Review: Whereas the first volume in Joaquin "Joe" Claussell's "Cosmicdelic Africa" series focused on sneaky re-edits by the Sacred Rhythm founder, this second instalment focuses on original productions "for the dancefloor and the head". In other words, Clausell has offered up DJ-friendly extended versions of some of his most cosmic, Afro-centric creations. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the psychedelic rock guitar solos, restless bass, layered Latin house rhythms and rainforest sounds of Cosmic Ritual's "Abraxas (Demo Sketch Mix)", to the piano sporting cosmic house positivity of Mampo's "Emarofo Tech (Extended Sketch Mix)", via the spaced-out electronics, hallucinatory synth lines and sparse drums of intoxicating downtempo workout "Mundo De Agua (Psyxchdelic Transfusion Mix)".
Review: For the latest volume in their ongoing Brazil 45s series, Mr Bongo has decided to change tack. The two tracks showcased here are from the golden age of Brazilian boogie. On the A-side you'll find Marcos Valle's "A Paraiba Nao E Chicago", a largely overlooked cut from his 1981 full-length Vontade De Rever Voce. While not as instantly as infectious as some of his better-known singles, it's still superb; a breezy, blue-eyed soul cut full of rising horns and sweet Portuguese vocals. On the B-side, you'll find Don Beto's 1978 disco-funk jam "Nao Quero Mais", a superb track that was seemingly inspired by the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running".
Review: Two premium Latin funk documents on one limited 45, Mr Bongo deliver once again: Marcos Valle needs no introduction to Brazilian music enthusiasts. "Mentira" is a self-cover as Valle takes his 69 classic "Mentira Carioca" and develops the dynamic with a vocal style that's highly reminiscent of Donovan. Flip for Toni Tornado's Black Rio anthem "Me Libertei". Fusing sleazy rock n roll with jazzy Latin soul, madly this is the first time it's ever graced a 45!
Review: "On Se Pousse", a mazy chunk of life-affirming Afrobeat with Sengalese influences, was one of the standout highlights of Vadou Game's 2016 album, Kidayo. Here it gets a deserved single release, with the near perfect original being complimented by two reworks by Osunlade under the Yoruba Soul guise. On the A-side you'll find his main remix, a loose, warm and organic interpretation that wisely retains almost all of the band's brilliant instrumentation while adding a few hazy deep house touches. Thrillingly, the remix rolls along on jaunty polyrhythms before Osunlade switches to rolling deep house beats midway through. An instrumental version of the fine Yoruba Soul remix completes a brilliant package.
Review: Love Circle returns for a second release, digging deep into the misty past of golden era disco and finding rare gold for the reissue market to rejoice at. This time it's the work of Barry Blue and two projects he produced in the early 80s, lovingly re-edited for maximum dancefloor pleasure by Velvet Season & The Hearts Of Gold (aka gerry Rooney and Joel Martin). First up is surefire party starter "Breakin In" by Javaroo, and on the flip it's low down seduction workout "Love The Way You Love Me" by Marti Cane getting a fresh airing for all vintage-minded dancers and DJs.
Review: Originally out in 1970 on his own self-titled album, Arthur Verocai's "Sylvia" is a peach of a song, one of those sweet and bubbly percussive tunes that blur the lines between modern civilization and the jungle. The Brazilian composer's music has been heavily sought-after in its original format, and Mr Bongo delivers here in fine style with another killer from the LP, "Na Boco Do Sol". Fans of Marcos Valle will appreciate this one for the slow magnetic waves permeating from just about every angle on the record.
Review: Beating Heart has shared the late Hugh Tracey's archive at the International Library of African Music (ILAM) with contemporary producers and keeping in line with Tracey's vision, all proceeds will be used to assist people in the areas where the music was originally recorded. This time, Warp Records and all round UK electronica legend Luke Vibert gives us the delightful oddball groove that is "Africable", Italian DJ Clap! Clap! Gives us the African polyrhythms via Detroit high-tech soul on "Kulira" while Los Angeles duo With You give us the sublime "No Resistance". Each 1500 albums sold will feed a school of 500 forever! Support a great cause and feed your ears with some wonderful music while you're at it.
