour which may yet prove to be his spiritual home. 'Is It Balearic?' is a question that hardly needs to be asked when you're drifting out to sea on the blissful tones of "Benthos" or reveling in the expressive ripples of "Deer", but it's safe to say these jams would go down smooth with a Mediterranean sunset and an Aperol Spritz.
Tuesday Club (Mushrooms Project Acid Line mix) (6:10)
Review: Craig Christon and Bonar Bradberry team up as Before Christ for this essential slice of brooding party fuel, leading in with the trippy, otherworldly tones of "Barry's K." From the grinding pulse of the analogue bassline to the mystical keys, it's the consummate astral traveler for DJs exploring the outer realms of the dancefloor. Mushroom Project gently rub more spaced out elements into the original, injecting a little light and letting the hits linger for longer in the ample space of their killer version. "Tuesday Club" finds Before Christ turning to a more sharp-edged rhythmic palette without losing the hypnotic qualities of their sound, before Mushroom Project return to lay down a rubbery 303 bassline that fits right in amongst the raw drum hits and dense FX processing.
Review: Is It Balearic...? continues to challenge our perception of what makes the perfect island breeze jam, this time around welcoming emergent producer Kimopots to the table with a track that is just crying out for a choice cocktail in a weathered hammock. "Synthetic" is anything but, riding on a bed of hand-played percussion and capturing an innate warmth in its melodic content that feels utterly natural, even if it has been played on synthesisers. Ilija Rudman steps up with a fat old bassline and some eerie strings and chimes that make his remix a thoroughly worthwhile one, and then Robot 84 makes a more drastic turn towards peppy deep house for an audacious revision that frames the original in a whole new light.
Review: Is It Balearic? welcome the mellow charms of Chris Coco and Camillo Miranda to lay down an unusual paean to a prehistoric love with the truly breezy drifter "Dinosaur Baby." While the tale might be a quirky one, the music is the real deal, all tumbling percussion locked into a slow, head-nodding groove, and this comes through even stronger on the "12" Dub". On the flip, Rune Lindbaek delivers a remix that fleshes the original out with laconic disco flourihes, and then Luke Solomon's version injects a little housey energy into the make up with his usual flair for off-kilter party fuel.
Review: Is It Balearic? welcome Ilija Rudman back to the fold for the first time since the excellent True Colours album back in 2015, and the Croatian disco house mainstay sounds like he's on searing form. "Motions" is a luscious deep house jam with a throbbing low end, but made all the more powerful by the sultry vocal turn from Andre Espeut. Italo house veteran Don Carlos is a smart shout for two remixes, kicking off with the uplifting yet understated groove of the vocal version before spreading over the B side with the beatless but driving pulse of the ambient mix.
Review: Bonnie & Klein return to IIB with a gem of a track. Reminiscent of a lost alan parsons instrumental. The track meanders its way to a lovely guitar solo before the hypnotic synth parts carry us away.Already tried and test at La Torre perfect for the discerning sundowner.Ron Basejam excels on his remix, upping the tempo and delivering an awesome yacht disco bomb.
Review: Michael David is a musician from LA California best known as one half of Classixx. The sunshine drps off these three tracks. Melona is a blissed out summer jam with 80's guitar chords and sweet keyboard notes. One wish is a slower dubby groove while Two Voices chills out further for a real sunset melt. Chris Massey adds some weight to Melona giving ia slight nod to Shaker songs. Lovely ep all round