Review: The Busy Twist run a really interesting operation... Inspired by the UK's bass movement, the London-based producers have recorded extensively in their native Ghana, giving this a truly international tongue. A fine case in point is Drumtalk's remix of the brilliantly titled "Auntie Fatty": riddled with all manner of chopped up chants and percussion, there's a very familiar riff on the drop. "Floor Excitement" is another highlight; the vocals are reminiscent of a Wookie plate but delivered with heartwarming gusto. Technically this is an EP... But with such a bounty of tropical treats, this is almost album material.
Review: Bouncing his time between Antibalas and his Marcos Garcia and Chico Mann projects, Chico returns after several years of silence with a sweet slice of lolloping broken soul. With its soft padded synths and cotton wool hug of Kendra Morris's vocals, there's a delicate tumble to proceedings as we nod and slide into a sound that's remained in its own soul universe since emerging almost 20 years ago. When done as well and with as much authenticity as this, it's timeless.
Review: Expert reissue label Soundway look to 1980s Trinidad & Tobago for their latest rare gem. Two cuts of "Parang" - a sort of South American folk music originated from Venezuelan and Colombian immigrants and later infused with Caribbean rhythms, disco and soca vibes. As such both tunes are impossibly sunny, uplifting and loose groovers that will work dance floors into a spin at any time of year. Colleen Grant's take on the style is driven by a neat funk baseline coupled with her glorious vocals, while Sandra Hamilton's is more down and dirty with rump wiggling drums.
Review: Here we see London Afro-Funk outfit Konkoma remixed within an inch of their lives by a selection of producers. "Sibashaya Woza" is turned into a rolling filtered-house gem, "Kpanlogo" is a remarkable Afro-meets-bontempi- house excursion at the hands of Debruit but it's Aunte Flo's awesome sleazy house (with hints of classic Minneapolis funk) mix that's the ultimate winner.
Review: Curiosities is the second album in the trilogy from in-demand New Zealand multi-instrumentalist and producer Lord Echo. Six years after initial release, this reissue sounds as vital as ever and is extra DJ-friendly given that it is spread across two slabs of wax. It covers plenty of ground from escapist tropical ambient to lovably lazy dubs via vivid disco-funk. Highlights come in the form of "Molten Lava" and its heart wrenching vocals and the gospel grooves of "The Creator Has A Master Plan". Winter might be fast approaching, but so long as you have sounds as warm and sunny as these around, summer will never feel too far away.
Review: Destination mid 70s Nairobi where Madagascan guitarist Jimmy Mawi was laying down some serious vibes... Signed to EMI's Pathe imprint, he released three singles during his career which have all since faded to obscurity. Until now. Dusty, garagey and steaming with raw blues fusion, it's hard to deny any parallels to Hendrix as Mawi expresses himself with a rough heartfelt frenzy. Highlights include the Zep-level smoked out soul of "Blue Star Blues" and the insistent drive and reverbed out faraway vocals on "Black Dialogue". Another exemplary Afro-funk find from Soundway.
Review: A special summer-tuned dedication to two of Africa's most creative contributors who both passed away at the birth of the New Year. First up, South Africa's Shaluza Max's 2002 classic gets the revisitation it deserves; big accordions, honeyed Zulu vocals and a chugging groove that could plough into any dancefloor under the sun, it struts with a timeless sense of universal groove science. Flip for a rewind to the mid 80s as Soundway pays tribute to the hugely prolific Tabu Lay Rochereau. Complete with smooth, soothing synths, show-stopping harmonies and slinky bassline that won't quit, it's as heart-rending now as it was 30 years ago.
Del Preso Que Va A La Silla Electrica Por Ofensa A La Moral Colombiana
El Festival Vallenato
Review: Last seen presenting a retrospective of the past six years of recordings for the Staubgold label, Bogota's finest composer Eblis Alvarez returns to the Soundway label with Salvadora Robot, a rather fine fourth studio album as Meridian Brothers. Very much in line with the oddball nature of previous Meridian Brothers albums, Salvadora Robot is perhaps Alvarez's most ambitious set to date with each of the ten tracks delving deeper into the tropical rhythms of South America and twisting different Latin music styles into wild new shapes. Everything from Bossa Nova to Dominican Republic merengue via reggaeton is treated with dizzying skill by Alvarez for a most interesting album.
Review: When it comes to offering up albums of carnival-ready Latin-soul, it could be argued that Gabriele Poso is in a league of his own. Certainly, his 2018 set for BBE, "Awakening" was superb, and this follow-up on Soundway is every bit as good. The South American influences - think samba, Azymuth sytle jazz-funk, Brazilian boogie, MPB etc -catch the ear throughout, alongside his extensive use of warming synthesizers, sun-kissed electronics and his own voice, which seems to get richer and more seductive with each successive release. The quality threshold remains so high throughout that it's barely worth picking out highlights: it's literally "all good", and you really should check out the album when you get a chance.