Review: The moment you put that needle down on "Ye Mele" you will know that you've lit a serious firecracker; that bold piano hook and silver harmonies have that instant classic appeal even if you've never heard it. A bona fide Brazilian classic. It's backed by a 68 track from the Golden Boys. A much more introspective fusion of late 60s American folk, Latin and Ennio-style original score music, full attention is arrested right until the stunning crescendo finale.
Joyeux De Cocotier - "Pina Colada Coco Loco" (6:10)
Djeminay - "Sun Plash" (2:52)
Review: Ahhh, bien sur! Julien Achard and Nicholas Skliris return to Heavenly Sweetness to provide our shelves with the second chapter of the Digital Zandoli series, a wonderful dynasty of contemporary dance music from every corner of the world. Much like the first edition, which flew off our floors in absolutely no time, you'll be lucky to find this music anywhere else but righ here - these two work hard to dig out the very best of what the rest of the globe has to offer. More to the point, you'll find it even harder to find dance music as lush and tropical as this gear, a bubby assortment of dance tracks ranging from house to soul and dancehall. Bliss.
Americo Brito & Djarama - "Rapaz Novo E Malandro" (7:32)
Cabo Verde Show - "Terra Longe" (3:30)
Elisio Vieira - "Tchon Di Somada" (4:20)
Vlu - "Rua D'Lisboa" (5:45)
Galaxia 2000 - "Coracao Dum Criola" (3:55)
Mendes & Mendes - "Mitamiyo" (5:24)
Danny Carvalho - "Roncanbai" (4:37)
Mendes & Mendes - "Walkman" (4:50)
Jose Casimiro - "La Mamai Ta Bem" (5:01)
Elisio Vieira - "Bem Di Fora" (5:35)
Zeca & Zeze Di Nha Reinalda - "Mocinhos" (4:24)
Review: Rotterdam is one of the many big port cities around the world that welcomed a high number of Cape Verdean immigrants. In the 1970s, Americo Brito was one of them and he soon got involved with the local music scene and found an ever larger community of likeminded talents. He took to the stage with his band and made for a buzzy little scene that found them tour with their own sound system. Here he works with Rotterdam local Arp Frique to serve up Cape Verdean music old and new with plenty of traditional Funana and Coladeira sounds next to jams influenced by wave, disco and funk, jazz, reggae and Latin pop.
Prince Nico Mbarga & Rocafil Jazz - "Sickness" (7:36)
Osayomore Joseph & The Creative 7 - "Obonogbozu" (6:50)
Felixson Ngasia & The Survivals - "Black Precious Colour" (7:12)
Sina Bakare - "Africa" (5:29)
Saxon Lee & The Shadows International - "Special Secret Of Baby" (8:45)
International Brothers Band - "Onuma Dimnobi" (8:19)
Don Bruce & The Angels - "Kinuye" (5:50)
Etubom Rex Williams & His Nigerian Artistes - "Psychedelic Shoes" (6:14)
Rogana Ottah & His Black Heroes Int - "Let Them Say" (8:48)
Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Titibitis - "Iziegbe (Ekassa No 70)" (7:16)
MA Jaiyesimi & His Crescent Bros Band - "Mundiya Loju" (3:04)
Review: As part of their 20th anniversary celebrations, Strut has decided to bring back the compilation series that first put the label on the map: "Nigeria 70". Curated by Duncan Brooker, this latest volume in the series is the first for eight years. It's another history lesson, with Brooker largely focusing on exposing the musical links between the music of Nigeria and Benin. You get a white-hot mixture of Highlife, Afro-Funk and Ju-Ju, mostly hand-picked from albums and singles that are near impossible for mere mortals to find. Interestingly, this edition doesn't just contain heavy cuts from the '70s, but also more synth-powered songs from the 1980s, too. As you'd expect, it makes for terrific listening.
