All I Do (Ryuhei The Man 45 edit instrumental) (4:05)
Review: Japanese live outfit, A Hundred Birds has a thing for creating classic covers. Over the course of their career, they've recorded countless covers, including organic, string-laden interpretations of techno scene staples such as "Blackwater" (originally recorded by Octave 8) and "Knights of the Jaguar" (The Aztec Mystic). Last year they offered up another warm and wonderous cover, this time of Stevie Wonder classic "All I Do". Here it gets a new lease of life courtesy of scalpel fiend Ryu The Man, who has delivered tightened-up, floor-friendly vocal and instrumental edits of the warm, rich, soulful and undeniably summery cover version. Both are rather good, though it's the vocal version that will win over dancers.
Review: A-grade diggers, label, shop and reissuers Mr Bongo are back with another of their essential offerings, this time in the form of a 7" taken from Swedish artist Sven Wunder's debut album Do?u cicekleri on new label Piano Piano. The resulting record is a seamless fusion of bright colours and bleeding pigments, real instruments and synthetic sound that is as worldly as they come. "Magnolia" here is the intoxicating a-side with its freewheeling drums and big lead lines, while "Lotus" takes us into a more oriental sound, with gypsy funk and dark-soul stylings making it delightfully hard to pin down.
Review: Afrosynth Records has become renowned for its deep dives into the colourful, synth-heavy world of original South African disco, boogie and bubblegum. They're at it again here, offering up a fresh pressing of "Turn It Up" by Adaye, a one-off studio project featuring members of legendary South African 'supergroup' Stimela. This edition replicates the track listing of the original 1983 release, beginning with the A-side vocal version - a driving slab of bubblegum boogie laden with James Brown style lead vocals, colourful synth sounds and delay-laden drum machine beats. The flipside "Instrumental Disco Mix" naturally strips out all but the backing vocals, instead showcasing the intricacy of the studio outfit's Prince-style guitar riffs, jaunty bass and kaleidoscopic synthesizer flourishes.
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: Afro disco fresh from 79: Eko Roosevelt Louis's third album Funky Disco Music will go down as one of Cameroon's finest disco LPs. Produced and pressed by French label Dragon Phenix, it's still reasonably easy to track down, too. For a taster, grab three of its tropical charms on this Fly By Night repress: "Funky Disco Music" is an infectious vocal-led cut that's written solely to make people get down, "Ndolo Embe Mulema" struts with much more Afro rock fusion while the harmonies of "Bowa'a Mba Ngebe" are sweeter than the finest honey you've ever tasted. For contemporary kicks Riccio has expertly touched the title track for a modern dancefloor/DJ friendly punch. Perfect.
Mystic Djim & The Spirits - "Yaounde Girls" (5:57)
Bill Loko - "Nen Lambo" (6:23)
Bernard Ntone - "Mussoloki" (4:21)
Pasteur Lappe - "Sanaga Calypso"
Eko - "M'ongele M'am"
Olinga Gaston - "Ngon Engap"
Emmanuel Kahe & Jeanette Kemogne - "Ye Medjuie"
Nkodo Si-Tony - "Mininga Meyong Mese"
Pasteur Lappe - "Sekele Movement"
Pat' Ndoye - "More Love"
Clement Djimogne - "Africa"
Review: Just when you think that the well of obscure music from around the world has run dry, Analog Africa returns to put the record straight. Pop-Makossa shines a light on a glorious but largely overlooked period in the story of Cameroonian makossa, when local musicians began to replace funk and highlife influences with the rubbery bass of classic disco and the sparkling synth flourishes and drum machines of electrofunk. The resultant compilation, which apparently took eight years to produce, is packed full of brilliant cuts, from the heavily-electronic jauntiness of Pasteur Lappe's "Sanaga Calypso" and horn-totin' Highlife-disco of Emmaniel Kahe and Jeanette Kemogne's "Ye Medjuie", to the dense, organ-laden wig out that is Clement Djimogne's "Africa".
Review: Cuba-meets-Cameroon-via-Guinea-and-Senegal, the roots of this African-adopted Cuban sound are as rich, unique and exciting as Amara Toure's tale itself. After years of club performing in Dakar, Amara and his Black & White Ensemble in the late '60s and proceeded to release 10 songs during the '70s. Here, for the first time ever, all of these recordings are united on this immaculately presented collection. From the cobble-kicking percussive Cuban heels and emphatic harmonies of "Fatou" to the deep yearning crooning blues of "N'ga Digne M'be" and the spacey, out-of-this-world guitars and jazzy trumpet lead of "N'Niyo", there's something very special and unique about this collection. With a heart that beats in Africa but a soul that shines with Cuban fire, as Analogue Africa state themselves... It's only taken 10 songs for Amara to become a legend. Very few artists can claim this feat.
Review: Mulatu Astatke is a legendary musician who is famous for his signature playing on the vibraphone. Here he blends his Ethio-jazz sounds with the Melbourne-based group Black Jesus Experience to serve up a mix of re-interpreted African folk songs and odes to his homeland. 'To Know Without Knowing' has a decidedly hip hop edge thanks to the vocal flow and 'Mascaram Setaba' is an Ethio classic. Another highlight is 'Living On Stolen Land' which is dedicated to the First Nations people of Australia and acknowledges the pain and injustice of them not being recognised as the traditional owners of Australia.
Review: Like many of her previous Black Earth Ensemble projects, Nicole Mitchell's latest album was directly inspired by the work of African American science fiction author Octavia E Butler, and in particular the latter's "Earthseed" concept: an egalitarian philosophy and spiritual practice that promotes independent thinking, community action and acceptance of change in a dystopian world. Mitchell's musical interpretation, which was written with vocalist and musician Lisa E Harris and recorded at the Art Ensemble of Chicago's Fullerton Hall back in 2017, is impressively experimental in tone, mixing elements of free-jazz and spiritual jazz with nods towards opera, spaced-out electronica, neo-classical and the storytelling structure of musical theatre. A brave, important and undeniably impressive work.