Hold your breath and pray for the return of the sun and you may just have a perfect soundtrack to some summertime jollies. Out Of The Blue hits those blissed out, warm but detached sweet spots with impressive regularity. And if the diluvian mayhem currently being rained down on your intrepid reviewer is a portent of things to come, it’s time to get pious, folks, pronto.
Phil Mison is the perfect fellow to curate a collection like this, of course. A one-time resident at Cafe Del Mar, his soundtracking of sunsets and easing of weary clubbers once more into the night is justifiably legendary. From the opener ‘Jelly‘ by The Cactus Rose Project coming across like a dubbed-out take on ‘Long Train Running‘ by the Doobie Brothers, you know you’re in safe hands. Safe but nonetheless thrilling hands.
The 14 tracks have been lifted from early Ibiza sets in 1993 and also more recent discoveries. What unites them all is that pervasive warmth one thinks about in an idealised trip to the Balearic island. “Loved up” was the phrase back in the ’90s and it’s an entirely appropriate description now. Maligned it may be but there are worse things to have in life than a generous approach to your fellow man. And though this is serious music with serious pedigree – as you’d expect from a selector of the calibre of Mison – a sense of joy and sand between the toes is never far away.
The collection skirts around the early evening soundtrack from the white island with no little dexterity. ‘The End‘ by Frank de Wulf is frankly unimpeachable. A glorious, piano-led and beatless tune that still manages an arse-waggling groove. The perfect track to prick up one’s ears and consider, “You know what, let’s not stay in after all“.
As always with Balearica, things occasionally get perilously close to the odd bit of cheese. But then, it was ever thus. Christ, back in the day, a Mandy Smith offering even had a brief moment in the sun for those in the know. Very good it was too. And if Chris Rea can make the grade, the spritely ‘Forever‘ by Christoph Spendel Group, for all its ability to forcefully arch your eyebrow and wonder if you really should be enjoying it, sure as hell can.
If all else fails and you neither get to sunny climes or it rains here all summer, turn the heating up, whack this excellent compilation on and go have a frolic in the bath. When ‘The Jazz Man‘ by Moodswings rolls around, with its insistent keyboard and hefty kick drum, you’ll have booked a night out, rubber duck in tow.
Out Of The Blue is out on July 9th through Leng Records.