Telepopmusik contributes “Breathe” on Cafe del Mar Vol. 23.
One of the oldest chill-out compilations series, Cafe del Mar, recently released a new 30-track CD. The series is named after a popular nightclub in the city of Sant Antoni de Portmany on Ibiza, an island off the east coast of Spain. Since the 1980s, the owner of Cafe del Mar sold audio tapes of the music played there. The first Cafe del Mar CD was released in 1994, and the owner formally founded the Cafe del Mar Music label in 1999.
The label describes its music as “the sound that matches the spectacular scenery and spirit of Ibiza,” and it has evolved over the years into everything from ambient instrumentals to electronic dance music with a downtempo beat.
Artists featured on past albums include Pat Metheny, Jean-Michel Jarre, A.R. Rahman, Chicane, M83, The xx, Afterlife, Moby, and Jens Gad of UK electronic band Enigma. Jens still produces music under the name Achillea from his recording studio overlooking Ibiza.
As I sampled tracks for my radio show, I was drawn to music from artists in the UK, France, and Scandinavia. My first-pass downloads are described here.
The vocals of Angela McCluskey are featured on “Breathe.”
• Télépopmusik (France): “Breathe (Kartell Slow Remix).” The original 2002 Grammy-nominated song was released on the band’s first CD, Genetic World, featuring the vocals of Angela McCluskey, a Scottish singer-songwriter. This extended version was remixed by the French DJ-producer Kartell with more intricate, slowed-down basslines and gentle percussion, making it much more ambient that the peppy original.
• White Elephant (UK): “Sir John.” This collaboration of Jim Bacon, Chris Todd, and Ben Smith (formerly of Smith & Mudd) creates music that ranges from “extended Valium-ambience” to Kraut-rock-pop. “Sir John” offers a splendid blend of jazz-tinged acoustic guitar and soft percussion around a droning synthesizer wash floating in the background.
• Brian Eno (UK): “Fickle Sun (III) I’m Set Free.” Pioneering UK composer Brian Eno has taken to singing in recent years, with good results. This track from his 2016 CD The Ship exhibits resonant harmonies and a pleasant melody. The lyrics describe the arduous life of hard-working people making a living at sea.
• Zero 7 with Jose Gonzalez (UK/ Norway): “Last Light.” The epic Zero 7 collaboration of Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker (both from UK) first worked with Norway’s Jose Gonzalez on The Garden (2006). In 2015 they produced this track for Zero 7’s EP3. I just love the ambient blues chill motif and Jose’s beautiful lyrics and singing.
• Bibio (UK): “Petals.” Inspired by the Scottish band Boards of Canada, Stephen Wilkinson is the 38-year-old English producer known as Bibio. He composes electronic and experimental instrumental tracks on Warp Records. This 2015 track features his signature guitar effects and shoegazer vocals.
Sometimes compilations are disappointing, but this one is a testament to the creative spirit of the Cafe del Mar series. It inspired me to go back through the other 22 disks to see what I might have missed. Maybe it will inspire you, too.
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