Review: Soundway's latest essential collection successfully shines a light on synth-heavy South African music of the 1980s, chronicling local musicians and producers' attempts to create their own hybrid forms of boogie, synth-soul and bubblegum pop. Naturally, compilers Miles Cleret and DJ Okapi have done a brilliant job bringing together killer cuts that showcase the best of South Africa's '80s synth sounds, while at the same time ensuring a high ratio of rare and hard-to-treats. While some of the tracks genuinely sound like they could have been made in New York, London or L.A, there are plenty of others that include multiple instrumental nods to a diverse range of contemporaneous South African sounds. Crucially, the music is superb throughout.
Review: Long lost groove gold from South Africa, The Movers blessed the world with almost 20 albums during their tenure throughout the late 60s / 70s. A fluid collective with scant documentation on their history, key players changed in the band frequently but Soundway have traced the credits of this rare opus down to producer David Thekwane and musicians Jabu Sibumbe, L Rhikoti, Lloyd Lelosa and Sankie Chounyane. Whoever the line-up was, the key sounds were always consistent as the troupe writhed and frolicked around disco soul axis, as is best celebrated here on the thumping funk fusion of the title track, the sweaty insistency and tightness of "Beat" and the awesome falsettos of "Work Is Done".
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.
Review: Over the course of the last decade, dub-soaked musical fusionist Lord Echo has delivered a string of fine releases, including two top-notch albums. Given his fine track record, it's perhaps unsurprising that Soundway has snapped up the Kiwi producer's third full-length excursion, Harmonies. It features contributions from a posse of guest collaborators - Tony Laing of Fat Freddy's Drop and regular studio buddy Mara TK included - and giddily infuses reggae and rocksteady with disco, Afro-soul, Afro-funk, Afro-beat, spiritual jazz and, more surprisingly, techno. It's a hugely vibrant and entertaining set, all told, offering a good balance between dancefloor vibrations and more laidback concoctions.
Review: With so many archival labels putting out compilations of 1970s Nigerian funk and disco, Soundway has decided to change tack. Doing It In Lagos is a primer on the country's lesser-celebrated 1980s boogie scene. According to the superb liner notes, most of the music on show here - and, yes, it's universally brilliant - was created by a younger generation of musicians who wanted to move away from Afrobeat, and further towards an authentically American style electrofunk sound. As a result, many of the tracks featured on Doing It In Lagos - not least Hotline's brilliant opener, Livy Ekemezie's disco-funk slammer "Holiday Action" and Sonny Enang's superb "Don't Stop That Music" - are every bit as special as the American-produced records they were trying to emulate.
Review: Soundway has high hopes for the third album by "underground super-producer" Lord Echo. That set is due to appear in early 2017, and as a taster, they've decided to drop this fine single. "Just Do You" features the vocals of Mara TK of Electric Wire Hustle fame, and is a deliciously cheery chunk of Caribbean inspired dub disco indulgence. It's accompanied by a fine Dub - which, naturally, features more tape delay and a tougher, stripped back groove - and an instrumental version. There's also a bonus cut in the shape of "Only You", which features regular Lord Echo collaborator Toby Laing, best known as a member of globe-trotting Kiwi supergroup Fat Freddy's Drop.