Songhoi Band - "Africa Africa" (Faze Action edit) (4:50)
Stylus - "We All Need One Another" (3:29)
Oscar Perry - "Body Movements" (8:31)
Spats - "Hot Summer Madness" (3:25)
Review: For the latest volume in their crate-digging disco series, Under The Influence, Z Records has turned to long-serving British brothers Simon and Robin Lee AKA Faze Action. In keeping with the series' dusty-fingered ethos, there's plenty of brilliant rarities to set the pulse racing - see the smooth '80s boogie of Leston Paul's "All Nite Tonight", the up-tempo hustle of Oscar Perry's "Body Movements" - as well as a smattering of obscure versions of classic dancefloor hits (check Michele Claire's version of "In The Bush"). You'll also find a smattering of killer Faze Action edits, too, with their version of Midway's "Set It Out" and Mikki's freestyle-era boogie ham "Dance Lover" standing out.
Donny McCullough - "From The Heart" (Kon's Multi remix) (6:33)
Taxie - "Rock Don't Stop" (3:32)
The Mazyck Project - "More Power To You" (4:39)
The Edge Of Daybreak - "EOB (Edge Of Daybreak)" (4:01)
Shake - "Lost In Space" (5:12)
Oby Onyioha - "Enjoy Your Life" (6:18)
Bomp - "Disco Power" (4:57)
Christy Essien Igbokwe - "You Can't Change A Man" (3:57)
Harry Mosco - "Sexy Dancer" (6:37)
Goddy Oku - "Dont' Ask Me" (5:37)
Review: BBE unearth another batch of rare and underexposed disco cuts on Off Track Vol 3. Compiled by the crate digging New York/Boston based duo Kon & Amir, the release gives an authentic representation of Brooklyn’s ghetto, funk and afro music scenes. Sophisticated tracks for real music heads
Stephen Colebrooke - "Stay Away From Music" (4:28)
Andre Marie Tala - "Sweet Dole" (4:32)
Tyna Onwudiwe - "Lite Low" (4:04)
Rebles - "Sweetest Taboo" (Soca version) (3:26)
Ricardo Marrero & The Group - "And We'll Make Love" (2:31)
Koko Ateba - "Si T'es Mal Dans Ta Peau" (4:03)
Sookie - "Tonight" (feat Jeannine Otis) (4:58)
Raphael Toine - "Femmes Pays Douces" (5:40)
Eboni Band - "Desire" (5:09)
Robert J Riggins - "I Need You Now" (4:06)
Salero - "Teardrops & Wine" (3:07)
Momo Joseph - "War For Ground" (4:13)
Claude Genteuil - "Dreams Of Love" (3:00)
Gatot Soedarto - "Sayangilah Daku Kasih" (1:46)
Synchro Rhythmic Eclectic Language - "Pasto" (5:51)
Review: Since the Beach Diggin' compilation series launched a few years back, a number of its obscure, Balearic-minded selections have been given full length reissues of their own. We can probably expect a number of the tracks from this brilliant fifth volume to get the same treatment. As usual, the wide-ranging track list is thick with highlights, from the synth-heavy, French language reggae of Raphael Toine's 1986 bubbler "Femmes Pays Douces" (taken from the artist's frustratingly hard to find Ce Ta Ou album) and vibraphone-laden jazz-funk smoothness of Yasuko Agwa's sought-after "L.A Night", to the barely-known brilliance of Andre Maria Tole's Cameroonian gem "Sweet Dole". In other words, it's another essential selection.
Review: When it came to putting together their first compilation, German label Harmonie Exotic turned to Balearic scene mainstay Jose Manuel. His idea was simple: to gather together a range of mostly obscure experimental ambient tracks made between 1982 and '84, all of which possess equal amounts of "magic" and "mysterious character". The resultant set is, of course, a bit of an eye-opener - a genuine voyage of discovery that drifts between the low-slung, dub disco influenced headiness of D-Day's "Sweet Sultan", the drowsy new age purity of Vangelis Katsoulis, the glistening Balearic pop of Human Software's "Soft Sequence", the sludgy Arabic new wave oddness of International Noise Orchestra and the unique combination of Middle Eastern drums and next-level electronics that is Manuel Wandji's "Pourquoi Pas!".
