The new decade dawns with a message of love and hope from Balearic envoy Phil Mison and his fourth LP under the Cantoma moniker. Joined by old friends and new acquaintances, Señor Misono draws on a lifetime of record collecting, selection and songwriting to pack ‘Into Daylight’ with the essence of the Balearic movement, from the Café del Mar and beyond. Frequent flyer Quinn Lamont Luke touches down for the tender embrace of ‘Back Into Daylight’, lending his honeyed vocals to Phil’s balmy pads and subtle guitar in a reminder to let go of the past and look towards a better future. Blink-and-you missed it 2018 single ‘Verbana’ follows on, serving quicksilver guitar between its polyrhythmic groove and breezy flute. Spanish vocals dub out into the distance, carrying the essence of the White Isle to wherever we may be; it is one world after all. In fact, ‘Kasoto’, appearing here in its original form for the first time, was committed to tape in Gambia with help from Advoms Skhaan. The twinkling keys and Jojo Mendy’s spiritual vocals ride the low slung groove perfectly, leading us to a promised land of triumphant horns and ecstatic kora.
‘Space For Us’ sees the return of previous collaborator Suad Khalifa, whose soulful vocals join glassy keys, snaking bass and elegant organ for a soothing Balearic lullaby. It’s a forgotten daydream of Antenna playing ‘Riders On The Storm’ brought to life with a carefree perfection. ‘A Night At Après Midi’ takes us to the midpoint with velveteen textures and the bright brass of 70s soul, balanced to perfection by airy flute and a fiddle carried over on the breeze from the Gypsy Camp. The second half opens with the decade’s first great love song, ‘Road Home’. Naive melodies and gentle woodblocks fuse Latin rhythms and Americana, allowing the space for David Philips to muse on the importance of the moment and parting’s sweet sorrow. ‘Solando’ sees Phil set the mirror-ball to half time with a serious slow disco groove, forged out of Doobie Brothers rhythm guitar and shuffling percussion. Luna Astri’s seductive bilingual vocals pour on the charm, melting our collective heart before Mr Mison caresses every drop of emotion from those flamenco flourishes.
From there we ride Route 1 down the coast on ‘Another Place’, keeping on eye on the blue Pacific as the sincere AOR melts into the sophisticated synth pop of ‘Closer’, a nocturnal romance driven by slinking clarinet, a shimmering arpeggio and another wonderful vocal contribution from Luna Astri. Finally, Phil plays us out with the loved up lilt of essential sundowner ‘The Mountain’, where Spanish sketches of a subtle body bring back those hazy afternoons in San Antonio.