Originals album cover

Moonboots , Balearic Mike

Claremont 56

Balearic archival is a funny old business. The market (including streaming services) are flooded with compilations with a sketchy degree of legality, and a pretty slapdash sense of aesthetics to boot. But when it’s done well, it’s done really, really well. “Balearic Mike” Smith and Richard “Moonboots” Bithell are both mainstays of the Manchester scene, with close connections to clubland legends like Luvdup, Justin Robertson and co — though are perhaps as known and loved for their tenures in the city’s record shops. Moonboots is also, along with Low Life party resident DJ Jolyon Green, responsible for one of the best Balearic playlists in existence: begun by the pair in 2010 and subsequently expanded by Green into a deliriously sprawling 69-hour (!!) affair. Together, they created the first of a 10-edition compilation series for the Claremont 56 label, which ranges from first-generation Balearic inspiration (the 1982 Italian pop-soul of Band Aid — no not that Band Aid), through second generation dance (again from Italians: The Night-S-Press in 1989, sampling older Balearic indie staple “Jesus on the Payroll” by Thrashing Doves) to the then modern. The latter includes gorgeous chill out by Café Del Mar resident Phil Mison and Claremont 56 founder Paul “Mudd” Murphy. The wonderful thing about this kind of compiling done this well — with loving remastering, sleeve notes etc — is that the compilations themselves become collector’s items, and so the cycle starts all over again.

Joe Muggs

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