Review: Thanks to increased interest in South African dance music of the late 1980s, original copies of this obscure album from little-known trio The Bees have been changing hands for large sums online. Happily, Johannesburg-based label Afrosynth Records has decided to give it the reissue treatment. It was first released in 1988 and offers a near perfect example of the early Kwaito style blend of "bubblegum" South African synth-pop and contemporaneous U.S house. Highlights include the chanted vocals, sun-bright synth melodies and rubbery bass of "She's A Witch (Tikoloshi)", the glassy-eyed mid-tempo Kwaito richness of "Mjondolo (Bus House)" and "Mathatha", an anthem in waiting rich in country guitar riffs, positive lyrical messages and jangling house piano.
Review: Afrosynth Records' latest must-have release comes from Mabuta, a Capetown-based collective headed up by jazz bassist and occasional electronic experimentalist Shane Cooper. "Welcome To This World" is naturally rooted in jazz, though it's spiritual movements and cosmic vibrations regularly include suitably intergalactic synth sounds and nods towards jazz-funk and Afro-beat. The latter influence comes to the fore on Buddy Wells collaboration "Log Out Shut Down", while the brilliantly out-there "Tafattala" wraps bustling, crashing jazz drums in mind-altering backwards instrumentation and Cooper's booming double bass. Mabuta is of course capable of providing good, old-fashioned laidback jazz moments, as the Cinematic Orchestra-esque "As We Drift Away" emphatically proves.