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Spleen - Fusionary Pt I (Back To the Balearics)

The 'downtempo/moody/dreamy' section in my record collection might be quite modest in comparison to the hundreds of disco records and the thousands of house twelves I've amassed in the last decade and a half (much to the chagrin of my better half I should add), yet over the past years it is precisely this section that has slowly but surely become the focal point of my homelistening escapades. I blame the wee buggers in my household: there's only so much hi-energy italo one can handle after yet another broken night with toddlers squeeling about impending monster invasions and misplaced ponies of the 'my little' persuasion.

The latest addition to the rapidly expanding wonky downtempo tackle section on my shelves is Spleen's recent EP on Back to the Balearics. The label's lush inaugural release by Maricopa has been one of the highlights of the year for me, with its otherworldly, soul soothing dreamscapes which could best be described as the sonic equivalent of a fine cup of Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea. (If you missed that record, check it out here). I'm happy to report the sophomore effort from the BTTB label falls into the same category.

Spleen - a production outfit from Berlin - manages to steer clear from the much-ridiculed 'balearic template' (five minute beatless intro, cosmic pads, soft drums, noodly guitar, presto), capturing what sounds like impromptu jamsessions of a bunch of musicians with a love for rhythm, jazz and dub. Lead track 'Not So Far' immediately brings back memories of Tosca'a seminal Suzuki/Suzuki in Dub, two records I played to a mad pulp in the 90s. A slow, shuffling broken beat get propelled forward by a moody bassline, crips percussion, bits of guitar and some fine humming. In a way the track is the antithesis of the output of the Ableton masses, as it's not a clean loop-driven synthetic affair, but a proper song with tiny flaws and oodles of flair. On 'Works' on the B1 the dub-ante is upped considerably, and to great effect. If you liked Boozoo Bayou back in the day you'll love this slow, dreamy groover with its live drums to bits.

'Fragments', also on the B-side, sounds like an extended interlude with its bare beat and eerie chanting. A nice little bonus on a really special record indeed. Organic mission accomplished, look forward to hearing more from Spleen (Fusionary Pt II should be a safe guess?) and the BTTB label, who have another Maricopa record in the works that is bound to be sound.


  1. I don't think the clips on Juno did it justice or maybe it's your witty writing! Another well written article for sure.

    I had listened to and passed on this , but will probably snag it up in my next buy now. I was a fan of BB and even opened up for them once here in the ATL.

  2. I am absolutely loving your taste in music. You are making me aware of amazing records that I otherwise would have absolute no clue about! Thanks!

    You wouldnt happen to know who did this edit of Billy Paul's People Power:

    1. Hey, glad to hear you're enjoying our write-ups :-) Just asked around for you and managed to ID your track, it's on here: Thanks for the tip, just got a copy of Discogs!

    2. Wa-hay! Thank you soooo much and respect to Itch Records! I have been searching the internet for months for this 12" & its not really a surprise that I had no joy as the "Paul" reference is not much of a give away!

      I even asked Dr Dunks & whilst he was kind enough to respond twice, he couldn't find it & thought it was on a red label.

      I am glad you dig it & bought a copy. I noticed one went missing from discogs! Makes up a little bit for all the killer records you profile on your site. That Niccolo Cupo 7" is absolutely wicked!

      Many thanks again for putting a big smile on my stoopid face!



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