Review: For a brief period between 1968 and 1975, Peruvian band Black Sugar recorded some seriously heavy fusions of soul, rock and jazz. It's because of this that both of their self-titled albums now exchange hands for eye-watering sums online, as does their 1971 debut single "Viajecito". Helpfully, Matasuna Records has done a deal to reissue the latter. The track itself remains a rare treat; a gloriously sunny, horn-heavy fusion of Latin jazz rhythms, spacey sounds, jaunty group vocals and twinkling pianos. B-side "Too Late", a sumptuous, boogaloo-sounding soul number in which the group sings in English over a Blackbyrds-esque backing track, is similarly impressive.
Review: Stone cold New Jersey funk business; Calender's seminal "Hypertension" has been a waymark in dancefloor developments since '75 and its big strings, high energy and nagging vocals still have total resonance to this day as proved by this rolling, conga fuelled twist from Mexican maestro Hotmood. Flip for more relevance as "Ritmo Latino" (from Calender's '76 album "It's A Monster") gets a cheeky breakbeat facelift from Voodoocuts. Now there's no excuse not to get funky every single day of the year.
Review: David Hanke is a man known for his wild and illustrious array of aliases. Through the years, he's appeared under the names Black Soyls, Madball Scientists, Mankoora and Rengades Of Jazz, among many others. Dem Juju Poets is his latest creation and, needless to say, it is perhaps his most accomplished and mature project to date. We don't want to take anything away from his previous productions but there's just something utterly fluid about this latest reincarnation. Matasuna is the new label to launch this new Liberated Thoughts LP, and we're sure this will go down a storm with all the jazz-funk crew, particularly the followers of Giles Peterson's DJ sound. Hanke's approach is playful and diverse, branching out into all sorts of jazzy vibrations that are tied together by funky, off-kilter outernational vibes. Plenty of breaks, bass bumps, and party moves for all sorts of vinyl playaz - oh boy, check those horns on the masterful "People's Republic"!
Review: Having previously excelled at crafting party-starting bootleg funk remixes and composing revivalist soul slammers, Mr Bird has now decided to turn his attention to Afro-disco, Afro-funk and Afro-soul. Typically, the results are impressive, particularly "Dance Away", a hybrid Afro-disco/Afro-soul workout featuring the fine vocals of Chief Commander Yaaba. Elsewhere, he lays down a subtly housed-up take on Clavinet-happy Afro-funk (the superb, jazz-funk tinged "Floating Funk"), brilliantly breaks up the beats on the woozy, groovy and bustling "Carnival Beat", and lays blissful vocal harmonies over a sumptuous deep house beat on "The Sasquatch".
Review: Sangre Joven were a Peruvian band operating mainly throughout the 70s and, along with plenty of their own original material, the outfit also worked on versions of American funk classics, such as this reinterpretation, from 1975, of Elkin & Nelson's "Samba Samba". "Zamba Zamba" adds more flavor and percussion to the already tropical groove, making it an ansolutely addictive rhythm to own and play out on the dancefloor! The Matasuna imprint have gone above and beyond with this reissue, however, as Voodoocuts gets an edit in - it becomes more dance-centric and beat-heavy compared to the original cut. A quintessentially unmissable funk belter!