A month after the release of his debut album as Tambores En Benirras, 2021’s fabulous Orbe Dotodo, Graham Newby’s life changed forever. After years living with a visual impairment, his sight had deteriorated so much that he was declared “registered blind”. For a man who had spent decades dividing his time between travelling, DJing, running clubs and lengthy sessions in his own studio, it was a genuinely life-changing moment.
It was against this backdrop, and the need to alter his working methods, that Ondas Horizontales, the second Tambores En Benirras album took shape. Inspired by a mixture of daydreaming, visualisation, immersion in other people’s music (escapism that provided mood enhancement, rather than a specific set of ideas) and long periods spent soaking up the sun in Ibiza, the album is the most vividly detailed, sonically colourful, and sun-soaked collection that Newby has released to date.
Newby’s declining sight forced him to stop spending long spells staring at a screen and undoubtedly slowed down the production process. Yet it also allowed him to reconnect with his emotions, appreciate the storytelling and mood-shifting potential of music, and mine mind’s eye memories of places and spaces that have meant much to him over the years.
The results are undeniably stunning. Designed with horizontal listening in mind, the set distils a range of musical and real-life inspirations –or, as he puts it, “ambient soundtracks, cosmic journeys, Balearic rhythms and poolside sessions” – into ten mesmerising and magical tracks; an undulating, slow-motion journey that’s as breath-taking as it is beguiling.
Newby sets the tone with ‘Mi Sueno Vibe En Reverb’, a swelling, slow-burn ambient masterpiece that tiptoes between hope and melancholia, before flitting between imaginary sunset soundtracks (‘Estrellas En Mastella’, where lilting pedal steel sounds, bubbling electronics and shuffling breakbeats catch the ear), kaleidoscopic sun-up beats (the gorgeous warmth of ‘Generadora De Reyos’), enveloping beatless soundscapes (‘Templos Del Sol’, a drowsy drift in becalmed waters under the heat of the mid-afternoon sun), and dubby, loved-up lusciousness (‘Mokono’).
As the album progresses, bobbing and weaving on an ocean of vibrant chords, pulsing melodies and heart-stopping melodies, there’s no sign of Newby’s inspiration waving. ‘Alma Hablando’ channels the spirit of mid-80s ‘worldbeat’ and douses it in layers of Balearic bliss, while ‘Extrensor Entragado’ recalls the head-nodding haziness of his best Gripper productions of old while combining them with the musical equivalent of a humid summer breeze. Then there’s the mood-enhancing joy of the album’s superb title track –a mission statement of sorts – and the life-affirming post trip-hop/Balearic fusion of ‘Un Placer Celestial (Reprise)’, where the influence of his old friend Aim is clearly evident.
A serious sonic step-up from its predecessor and a future Balearic classic in its’ own right, Ondas Horizontales marks the start of a new musical and personal journey for its creator. It is, in his words, not the end of an era, but the start of a new one.
Rocky [X Press 2] – This is beautiful. I could lose myself in the whole album. Wonderful stuff.
Ruf Dug – Gripper aka Tambores En Benirras is a boss
Marco [Hell Yeah recordings, Italy] – This sounds like one of the best things ever, very focused record.
Jona Jefferies [Buena Onda, Germany] – A Balearic masterpiece full of warmth, detail and magic. I picked a favourite because I had to but the whole thing is wonderful. This one will benefit from repeat listens for sure.
Heidi Lawden – Can’t chose a fave but safe to say this will be soundtracking most my days.
Alice Palace – A truly transportive and beautiful album
Nick Warren – A lovely album
Jaye Ward – wow!! totally immersive.. deep as fuck alien balearic.. beautiful beautiful! alma hablando has such a wondrous pace to it
Mike Salta, Denmark – Impossible to pick a favorite here, the entire album is packed with gold…. a cornucopia of authentic compositions with a wide span.
Bill Brewster – Some nice bits on this, esp. Molokono and Un Placer.
Lovefingers [ESP Institute] – Lovely!
Chris Howler – An album of ambient brilliance, bookended by two absolute pearlers that ooze optimism!