For the third volume of compilations curated by confrmed crate diggers, Spacetalk invites you to take a trip to the magical Mediterranean resort of Club Meduse in the company of Beachfreaks Records co-founder Charles Bals.
A creative director, designer and curator by trade, Bals spends the majority of his spare time searching for superb, unknown, small-run music releases made between the 1970s and 1990s. While some of these are made available for other enthusiasts to buy via Beachfreaks’ mail-order service, many more make it into
the racks of Bals’ private collection. With Club Meduse, Bals is sharing rare, hard-to-fnd and just plain brilliant gems from his personal stash for the very frst time. For Club Meduse, Bals was inspired by countless magic childhood summers spent playing amongst the rocks, beaches and warm seas of the Cote D’Azur. The compilation, then, is a soundtrack to the greatest soft-focus, sunlit teenage summer holiday you’ve never had, with a gaggle of forgotten musicians and overlooked artists for company.
Take a barefoot stroll from the campsite to the beach with Ara Macao, whose warm and lucid Canyon’ is a softly-spun delight, before splashing in the crystal clear waters to the accompaniment of The Clean-Hands Group and their 1984 Balearic blue-eyed soul gems Night Fly’ and Shake It On’.As the sun comes down, clamber across the cooling rocks with the tumbling, sun-kissed guitar solos and sparkling analogue synthesizer motifs of The
Keyboys’ leisurely Savannah’ ringing in your ears, before using the words of Gemini’s Take A Chance’ – undoubtedly the most Balearic record to emerge from Sweden in the last 50 years – to get firtatious under the moonlight.
Should you fancy a dance down the camp disco, Bals’ selections will gently ease you onto the dancefoor and into the gaze of the boy or girl of your dreams. The fuzzy Italo-boogie of the C.V.Q Band’s Whatever You Do (Instrumental)’ will get you going, while Miss’s 1984 French electro gem Hip Hop’ should guarantee a
celebratory conclusion to the night’s party. No perfect holiday evening is complete without a stolen kiss in a secluded cove, and happily Bals has it covered. Check the seductive, dub-powered Balearic synth-boogie of Gigi Flag’s brilliant Nymphomaniac (Instrumental)’, the steamy sweetness of Bals’ own edit of The One O’ Ones Radio Cosmo In the summer of 2018 Beachfreaks Records founder and celebrated crate digger Charles Bals threw open the doors of Club Meduse, an imaginary open-air venue on the Cote D’Azure where the obscure but inspired soundtrack is always humid, sun-kissed, synthesizer-heavy and proudly European. The resultant compilation was acclaimed by both music critics and record buyers, so two years on Bals has once more joined forces with Spacetalk to re-open Club Meduse for another imaginary summer season beneath the baking-hot Mediterranean sun. Acting again as in-house DJ, Bals has dipped into his personal stash of obscure, overlooked and little-known gems and selected a soundtrack rich in drowsy chanson vocals, glistening Spanish guitar lines, Latin-tinged drum machine rhythms, rushing Fairlight stabs and sparkling synthesizer sounds. Having gone to great lengths to track down the musicians behind the music, he’s joined in the virtual DJ booth by a wealth of forgotten artists whose magical music he holds so dear.
This time round there’s an undeniable 1980s flavour to proceedings with all but one of the tracks – Claude Miss’s African-influenced 1990 Balearic pop shuffler “Paco Ye Adame” – being produced and released during the decade. As with its predecessor, Meduse (Retour au Club) contains a mixture of off-kilter, barely known dancefloor cuts and the kind of drowsy, slow-motion tracks that are best suited to lazy afternoons by the pool and early evenings spent squinting towards the sunset. In this category you’ll find the ambient-pop bliss of Lili’s fretless bass and Flamenco guitar-sporting “Gitana Morena”, the slow-motion brilliance of Belgian outfit Capco’s “No Vayas Al Sol” (featuring the vocals of future Benelux pop star BeaLuna), the trumpet-laden magic of Nathalie David’s “Coup De Foudre (Instrumental)” – a track written by her songwriter father Jacques Bendavid – and the Mediterranean pop slickness of Jean-Claude Watrin’s “Game City”.
If dancing in your Speedos or swimming costume is your thing, Bals also has you covered. Check, for example, the “Midnight Mix” of Jade 4 U’s Praga Khan produced 1988 gem “Rainbows” – a prize slice of new beat/synth pop fusion powered forward by a bold, headline-grabbing bassline – or De Dion’s “Sexy Cola (Glu Glu Version)”, a jaunty, hard-to-explain mixture of pop cheeriness, Art of Noise experimentation and summer holiday glee. Or for that matter the reggae/zouk/electro fusion of Les 36 15’s effervescent “Zoulous (Remix)” and the boogie-era Gallic jazz-funk of Marc et Frank’s “Cap’tain Coke” – a cut recorded in a Paris studio by two prisoners on day release, jointly funded by the French ministries of justice and culture. When you’re done dancing, there’s plenty to soundtrack those wide-eyed late night romantic moments too, not least the bubbly, 80s-soul influenced chanson delight of Weekend Millionaire’s “Exit”, the gentle reggae/synth-pop fusion of L’s private press delight “La Boite Musique” and Cecilia’s seductive synth-pop shuffler “Chocolat”, the B-side of a seven-inch single that now changes hands for hundreds of pounds online.