Review: South African bubblegum soul queen Ntombi enjoys a timely spotlight session as Afrosynth look back over her short-lived career and pick some of the highlights from each album she blessed us with. Leading from the front with the cult classic "Tomorrow" we're treated to highlights such as the proto tropical house harmonies and layers of "I've Got A Friend", the shinier house-focused workout "In My Mind" and a disco dancehall shaker "Mina Ngilijaji". Tomorrow is a day that never comes... Don't sleep.
Ed Lincoln - "Eu Quero Levar Voce Pra Casa" (3:44)
Free Sound Orchestra - "The King's Bounce" (2:09)
Dom Salvador - "Tio Macro" (3:09)
Aquarius Band - "Sultana" (3:45)
Ed Maciel - "Festa" (2:53)
Cry Babies - "Kool & The Gang" (3:19)
Cesar Mariano & CIA - "Metropole" (3:26)
Banda Black Rio - "Mr Funky Samba" (3:39)
Brazil Very Happy Band - "Tipo Africa" (3:14)
Free Sound Orchestra - "Rush" (4:13)
Ze Rodrix - "Assalto" (5:11)
Hot Stuff Band - "Ju-Ju Man" (3:02)
Som Orlando Silveira - "Big Splash" (3:13)
Review: Thanks to a steady stream of compilations and reissues, many are now familiar with the contribution made by Brazilian artists to the sounds of '70s jazz-funk and disco. This brilliant compilation takes a different approach, instead shining a light on the country's instrumental funk scene during that most exciting of musical decades. Largely made up of unknown cuts by obscure artists, the material combines the horn-toting, Hammond-sporting heaviness of U.S soul and funk from the period with the sun-kissed colour and jaunty swing of indigenous Brazilian music. It's a hugely attractive hybrid sound that guarantees thrills and spills throughout, not to mention a string of highlights. Check it out for yourself: we guarantee you won't be disappointed.
Review: While names like Azymuth or Marcos Valle have become synonymous with Brazil's infamous 'jazz-dance' scene, it's really thanks to artists like Victor Assis Brasil that the genre has become such a staple of the enlarged jazz and funk movement. Brasil was a saxophonist in primis, and the best out out there at the time; Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim was one of his earlier albums, and it's striking to hear just how fluid and at the cutting-edge of jazz this man was in 1970. The opener "So Tinha De Sir Com Voce" is a delightfully subtle number, backed by intricate guitars and gentle pianos, while "Wave" heads down a deeper, more pensive tone with the man's sax on the front lines. "Bonita" is sweet, seductive but still full of zest and Brasil's inimitable charm on his preferred instrument, and "Dindi" winds the momentum down to a peaceful tempo that bursts with the South American continent's unmistakable glow. Excellent.
Review: Baba Commandant and the Mandingo Band first came through on Sublime Frequencies, back in 2015, with a sublime LP that carried the ethereal sounds of contemporary Afro jazz. The outfit are back, this time on France's Mawimbi imprint, with a corker by the name of "Wasso". Taking inspiration from the school of Fela and Tony Allen, this is deep-minded funkiness with a political edge - a contemporary afrobeat killer! The remixes are no less intriguing, starting off with the electronic nuttiness of Loya's version, followed by the 'broken', beat-driven remix from Mr Boom, and even an Afro version. A done deal, in our opinion...
Review: DJ Firmeza's 2015 debut, "Alma Do Meu Pai", was a gloriously bass-heavy, multi-cultural melting pot of 21st century dancefloor sounds that perfectly encapsulated the Lisbon scene from which he emerged. This belated sequel is equally as thrilling, with bombastic opener "Avan" setting the tone via heavy, Kuduro-influenced drums, layered tribal percussion hits, clonking melodies and urgent vocals. "Intenso" is if anything even sweatier and more percussively punchy, while "RRRRRR" is a thrusting chunk of wild tribal techno rich in dense drums and voodoo vocal yelps. As for "25", its another off-kilter drum workout just crying out for peak-time plays.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !
Review: A staple selection from Strut since its Nigeria 70 collection, this momentous piece of musical history dates back to 1979 when iconic vocalist Shina brought together the likes of Biddy Wright, Fred Fisher, Saliu Alabi and more decorated Nigerian musicians for a one-off supergroup. This epic, slippery freeform 11 minute piece of pure Afrofunk was the timeless result. Having enjoyed a handful of reissues and returns in its near 40 year life, this is the first time it's been remastered and delivered with all its original artwork and a full list of credits. Perfect to the very detail.
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.