Jonathan Jr - "Hangin' On To You" (12" version) (5:33)
Isabelle Mayereau - "Orange Bleue" (2:27)
Oro - "Sasa" (3:42)
Fernando Toussaint - "Recuerdos Del Abuelo" (3:04)
Todd Mcclenathan - "High From Our Love" (5:08)
Mario Acquaviva - "Notturno Italiano" (4:22)
Special Occasion - "Flyin' To Santa Barbara" (12" version) (6:36)
Parenthese - "Come Back" (4:03)
Russ Long - "Never Was Love" (4:35)
Pacific Dreams - "Mellow Out" (4:19)
Miller Miller Miller & Sloan - "Key To My Heart" (2:39)
Scott Cunningham - "Blues Take You Over" (3:31)
Review: On his fourth exploration of the world of global "Adult Oriented Rock", French crate-digger Charles Maurice focuses on the period between 1977 and '86. That means a greater emphasis on synthesizers, dusty drum machines and the kind of sparkling melodies that would once have drifted from daytime radio at an alarming rate. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the dewy-eyed synth-soul of Arlana's "When You Call My Name" and the breezy boogie of Omega Sunrise's "Too Hip", to the sparse Balearic bliss of Isabelle Mayereau's "Orange Bleue", the flute-laden easy listening hum of Fernando Toussaint, the sax-happy '80s sleaze of Special Occasion's brilliant "Flyin' To Santa Barbara" and the jaunty Latino jazz-funk of "Mellow Out" by Pacific Dreams.
Judy Carter - "Listen To The Music" (12" version) (5:57)
Janet N'Diaye Lokamba - "Funky & Fire" (4:53)
KKE - "Money" (4:03)
Caramel - "L'amour Toujours L'amour" (12" version) (5:56)
Yannick Chevalier - "Ecoute Le Son Du Soleil" (instrumental) (4:06)
JEKYS - "Looking For You" (4:26)
Silence - "Un Peu D'amour" (3:40)
Wally & Shane - "Give Back My Song" (3:47)
Zorgus - "Flash" (3:36)
Joel Dayde - "Qu'est Ce Que Tu Fais Par Amour" (3:29)
Review: For those intrigued by the distinctively Gallic but authentically American-sounding world of French disco-boogie, Charles Maurice's ongoing compilation series should be essential listening. Here he serves up a third instalment that's every bit as good as its' acclaimed predecessors. Highlights naturally come thick and fast throughout, from the mid-80s dreaminess of Maya's undeniably Balearic "Lait De Coco (Dub)" and the Brenda Taylor-ish bounce of Judy Carter's brilliant "Listen to the Music", to the Leroy Burgess style piano stabs and Patrick Adams-ish disco production of Caramel's "L'Amour Toujours L'Amour". Oh, and the late night radio warmth of NST Cophies' "Segregation", a sweet, undulating workout that will no doubt find favour with Balearic selectors.
Original Nairobi Afro Band - "Soul Makossa (No 1)" (7") (4:20)
Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestroes - "Jungle Beat (Mutaba)" (3:05)
Review: Jump 'N' Funk started life as a small event in New York, organized by Rich Medina in order to pay tribute to the genius of Fela Kuti. Since then, parties have been held across the world, with Medina and guests showcasing music by, or inspired by, the Nigerian Afrobeat legend. This debut Jump N Funk compilation follows a similar formula, delivering both purist Afrobeat cuts (see Fela's punchy "Stalemate", and "Na Oil" by son Seun and his band, Egypt 80), and tracks in other styles that draw heavily on the style. Highlights in the latter category include the hazy Afro hip-hop of Aquil, a tasty Afro-house dub of River Ocean's cover of Timmy Thomas' classic "Why Can't We Live Together", and the lazy, sun-kissed glory of Kutiman's "Bango Fields".
