Damien Enright – The Three Kings Clerkenwell 20th February 2016

As most of my close friends know, I’m a little bit partial to a small island off the southern coast of Spain called Ibiza, some may even say obsessed.

From my very first visit back in 1990 to every subsequent yearly summer sojourn my obsession with the island and everything to do with that early heady balearic period only intensifies.

I have always had a habit of collecting any and every old piece of memorabilia (Ibiza tat) I can lay my hands on; old posters pulled from the walls of Amnesia, a wealth of pictures from Facebook groups such as Ku – Ibiza Best Years, postcards by Luis Amor of his detailed artistic interpretation of the indigenous Ibizencos, maps, flags you name it and of course books, lots and lots of books.

Last year I came across one such book by author Damien Enright – Dope In The Age Of Innocence.

http://www.libertiespress.com/shop/dope-in-the-age-of-innocence

Its a tale of a young man and his family arriving on the island in the early sixties when it was a haven for the hedonistic hippie cultural rejects of society.  It’s a captivating read and paints a picture of what the island was like before the gratuitous explosion of consumerism and the frankly obscene displays of wealth from the influx of Russian oligarch money and property developers such as the Candy brothers that the island sadly now suffers from.

Here is a brief synopsis:

Ibiza, 1960: on the beautiful Mediterranean island, the high-rise resorts are still decades away. By chance, Damien Enright, twenty-one-years old and Irish, arrives there with his wife and two children and finds a handful of down-at-heel foreign Bohemians leading wild, hedonistic lives. He and his wife get involved; their marriage quickly breaks down and he spends two heartbroken years in London before returning to Ibiza with a new partner and another child. They take LSD and inspired by dreams of a brave new world, cross to the remote island of Formentera to lead alternative lives.This is a decade before Howard Marks becameMr. Nice: the embryonic drug culture in the west motivated not by profit but by idealism. Sometimes, that early search for freedom ventured not just beyond the mind but beyond the law. To sustain their families on Formentera, Enright and two desperado pals head to London in a beat-up car and do some risky travellers cheque scams. Then, restless and unsure of his love for his partner, he makes a hair-raising trek to Turkey in the depths of winter to find hashish for the group. Things go badly awry and he find himself a fugitive, at the mercy of unreliable friends. Part road story, drug story, love story,Dope in the Age of Innocenceis fundamentally a parable about drug enlightenment, the loss and rediscovery of love and the tempering of innocence.

It’s an absolutely cracking read and held me until the very end, a definite must for those of the Balearic way inclined.

Much to my delight I very recently received news that Mr Phil Mison, Balearic mainstay and resident DJ at The Cafe Del Mar in the early nineties has organised a talk and a Q&A with the author, on all things Ibiza and book related.  The illustrious Mr Enright himself will be holding court on an evening of most excellent music to be held on the 20th of February at The Three Kings in Clerkenwell:

To guarantee entrance on the night email Phil himself on; philmison@hotmail.com

The night is also blessed with the musical accompaniment of Colorama and Shawn Lee, a must and not one to be missed for the Balearic faithful.

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Review – La Escollera Session One – Selections by Gavin Kendrick and Phil Cooper

Picture the scene; a small terraced restaurant perched directly on a rocky outcropping of coastline, with crystal clear azure waters and hidden caves, bordered by deep, thick, luxuriant pine forest.

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This is Es Cavallet on the south coast of Ibiza, a neighbouring beach to Salinas and a hidden Ibizencan treasure.  Here we find one of Ibiza’s best kept secrets, a restaurant; La Escollera.

La Escorella is a family owned restaurant with over twenty years in the business, both Gavin Kendrick and Phil Cooper have been invited to grace the decks there for the last few years, giving them both the musical freedom to dig deep within their extensive, eclectic vinyl collections to bring forth the most obscure of hidden gems.  This type of musical freedom can only really be explored in a place like La Escollera, and here we have the compilation album to prove it.

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From the outset the vibe is chilled kicking off proceedings with BJ Smith (AKA Smith & Mudd) Runnin, we now know where this comp is heading.  I’m glad to say that we are treated to one of the most forward thinking Ibiza “chill out” albums in a very long time.  The long running Jockey Club Salinas Sessions have been very hit and miss over the last few years with only the odd incarnation hitting the spot.  Most of the other offerings always fall far from the mark.

