11 producers sit down and tell their lockdown stories through the medium of tropical and balearic sounds.
Where the rest of the world freaked out, the folks at MM DIscos spent a good part of 2020’s quasi-global lockdown putting together something more subdued. The result is Palm Trees, Tequila and other Lockdown stories, 11 tracks that cruise through a selection of the downbeat sounds that the label has become known for.
Modern Obscure Music boss Pedro Vian opens proceedings with a minute-long skit, where a deliberate flurry of strings, woodwind and acoustic guitar disappear as quickly as they arrived, laden with reverb and starry-eyed magic; the aptly titled ‘Prelude’ sets the tone well.
The first full length track is Mateis e. aqir’s ‘All Possible Stars’, which shuffles its way along a bed of 16th-note drum patterns and wiry electric organ, fondling the resonance and seducing the listener to please, come lie down with me and gaze at the stars, won’t you? Following on, Rompante’s ‘Tropical Quarentino’ continues in sub-110 bpm territory, a lively marimba exercise evoking the balearic beach sessions that never happened. Rompante jams on legacy synth voices in tropical scale and the evening runs it course.
‘Chillan Love’ by Jepe ups the energy and pairs cowbells with xylophone clangs, modulating on single notes until a fine arpeggio disco main section. Track 5 sees Is It Balearic? bosses Coyote bring ‘Spiritual Movement’ which lays out spacious percussion and cheeky, low-slung piano stabs. SFX and dubs swim around Rastafari monologue, recalling the spirit of certain tracks on their recent full-length ‘Buzzard Country’.
‘A Little Life’ by Josè Manuel is wide, brooding and full of interesting percussive sounds, wrangling with its own melodies amid spaceship noises and Janissary-ty[e percussion. Satisfyingly, it never kicks in. Then we have Volta Cab’s ‘Ramatuelle Tahiti’, which starts with lo-fi indie dance feels and moves into a hazy, late-night build up – eventually. around the two-minute mark, it breaks into a deep, slow boogie number where strings float above that tight rhythm section and everything feels aaaallright. Album highlight.
Track 8 is ‘Paint it Right’ courtesy of Document Swell, who give a ticking clock feel to their straight up kick drums and slappy melodic timbre, sounding something like nu-disco with a more earthy, organic groove. Lovely stuff that. The LP rounds out with a new production from ‘Greek balearica devotees’ Bonnie & Klein.’Sunconciuos’ is a slow, Italo-inspired groove with wandering melodies and poignant grand piano – the last track before sundown.
Palm Trees, Tequila and other Lockdown stories is available on digital now via MM Discos.