Review: The Mondo label first surfaced back in late-2013 under the tutelage of former Jolly Music producer Francesco De Bellis, 'powered by Gerd Janson's Running Back', channelling a dual interest in library music and the Mondo Movies of 1960s Italian cinema. Across a series of highly prized 12" releases, Mondo has cultivated a slavish following amongst the more horizontally inclined selectors out there. Given their limited nature, it's nice to see Mondo collect their 12" output to date for a wonderful compilation entitled Collezione. The tracklist is programmed to mirror the path of the 12" releases, with L.U.C.A, ROTLA, Studio 22, and Odeon essentially granted chapters to sooth the soul with their deeply textured Balearic sounds.
Review: L.U.C.A is one of the lesser-known pseudonyms of man-of-many-aliases Francesco De Bellis, who has been delivering shimmering nu-disco and Italo-influenced house jams since the late 1990s. I Semi Del Futuro, though, is a different beast to many of the Rome-based producer's releases over the last two decades. It was created with the assistance of a battery of musicians, and explores the fertile ground between hazy film soundtracks, sun-kissed Balearica, and the kind of drowsy, reinvented lounge music that was once the hallmark of Air. It's hugely enjoyable, brilliantly produced, and stacked full of the kind of atmospheric gear that will make you want to reach for something cold, fruity and alcoholic.
Review: The Running Back affiliated Mondo label is back with more impressive Balearic and chillout grooves. This follows up the tremendous compilation album; Collezione, which was released earlier this year. Label boss Francesco de Bellis aka L.U.C.A. appears with several long time collaborators such as Raiders Of The Lost Arp with the smooth astral travelling vibes of "Niagara (Rotla Version)". He then teams up with Polysick on the "Afghanistan Version" which is the smooth cruising psych-rock derivative that Psychemagik would sit up and notice. Finally it's L.U.C.A. Himself with the "Quirky Version" an intense retro house throwback in the vein of Lauer or Tuff City Kids and not being shy on the funk bass or heavy claps.
Review: Mondo's slow and steady output remains as consistent and attentive as ever as they continue to delve deep into Italy's seemingly endless library vaults. For this particularly cosmic collection they've explored documentary music that's been utilised by programs on topics as diverse as sea fauna to poaching. As you'd imagine, each cut comes with broad visual and imaginative appeal. From the dream-weaving guitar-shimmering of "Anxur" to the soft ebb and flow of "Maga Circe", close your eyes and start making your own documentaries. Stunning.
Review: Rome-based combo Odeon is an interesting proposition. Basically two sets of musician brothers brought together by mutual friend (and Mondo label boss) Francesco De Bellis, their debut recording is a pleasingly hard-to-pigeonhole affair. Sometimes psychedelic, often dreamy and always atmospheric, the album's 12-tracks variously draw influence from odd Italian library music, eccentric synthesizer soundtracks, Talk Talk, the Cocteau Twins, shoegaze and the heady, E'd-up sound soup of ambient house. In fact, one of the tracks even sounds a little like REM if Michael Stipe and company had necked a bunch of disco biscuits and moved to Ibiza. While the unique and intoxicating sound is clearly theirs, you can hear the guiding hand of De Bellis, who acted as producer throughout.
Review: While there's something undeniably contemporary about Odeon's seriously psychedelic "Rocket Launch" - particularly the druggy, Weatherall-pleasing arpeggio lines, wayward guitars and densely-layered feel - it also feels like a long lost cosmic rock classic; the kind of tune Daniele Baldelli would have been digging for way back at the turn of the '80s. It's hard to pin down but undeniably brilliant. Italian experimentalist Panoram delivers a superb reconstruction that abandons all dancefloor pretentions in favour of enhanced horizontal credentials, while LUCA's "Quirky Version" turns it into a full-blown space disco shuffler. Those looking for some funk-fuelled space-rock thrills should have for impressive bonus track "Earth Polar Axis".
Review: Last year, Raiders of the Lost Arp (real name Marco Pierro) popped up on Edizioni Mondo with a decidedly Balearic EP that ranks amongst his best work to date (and that's saying something). Here he returns to Francesco de Bellis's label with an album that's arguably even better. Rich in analogue synthesizers, bubbly lo-fi drum machine rhythms, sun-baked guitars and toasty bass, "Transmissioni" brilliantly strings together drowsy neo-Balearic gems in a range of interconnected styles. It's a superb set all told, with highlights including the subtle Tullio de Piscopo tribute "Studio Ritmico", the stargazing, arpeggio-led ambient of "Progressi Della Scienzi", the shuffling afternoon warmth of "Nightlife" and the Mark Barrott-esque goodness of closing cut "Timing".
Review: The Running Back powered Edizioni Mondo label return with a third offering and the collectors out there that were charmed by previous blockbuster hits from L.U.C.A and ROTLA will be all over this sumptuous 12". Described by the label as a visionary production house, Studio 22 show the necessary chops to qualify that statement on the basis of these three tracks, not least the glistening title tracks that sees a smooth Library funk groove ebb and flow before a grand finale. On the flip "Pic Nic" is the sort of cosmic jam that will have the Sunday afternoon bar selectors licking their lips whilst the blissful final track "Vento Dominante" could easily be teased into a Gigi Masin track.