Review: Soundway's latest cross-cultural missive is the result of a one-off 2018 studio session in Marrakech involving Belgrade-based Tapan - an act known for pushing a particularly dystopian take on techno and industrial music - and "electrified desert blues" group Generation Taragalte. It would be fair to say that the resultant music is thrillingly unique. Opener "Jbit Aala Khiam" is particularly impressive, with Generation Taragalte's psychedelic guitars, vocals and percussion rising above Tapan's pulsing, droning electronics over 11 mesmerising minutes. The squally saxophones, up-tempo rhythms, moody aural textures and chanted vocals of "Aha Yazine Kaymaltou" also make a big impression, as does the spaced-out Saharan psychedelia of "Hyatti". If it's fiendish fuzziness you're after, the EP's closing cut has that covered, too.
Hafusa Abasi & Slim Ali with The Yahoos Band - "Sina Raha"
Nashil Pichen & The Eagles Lupopo - "Ng'ong'a Wa Mwanjalo"
Nairobi Matata Jazz - "Tamba Tamba"
The Lulus Band - "Ngwendeire Guita"
Mbiri Young Stars - "Ndiri Ndanogio Niwe"
The Lulus Band - "Nana"
Afro 70 - "Weekend"
The Rift Valley Brothers - "Mu-Africa"
DO 7 Band - "HO Ochiri"
Afro '70 - "Cha-Umheja"
Peter Tsotsi Juma & The Eagles Lupopo - "Kajo Golo-Weka"
New Gatanga Sound - "Thonia Ni Caki"
Sophia Ben & The Eagles Lupopo - "See Serere"
Kalambya Boys - "Kivelenge"
The Loi-Toki-Tok Band - "Leta Ngoma"
Huruma Boys Band - "Theresia"
Orchestre Veve Star - "Nitarudia"
The Mombasa Vikings - "Mama Matotoya"
The Lulus Band - "Mutumia Muriu"
Ndalani 77 Brothers - "Nzaumi"
Review: Having explored the rich heritage of Nigeria and Ghana with well researched vigour, Soundway turn to Kenya for their next adventure... A rare insight: while Lagos was churning out seminal Afrobeat compositions, Kenya took to western influences in a much subtler fashion. With heavy emphasis on the Kenyan benga and Afro-Cuban rumba there's a much deeper, local folk presentation and format throughout most of the selection. Complete with detailed notes and beautiful presentation (like all Soundway compendiums) this won't look out of place in any collection.
Roger Bain - "Stand Up & Rock Your Body" (instrumental) (5:29)
D Ivan - "Fire" (extended dub edit) (5:36)
Bill Campbell - "Body Beat" (4:24)
Brother Resistance - "Move It" (version) (5:52)
Adonijah - "It's Alright" (6:34)
Peter Britto - "I Want Your Love" (5:00)
Juno D - "Hotter & Hotter" (dub edit) (6:44)
Colin Jackman - "D'Jab Jab Dance" (Bad Lad mix) (4:23)
Levi John - "SOCA" (7:31)
Spiking - "Liberation Train" (7:52)
Mohjah - "Zion Gates" (dub) (4:21)
Andre Tanker - "Wild Indian Band" (6:22)
Touch - "Touch Music" (edit) (6:14)
D' Rebel Band - "Solid" (6:36)
The Millers - "Last Days" (5:57)
Chocolate Affaire - "Jump To Calypso" (4:04)
Review: The mighty Soundway Records label head Miles Cleret and DJ/collector Jeremy Spellacey turn their expert digging and curatorial skills to the Soca Dub & Electronic Calypso sounds of 1979 to 1998 on this bumper new triple pack. The 17 tracks touch on obscurities, instrumentals and dubs, vocal edits and all manner of roots, boogie, reggae, house, soul and disco gems. It makes for a never less than heart swelling collection that bring immediate sunshine to even the most rainy, cold days in the north of England. Highlights are plentiful, but our picks of the bunch are Bill Campbell's "Body Beat" which does exactly what it says on the tin, Adonijah's disco stomper ("It's Alright") and Levi John's "Soca", a lo-fi oddity with brilliantly loose drum work.
Lexy Mella - "On The Air" (Rap mix - Frankie Francis edit - bonus 7") (3:47)
Review: Soundway offer us a new compilation featuring 20 rare tracks from the currently much talked about world of Nigerian pop music; a zeitgeist of their early 1980s club culture. The country's economy was booming at the time and so was its recording industry. Strongly influenced by '70s disco and funk, this new generation were, as the liner notes explain "Eager to sound as American as possible with no hint of the fervour for afro-beat, afro-rock and afrocentric thinking that the 1970s had thrown up". The original albums that many of these singles came from go for exorbitant prices online, so here's a chance to snap up some of the periods finest music, remastered across three 12"s.