Joe Morris
Jacaranda Skies EP
Pleasure Unit/UK/12
Sometimes you seek out music and sometimes the music finds you. Such is the case with “Jacaranda Skies.” It is a four-track EP of impossibly beautiful dance music by Joe Morris, a native of the English city of Leeds. Morris is part of a DJ trio called Clandestino, which is also the name of the party they throw regularly in Leeds. This EP will be released on the Pleasure Unit label on September 18th.

How I came across this yet-to-be-released gem is due to a confluence of serendipitous energies (energy flashes, per’aps). While looking and commenting on a thread on Facebook I saw and liked — by clicking ‘like’ and the sentiment resonated with me — a comment by a man named Damon Havlin. I added him as a friend and after accepting my request he messaged me to ask if I remembered when he worked at Play It Again Sam in London with a guy named Carli in the mid-to-late ’90s. I did remember him. PIAS regularly sent me promos from a house label they ran back then called PAN. Here’s my review of one of their releases by the New Jersey garage legend Cassio Ware.

Damon went on to tell me that me that he was running two labels, KM Editions and Pleasure Unit. He sent me a promo of a release called “Jacaranda Skies.” I forgot to download it, the link expired. In the mean time Mariesa Stevens, one of the head honchos — or is the correct usage honchesses? I dirn’t know. — at Liaisons Artists posted a Soundcloud link of a six-hour marathon DJ set to her Facebook page. It was by the Lord Sabre himself, Weaverall, and Sean Johnston at a Clandestino party. I went to  Clandestino’s Soundcloud page and the name Joe Morris was tagged on there.

I was still unaware that the download link Damon had sent me was for Joe’s EP. So a few days later I am languishing in the Vinyl Dreams record store, which itself languishes on the Lower Haight in San Francisco, is owned by one Michelangelo Battaglia, aka Mike Bee, and is a few doors from Love N Haight Deli, where one can languish with a grand sandwich. Mike was getting some music together for gigs he is playing in Socal. In the midst of the organization of the music he played something which sounded truly beautiful, melodic and unique. I asked him what it was and it was from links on for a soon to be released EP by Joe Morris on the Pleasure Unit label. The pieces had fallen together, the rectangle was complete. That evening I contacted Damon and he sent me the promo again. This time I downloaded it.

And now after that extended preamble let’s talk about  “Jacaranda Skies.” All four of its tracks are lush, gorgeous and make you want to throw around words, phrases and names like Balearic, Larry Heard, Rimini in ’91, beautiful and melodic. I kid you not. The title track is excellent, a fluid amalgam of deep house, ambient music, lush, Balearic tendencies and drifting, delayed strings that carry your dreams and desires effortlessly to a distant, yet attainable, sunset where perfection, contentment and peace prevail. Yes, it is that good, and you can dance to it as well, too and also. “Mangrove Dawn” is a slower affair but no less pretty. It’s not beatless but tends towards the dreamy and ambient, underpinned by muscular bass and an acid line that meanders carelessly between washes of strings and dazzling keyboard textures.

“The Lost Garden” is another sojourn into the abundant abandon of the title track. It is much slower at around 105 bpm but just as stunning and dreamy. It’s carried along on rolling beats under searing strings and Kalimba type sounds. Occasionally it is punctuated by a jaguar roar, like the one in “Supernature” by Cerrone. The EP finishes with a “Jacaranda Reprise,” a slightly shorter version of the title track without a kick, designed for layering in the mix. When this EP drops in September don’t hesitate, rush out and grab it. It has the spirits of tranquil Mediterranean nights, Italia ’90 and the Balearic dream all rolled into one package. It is magnificent, melodic and uplifting music and the perfect antidote to dark, cruel times. Christopher Orr