However here we are presented with a truly adverse interpretation of the Balearic Beat.  As is all that should be with Balearic “anything goes” and this really is true with this outstanding compilation.  Using the extensive musical knowledge of both Kendrick and Cooper we are really transported directly to La Escollera and their truly unique sunset sessions.  Usually intimate and enjoyed by the few, now the music can now be enjoyed by all, with musical styles ranging from Reggae to Hip Hop to Soul to House.

This compilation quite literally knocks spots off the competition, I haven’t enjoyed an Ibiza compilation album so much as the original Cafè Del Mar mixed by Josè Padilla back in 1994, this really is a future classic in the making.

10/10

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Review – BJ Smith – ‘Dedications to the Greats part 2’ – Hey Ya! and Prototype

It has to be said I originally approached these tracks with some trepidation, I’m not a huge Outkast fan and a bit stuck in my ways when it comes to hip hop so I couldn’t quite see how these reworks could make the tracks any better.  I’m glad to say I was wrong, very wrong.

Hey Ya!  Pricked up my ears immediately with a beautiful flamenco acoustic guitar, light floaty lyrics and a low slung groove, a whole world of difference from the original.  This track rolls on beautifully with large purely instrumental sections, reverb guitars and sun soaked vibes abound.

Prototype begins with a soaring synth and strings which immediately lifts the soul, peppered horn stabs bring a very pleasant welcome surprise, this rework definitely has a very 70’s soul feel to it, a definite change for the better.

I think these are both exactly the type of tracks that would cause a raising of the eyebrows in surprise when thrown into a sunset set, followed by a very large grin of recognition, absolutely top drawer.

9/10

Review – The Young Gentleman’s Adventure Society / Parada 88: Adventure Party / You’re Gonna Miss Me

International Feel, the quintessential Balearic label, not content with producing some of the most sought after 12” vinyl in the last three years, have also recently gifted us with two Killer EP’s and an album all from the  “Sketches From An Island” project, and a totally new production by one of the men who started it all José Padilla.

In 2011 the label put out two separate releases with an extremely limited run on each, so much so it actually caused a mini riot in a Japanese store.  These releases are on the Discgos want list of many a vinyl enthusiasts with copies changing hands upwards of £200.

Just to put those proud owners noses out of joint just a tiny tad, but great news for the rest of us, Mark Barrott has decided to re-release both tracks. Mark states; “the simple fact is these records have power and I just want more people to hear them”.

The Young Gentleman’s Adventure Society / Parada 88: Adventure Party / You’re Gonna Miss Me, although relatively new productions definitely carry more than an air of nostalgia to them, and in my humble opinion have successfully captured a sound from the heady earlier days of the acid house explosion.

Both are on release Monday August 18th, get em while they’re hot!

10/10

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Clandestino 212 Promo Mix

Track List:

Intro
Hubbabubbaklub – Mopedbart (Death Strobe Records)
Parkway Rhythm – The Answer. Mark Seven Club Mix (Parkway Records)
Volta Cab – Native Talk (Pole Jam Vinyl)
Weirdo Police – Electronic Cretin (Redux)
Popular People’s Front – Anyway Ya Wanna (PPF)
Fernando – From Out There (Bear Funk)
Chicken Lips – 3 Soaps In One (Kingsize)
Deep Sound Express – Changes (Pole Jam Vinyl)
Secret Squirrel – Side B (Secret Squirrel)
Silver Linings – Sleepless (Gulf Point Records)
The Grid & Robert Fripp – A Cabala Sky
Khidja – Mustafa. JuJu & Jordash Remix (Emotional Especial)

Check out the event here:
www.facebook.com/events/333949470091736/

My Ibiza And The Changing Nature Of The Balearic Beat

I stepped out of the door of the plane and walked straight into a heavy wall of heat, instantly the strong stinging scent of salt from the salt flats and the thick heavy aroma of pines hit my nostrils and my stomach was filled with butterflies.  It instantly felt like home.

This was September in 1990 and my first visit to the Island which would take a very special place in mine and my families heart.

Myself and two very close friends were regulars at Charlie Chester’s night, Flying at the Soho Theatre Club behind the Astoria,  and Phil Perry’s Full Circle Parties at The Greyhound in Colnbrook in Slough.  We were avid readers and attenders of the Boys Own fanzine and parties and had heard all the tales of the clubbing paradise that was the white island so we booked up and made the pilgrimage.

To walk into Space for the first time and onto that Terrace to hear extremely loud music at 8am in the morning was a bit of epiphany to say the least.  We couldn’t believe that the club was open air, and this loud!  We had found a perfect playground; hot sun, beautiful sea, sand and locals that had a totally carefree and completely tolerant attitude.  For me that was it, I had found nirvana.

