Cafe Del Mar Information

Normally I am not a great fan of compilations. Too often I find that the compiler and I have differing sensibilities on music with the net result being that the vast majority of the compilation underwhelms me with one or two really good tracks being the reason I bought it. Having been bitten by this too often I have now become somewhat shy of the things with one notable exception, the Cafe Del Mar series.

Jose Padilla and I seem to be on a very close line when it comes to musical taste. He has a similar eclectic taste but enjoys a more mellow sound such that his collections tend almost to the ambient in style. Various rare but noteable tracks have featured in his collection including artists like William Orbit, MoodSwings, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Leftfield and Nova Nova. Such that the majority of each of the disks is good to wonderful music.

Unfortunately he doesn't quite escape the dread compilation disease and some tracks are verging on the boring. But his hit rate was high enough that each year I looked forward to the next release from Cafe Del Mar, Ibiza. With the release of volume six Jose has indicated that he is discontinuing the series to work on new musical endeavours. However that doesn't stop the series as now DJ Bruno has produced volume seven of the series and more volumes seem likely. I won't be following them though.

Addendum 18/7/2001 An interesting tidbit is that there seems to be a promotional drive going on at the moment for the Cafe del Mar series. In particular a series of trivia questions is being asked as I have received several emails on the subject. To aid those entering the competition the Catalan architect of the Cafe del Mar is Lluis Géell . The building was finished and opened in 1980. Finally volume six has the Kid Loco remix of 'Traveller'. Good luck with the contest folks!


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Cafe Del Mar

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Label: React
Number: 5021620-91230-1
Year: 1994

  1. Aqua
  2. The Story of Light
  3. SmokebelchII (Beatles Mix)
  4. Music for a Found Harmonium
  5. Sundance
  6. Fanfare of Life
  7. The Hypnotist
  8. Second Hand
  9. Crazy Ivan
  10. Estelle
  11. On the Rocks
  12. Sunset at the Cafe Del Mar
Running Time: 76:37

A very mellow compilation this one, the overall tone is relaxation and a slightly dreamy feel. Noteable tracks include 'The Story of Light' by William Orbit, 'Music for a found Harmonisum' by Penguin Cafe Orchestra, 'Fanfare of Life' by Leftfield and 'On the Rocks' by Obiman.

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Cafe Del Mar ~ Ibiza/Volumen Dos

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Label: React
Number: 5021620-91250-9
Year: 1995

  1. Moment Scale (Dubmaster X Remix)
  2. Tarenah (Chill Mix)
  3. D'Votion
  4. Easter Song
  5. Entre Dos Aguas
  6. Unity
  7. Sabor De Verano (The Way Out West Mix)
  8. Sargasso Sea
  9. (The Making of...) Jill
  10. Everybody Loves the Sunshine
  11. Feel Good
  12. Blinky Blue Eyed Sunrise
  13. Haunted Dancehall
Running Time: 78:59

This is very similar in tone to the first collection, a very quiet ambient feel that very rarely gets lively. As such it makes good mood music to put on in the background. Although there are several great tracks including 'Unity' - a fairly lively guitar piece, 'Sargasso Sea' - which evokes the creaking and groaning of trapped ships quite well and 'Sabor De Verano' - which is notable for not only being a good track but having been remixed by Way Out West before they hit the big time with their single 'Domination'.

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Cafe Del Mar ~ Ibiza/Volumen Tres

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Label: React
Number: 9398603-17492-3
Year: 1996

  1. Walking On Air
  2. Tones
  3. Sueno Con Mexico
  4. Blue Bar
  5. Emotions of Paradise
  6. Nights Interlude
  7. Panama Bazaar
  8. Dusk
  9. Asia
  10. Redemption Song
  11. Dust Of Life
  12. My Freedom
  13. Last Picture Show
Running Time: 78:37

The best of the compilations that I have heard thus far this record has many extremely strong tracks and ranges more in style. Initially it is quieter mood pieces and then towards the end verges into lively beat pieces before ending on a jazzy saxaphone note with the last track. Excellent tracks inlcude 'Tones' by Nova Nova, 'Asia' by Alex Neri, 'Redemption Song' by the MoodSwings (and this mix of it is superior to the version released on their album 'Psychedelicatessen'.) and 'My Freedom' by Beat Foundation. If you want to try the Cafe Del Mar series, this is the one to get.

