Updated: Mar 8
This month sees Andy Wilson blow fifty euros on an outrageously good selection.
Ibiza's Balearic stalwart dives into Bandcamp with his unbridled passion for decent music, and shares his treasures found with our discerning readers.
Firstly, some shameless promotion of Britain's finest mini festival, where you can catch us both this Summer.
Thank you Bully for inviting me to contribute to the blog with tales of my latest shopping expedition on Bandcamp. This was different from my regular forays on the site as I don’t have any DJ gigs coming up, and usually I’m looking for tunes that I can play in my sets, whether for sunset, poolside or dancefloor, but this time I haven’t really picked any club bangers or disco delights– the focus is more on home listening tackle , although I would play any of these selections in my poolside sessions and on my radio shows, they’re all pretty Balearic of course .
First up – a fab single from the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band with their renditions of tracks by two of my favourite singers – Grace Jones’ My Jamaican Guy and Erykah Badu’s The Healer (the one where she goes ‘ Hip hop .. is bigger than religion‘). The mysterious band and their steel pan sound are best known for their version of 50 Cents P.I.M.P. and I reckon My Jamaican Guy is even better, even if it is too short at only 02:40! Two top tunes for a dollar apiece, ker-ching!
Next I’ve picked a Balearic RnB Disco mash-up EP from New York veteran DJ and Wax Poetics co-founder Monk-One. There are 3 versions of the track built around a sample of Edie Brickell’s What I Am , one with MJB’s Be Happy vocal , one with Gwen McRae’s 90% Of Me and a proper head-nodder instrumental . One for the summer BBQ’s we’re all dreaming of at the moment …. Mine for another $3 , happy days .
Vintage reggae and dub are what keep my spirits up every day , and one of the best reggae re-issue labels is Dub Store Records from Tokyo, official Studio One Agency for Japan and with a massive catalogue of Jamaican originals lovingly curated and all released on vinyl. Happily they also do digital downloads for those of us who can’t afford the shipping costs from Asia. The latest beauty on the label is from the legendary saxophonist/flautist and band leader Cedric Im Brooks – the Rasta Sun Ra - and is a a wonderful combo of jazz and roots. A-side Blackness of Darkness starts off as uptempo jazz dance then morphs into a deep and heavy dub, B-Side Africa Calling is a mystic dub classic. Only $3 but priceless!
Now from Japan via Jamaica to the Balearic capital of Manchester, home to loads of great musicians and producers, such as James Holroyd aka Boggy aka Begin. Tour DJ for the Chems and original resident at Bugged Out and Back To Basics, Boggy has been quietly releasing amazing records for years on various labels –another track has just dropped today - and they all sound amazing here in Ibiza. One Man’s Junk sounds like summer has arrived – simple acoustic guitars, tambourine, strings – and has such a warm feeling you could sunbathe to it. Instant sunshine for just €2!
Staying in Manchester for a compilation from Gondwana Records , the label run by UK jazz hero Matthew Halsall and home to the Portico Quartet, GoGo Penguin and Paradise Cinema, amongst others. All those artists can be found on this LP , a Best of 2020 selected by Matthew himself. It’s undoubtedly a golden age for UK jazz at the moment , but whereas the sound out of London can be quite frantic and freeform, the Gondwana sound is of a calmer more spiritual bent – song titles on the comp. include Summer, Utopia and Harmony With Nature – and sounds fab by the pool or late night fireside . Only a fiver for 7 tracks and bonus points as all proceeds go to the homelessness charity Shelter so you can stick a bit extra on top if you can afford it.
Heading over the Pennines to the city of Hull and down to the garden shed where Fila Brasilia main man Steve Cobby has his studio and recorded this fantastic LP; dedicated to his mum with the touching /soppy title I’ve Loved You All My Life. I used to try and collect records on Steve’s Pork label as there were so many crackers on there, and he’s maintained the quality and variety with his current label Declassé . Whether he’s making Larry Heard-esque deep house or achingly beautiful downtempo gems like stand-out The Years Haven’t Been Kind, he’s right at the top of his game here. Only seven quid unless you’d like to help Steve press it onto vinyl in which case it’s a $20 pledge with the promise of a lovely record in the future.
One of the things I love about Bandcamp is being able to follow friends and other DJs and find recommendations via their purchases. Thanks to Jason Boardman of Aficionado I’ve bought a wonderful LP of vintage Parisian sleaze, Italian library vibes, melancholic bossa moments and dark soundtrack themes by London-based duo Discodor on the ace Wonderfulsound, a subscription-based label where you get six 7” singles a year for a few euritos a month. This is the kind of LP I can stick on rotation and leave it playing all afternoon . Discodor are an Anglo-French duo with a CV that includes working with Shawn Lee , St Etienne and Clutchy Hopkins, so if you like any of those, you’ll love this.
And finally , with my last few Paypal pennies, I’ve pre-ordered an album on one of my favourite labels, Claremont 56 . It’s by Hillside and its called Sunday In June , but thankfully I won’t have to wait till June to download it, as it’s released in April. I wish I could afford the vinyl of this, as the artwork is beautiful, as usual from Claremont 56, but I’m very happy to be getting the beautiful music in a few weeks. There’s a gorgeous remix from Joe Clausell included, and you can hear clips on Soundcloud.
The band describe it as ‘an imaginary soundtrack to a long, lazy drive down the U.S West Coast‘ and as few of us are likely to be going anywhere for a while, this will have to satisfy my cravings for travel for the time being!
I paid a tenner for it and that brings my total spend to €49.88, loads of fab music for under fifty bucks: win win!
Catch Andy Wilson's radio show Balearia at midday CET every Wednesday.
This hugely popular transmission can be found on Ibiza's Sonica, which boasts over 16 million monthly listeners. Ka-boom! Music For Dreams in Copenhagen also broadcast the show on Saturdays.
If you find yourself on the white isle, head to Pikes, Hostal La Torre, Casa Maca or Wax da Jam to catch him behind the decks.
Many thanks to Andy for writing this piece.
Please think about spending your music budget on ethical platforms.
Beats & peace