Ruby Andrews - "You Made A Believer (Out Of Me)" (2:39)
Kalyanji Anandji - "Back Ground Music" (2:29)
Jake Wade & The Soul Searchers - "Searching For Soul" (part 1) (2:40)
Hot Butter & Soul - "ABC" (4:43)
Dick Walter - "Spooky Do" (1:33)
Roy Head - "She's About A Mover" (3:13)
Hot City Bump Band - "It's Just Begun" (2:53)
Val Merrall's Orchestra - "The Horse" (3:45)
Frank Pleyer Big Band - "Sally" (3:24)
Art & Ron - "Can't Stop Talkin" (2:55)
Johnny Griffith Inc - "Love Is Just A Word" (3:23)
The Generation Gap - "Family Affair" (2:40)
Tinga Stewart - "The Message" (2:55)
Jerzy Milian Orkiestra - "Gacek" (2:19)
John L Watson - "Rockin' Chair" (with White Mouse) (3:19)
The Alan Tew Orchestra - "Pink Panther" (3:39)
The Rias Orchestra Conducted By Helmuth Brandenburg - "Pru Urebu" (4:55)
Oscar Harris & The Twinkle Stars - "Twinkle Stars Boo Galoo" (live) (3:54)
Review: Magic happens when Mr Thing hits the crates. His ability to unearth recordings you're guaranteed to never have heard before, and join the dots in ways you'd never have thought before, his "Strange Breaks" series is legendary. Long since off-press, to celebrate their 20th anniversary BBE have repressed this seminal 2009 sophomore. From the turbo blues fusion of Roy Head and the speeding Mancini feels of Val Marrall's Orchestra to the more sedate, slinky funk of Johnny Griffith and sunny-side roots of Tinga Stewart, Mr Thing's odyssey remains as inciteful, intriguing and as full of treasure as it did seven years ago.
Fabio Fonseca - "Ladroes De Bagda" (feat Marina Lima) (3:51)
Fernanda Abreu - "Hello Baby" (4:56)
Luna E DJ Cri - "Acabou Como Comecou" (4:28)
Junior - "Vim Te Buscar" (4:59)
Thaide & DJ Hum - "Coisas Do Amor" (Trepanado edit) (4:34)
As Damas Do Rap - "Um Sonho Real" (4:55)
MC D'Eddy - "Jeito De Ser Menina" (instrumental) (5:12)
Sharylaine - "Saudade" (5:26)
Review: Did you know that Britain was not the only country where street soul was a musical force to be reckoned with during the late '80s and early '90s? As this fine compilation from record collector Augusto Olivani shows, the sound also thrived in Brazil, where inner-city musicians embraced its post-boogie fusion of head-nodding grooves, smooth instrumentation and even smoother vocals. There's much to enjoy throughout "Street Soul Brasil", from the dreamy chords and sparkling melodies of Afrodite Se Quiser's breezy "Fora De Mim", to the Soul II Soul style shuffle of Luna E DJ Cri's "Acabou Como Comecou", via the rushing cheeriness of Junior's "Vim Te Buscar" and the sugary bliss of MC D'Eddy's "Jeito De Menina (Instrumental)".
Orchestre GMI - Groupement Mobil D'Intervention - "Africa" (6:52)
Orchestre Bawobab - "Thiely" (5:00)
Le Saorouba De Louga - "Bour Sine" (3:49)
King N'Gom Et Les Perles Noires - "Viva Marvillas" (5:35)
Orchestre Laye Thiam - "Massani Cisse" (5:51)
Amara Toure Et Le Star Band De Dakar - "El Carretero" (5:22)
Tropical Jazz - "Kiko Medina" (4:43)
Orchestre Laye Thiam - "Kokorico" (6:50)
Gestu De Dakar - "Ndiourel" (5:19)
Orchestre Bawobab - "Ma Penda" (5:20)
Orchestre Laye Thiam - "Sanga Te" (5:44)
Review: A detailed document that captures a unique period in African music history: the most western point of Africa had attracted all manner of traders and visitors over the years but it was the Cubans and Americans who really left their mark with soul, jazz and son montuno. By the '70s cities such as Dakar and Thies had become hotbeds of national acts who'd repurposed these influences with their own west African musicianship. And while many of them recorded music, not all of them released it. Here we find 12 of over 300 never-released-before recordings recently curated by audio archaeologist Adamantios Kafetzis and Thies sound engineer Moussa Diallo. Complete with a 12 page booklet detailing the era's history with levels of research it's never enjoyed before, this took four years in the making and you can really tell.