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We visited the huge cavernous Ku, danced on the terrace at Amnesia and went to the water party at Es Paradis, but I think the crowning glory was after the madness, watching the sun go down at Cafe Del Mar, sitting on the beach with a few hundred like minds, smoking a spliff  and enjoying a chocolate milk and brandy, all set to the most amazing sunset soundtrack I had every heard.  The strangest mix of genres, although completely different all seemed to meld perfectly together, and in the beach setting of the Cafe Del Mar.  This was and still remains to be one of the most special and tranquil times in my life, and holds the most fantastic dear memories for me.

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The two weeks came to and end but of course that was just the beginning.  We returned every year for our two week fix, and I have done ever since.  Each time when I returned to the UK my search to hear the music that was played at Cafe Del Mar and my interest in the DJ’s that played it was piqued.  It took four years but finally in 1994 Cafe Del Mar brought out an album, which I bought immediately and it still remains as one of my most played to this day.  It was mixed by none other than José Padilla, the very DJ I had heard playing this emotionally charged music in the first place.

http://www.discogs.com/Various-Caf%C3%A9-Del-Mar/release/6855

It was then that I heard that a local DJ from home had secured a residency at the Café; Phil Mison, an Essex lad that drunk at our local The Bridge House in Upminster Bridge.  Phil had a chance meeting with Jose and was invited to play.

Since those early days I have been captivated by this musical style, I will always have a huge love for House and Techno but the same can be said for this very distinct sound.

With Ibiza’s meteoric rise in popularity in the years that followed, and the growth of the super clubs the sunsets at Cafe Del Mar are much changed, the last time I visited (which was a good few years back) instead of a few hundred on the beach now there are thousands.  With the pre-party bar Mambo next door this guarantees a heaving throng of sweaty revellers, not very tranquil at all!  There are however other alternatives now to be enjoyed, Sunset Ashram and Cap Dés Falcó being two amazing spots to enjoy a less hectic Ibizencan sunset.

http://www.sunsetashram.com/en/

http://cap-des-falco.ibiza.ibiza4all.org/

In 2010 I returned but this time with my family.  We had a completely different holiday and a saw a totally different side to the island.  Every visit previous to this had been pure madness.  We rented a small house in Cala Vadella an idyllic bay on the West coast of the island, around twenty minutes drive from the airport.  We hired a car and driving to our new holiday home for the first time ever I realised that the entire island is covered in pine trees.  I hang my head in shame!

The Greeks called the island “Pitiüses” or Land Of The Pines, now I could see why.  Some family friends of ours live on the island all summer long and gave us some tips of places to visit.  We drove up to Satalia, the highest point on the island.  From here you can really see the full extent of the thick pine forest;

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Our friends have a boat and took us to Cala Conta, where the amazing Sunset Ashram can be found.  To discover this side of the island after all these years only proved to ingrain the power of Balearic music and made the link to the island within me ever stronger.

Thankfully these days we have many bastions of the Balearic sound probably more now than ever before;

Mison himself releases under the moniker Cantoma and with Pete Herbert Reverso 68.  In 2013 Phil launched Highwood Recordings, a new imprint for this unique sound.

http://www.cantomamusic.com/

Claremont 56 is a standout label too, run by Paul Murphy features some of the most forward thinking music around, including the excellent Originals series, of which Mr Mison mixed the 6th version:

http://www.claremont56.com/

And of course there is the quintessential Balearic label International Feel, conceived in 2008 on the Uruguayan coast, Mark Barrott the label boss now lives on the island, his recent release Sketches From An Island in my opinion is a near on perfect audio embodiment of the island:

http://sketchesfromanisland.com/

Also flying the flag for all things Balearic is the truly excellent Test Pressing, which has a vast amount of information plus tons of music, a must for the intrigued:

http://testpressing.org/

And in 2014 a regular Balearic Sunday night affair at The Horse & Groom in Curtain Road, Shoreditch; Música Noche, already in its fourth incarnation with such eminent guests as Phil Mison himself, Nancy Noise, Daniele Baldelli and Ruf Dug holding court, the next party is a Carnival warm up scheduled for the 1st of August with none other than Tom Middleton playing upstairs;

https://www.facebook.com/events/850362681660016/

Salud!

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http://boilerroom.tv/channels/house/balearic-beat/