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Cafe Del Mar/Volumen Cuatro

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Label: Manifesto
Number: 731455-39072-8
Year: 1997

  1. Que Bonito
  2. Sunshines Better (Talvin Singh)
  3. Leo Leo
  4. Grillos
  5. Return Journey
  6. Miracle Road
  7. No Sant (Flytronix Mix)
  8. Out of Time
  9. Place de la Concorde
  10. Offshore
  11. 5th & Avenida
  12. Troubled Girl (Spanish Version)
  13. Lula
  14. Street Tattoo
Running Time: 78:41

A much more lush and beat sound pervades this compilation and certainly the album as a whole flows much better than previous efforts. However by the same token it doesn't reach as high either, and simply doesn't have as many classic tracks as previous albums have. Two stand out on this album 'Return Journey' by Voices of Kwahn A.D. and 'No Sant (Flytonix Mix)' by Wasis Drop (featuring Lena Fiagbe). The rest are solid, if not particularly outstanding tracks. Still good to slip in the CD player and relax to but I just hope that Jose picks up the pace with the next album.

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Cafe Del Mar/Volumen Cinco

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Label: Manifesto
Number: 731455-52282-1
Year: 1998

  1. Mumbai Theme Tune
  2. More Than Ever People
  3. Appreciation (Radio Mix)
  4. Paradise (Tease Mix)
  5. Penelope (Radio Edit)
  6. Tout Est Bleu (Original Arne Strong S.A. Remix)
  7. Usebi's Groove
  8. Lubumba '98
  9. Face a La Mer (Massive Attack Remix - full version)
  10. Talking With Myself '98 (Canny Remix)
  11. Pojo Pojo
  12. Transfatty Acid (Kruder e3 Dorfmeister Remix Edit)
  13. Angels Landing (Jose Padilla & Sunchild Remix)
  14. Mani
  15. Close Cover
Running Time: 78:27

Continuing the trend that Volume 4 started this album is a much more lush sound than it's predecessors. Unlike the last collection this one works well and provides a long and smooth listening experience. It is hard to pick out better tracks from the collection but the first two tracks definitely are strong contenders. A mellow album verging on Jazz at points this is a great addition to the series.

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Cafe Del Mar/Volumen Seis

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Label: Manifesto
Number: 731454-52092-8
Year: 1999

  1. Traveller (Kid Loco's Once Upon a Time in the East Mix)
  2. Dub in Ya Mind (Beach Club Mix)
  3. The Messenger
  4. Homebase
  5. Beautiful (7" Canny Mix)
  6. 3.2 Bedrock (Ambient Mix)
  7. Satie 1
  8. Homelands
  9. A Distant Invitation
  10. Existance (Edit)
  11. Oh Home
  12. Les Kid Nappeurs Main Theme
  13. Ill Street Blues
  14. The Look of Love
Running Time: 71:15

The last in the series, Jose indicates in the liner notes that he is going to work on other projects than the Cafe del Mar series, ends with a mellow almost 70's feel to it. It certainly is a lot less jazz influenced than the last album whilst retaining that slightly dreamy flow to itself. Only a few tracks really stand out as being noteable in & of themselves (Talvin Singh's 'Traveller', Mandalay's 'Beautiful' and dZihan & Kamien's 'Homebase' ) but the rest work as a whole and the tone of the album is a slightly wistful one, dreaming of past times.

It is a strong, but not blockbuster, end to a series that I will miss greatly. However based on Jose's solo album 'Souvineir' I look forward to his other musical endeavours with interest. Jose is a talented artist in his own right and while I am slightly sad to see the series stop I do want to see what he will produce when unencombered by the demands of compiling. We have seen hints of it with some of compilation discs featuring tracks Jose has either written or remixed. Now it is time for the man himself to come out fully from the shadows and show us what he can do.

I can't wait.

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Philip R. Banks
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