Review: London-based reissue label Kalita is here to take you deep into the hidden corners of African grooves, kicking things off in style with this infectious selection of cuts from Ernest Koffi, otherwise known as NST Cophie's, recorded in Paris and released on a private press LP in 1980. "Bian Kou" is a loose and limber disco funk number with impeccable slap bass, while "E Clolo" brings a more rounded, distinctly 80s flavoured production. Taking over the whole B-side, "Miokouna" takes on a more distinctly Afrobeat-minded demeanour and beams the Ivory Coast sunshine into your ears with irresistible force.
Review: Two killer tracks licensed from Oriki Music,mastered by Frank From Sofrito at The Carvery and taken from the recent Akwaba Abidjan compilation. These two monsters from De Frank Jr are straight up deep and funky afrobeat from 1970's Ivory Coast. More essential dancefloor delights from Mukatsuku - strictly vinyl only & singles only...As played by Hunee ,JD Twitch & Alexander Nut
Cantico Brasileiro No 3 (Kamaiura) (Selvagem & Carrot Green mix) (8:22)
Lamento Africano/Rictus (Joakim remix) (7:55)
Review: Earlier this year, Brazilian duo Selvagem joined forces with Optimo's JD Twitch to reissue Maria Rita's Brasileira, an obscure, 1998 full-length that had long been a "holy grail" for lovers of contemporary Brazilian music and Balearic enthusiasts alike. Here, two tracks from that set are given the remix treatment. Selvagem and Carrot Green join forces on the A-side to deliver a lolloping, soft touch house mix of "Cantico Brasileiro No. 3 (Kamajura)". Wrapping Rita's drifting vocal, Amazonian flutes and bustling analogue synth-bass around a solid kick-drum and layered hand percussion, it's something of an epic. Arguably even better is Joakim's flipside rub of "Lamento Africanus/Rictus", which sees bleeping new age melodies and foreboding synth lines rise above a bed of dreamy vocal samples and hypnotic drum machine hits.
Joyeux De Cocotier - "Pina Colada Coco Loco" (6:10)
Djeminay - "Sun Plash" (2:52)
Review: Ahhh, bien sur! Julien Achard and Nicholas Skliris return to Heavenly Sweetness to provide our shelves with the second chapter of the Digital Zandoli series, a wonderful dynasty of contemporary dance music from every corner of the world. Much like the first edition, which flew off our floors in absolutely no time, you'll be lucky to find this music anywhere else but righ here - these two work hard to dig out the very best of what the rest of the globe has to offer. More to the point, you'll find it even harder to find dance music as lush and tropical as this gear, a bubby assortment of dance tracks ranging from house to soul and dancehall. Bliss.
Review: Here's something of a surprise from the normally funk and soul-centric Athens of the North label: a "heavy salsa" 7" featuring two killer cuts from contemporary outfit Grupo Magnetico. It's a taster for their forthcoming debut album; if these two straight-to-tape cuts are anything to go by, that set will be well worth picking up. Both tracks sound like they could have been recorded by Colombian musicians in New York during the heyday of Boogaloo, with A-side "Vampiras" - a typically undulating salsa groove which is enlivened by group male vocals and heavy horns - just edging out the gentler but punchier "Hermanos Latinos" in the "standout" stakes.
Review: As a member of several chart-topping groups and an in-demand producer in his own right, Thami Mdluli was something of a superstar on South Africa's "bubblegum" scene during the 1980s. Yet as the decade progressed, it was for his club-focused instrumentals - released under the Professor Rhythm alias - that he became most celebrated. By the time this album was first released in 1995, he'd helped to develop the now celebrated "Kwaito" style of house-influenced South African dancefloor fusion. Bafana Bafana does contain some distinctive kwaito moments, but for the most part it just sounds like a gloriously South African take on mid 1990s U.S, Italian and British house music. Crucially, it's also superb, like some long lost '90s house album made in Jo'burg, rather than New Jersey.
Fernando Falcao - "Amanhecer Tabajara (A Alceu Valenca)"
Anno Luz - "Por Que"
Andrea Daltro - "Kiua"
Os Mulheres Negras - "Maoscolorida"
Bene Fonteles - "O M M"
Maria Rita - "Lamento Africano/Rictus"
Carlinhos Santos - "Giramundo"
Bene Fonteles - "Azul"
Priscilla Ermel - "Gestos De Equilibrio"
Carioca - "Branca"
Marco Bosco - "Sol Da Manha"
Maria Rita - "Cantico Brasileiro No 3 (Kamaiura)"
Marco Bosco - "Madeira II (Mae Terra)"
Priscilla Ermel - "Corpo Do Vento"
Luhli E Lucina - "E Foi"
Review: When this brilliant compilation debuted on vinyl earlier in the year, it was rightly acclaimed as one of the best anthologies of the year. It was compiled by long-time Music From Memory affiliate John Gomez, who takes listeners on an attractive stroll through Brazilian music's margins. The material showcased was all released between 1978 and 1992 and is both impressively varied and effortlessly picturesque. It mostly focuses on tracks that fuse traditional Brazilian instrumentation, percussion and musical ideas with elements of electronica, ambient, jazz-fusion and Reich style minimalism. The accompanying liner notes do a great job in putting the collection in context, explaining how the music was often inspired by political changes within Brazil, while this CD edition boasts three extra tracks not present on the vinyl version.
Review: The most famous whistler in cinema (so arguably the most famous whistler in the world), Alessandro Alessandroni has contributed to cinema, TV and music with as much influence as his old friend and collaborator Ennio Morricone. He was also making some incredibly innovative electronic compositions on the side, it would seem... These four variations were found in an old archive in his African home and have never, before now, been heard before. From the densely-layered spaghetti-flavoured "Afro Voodoo" to the soft sultry swoons of "Afro Sentiment" by way of the sheer dancefloor pump of "Afro Discoteca", this is a truly remarkable find for Four Flies. Made all the more poignant due to his recent passing, too. You know what to do.
Review: South Africa's Letta Mbulu has put out a vast amount of quality material in her lifetime, and although the singer was based far away from Europe, her music was picked up by the London massive during the mid '80s at clubs like Dingwalls and featured heavily in the rare groove digs. The opener "Sweet Julu" is now a London two-step classic, while other tracks like "Nomalizo" or "The Village" are more on the disco side, all of them filtered with a distinctly tropical edge! A top reissue!
Sekele I Like It (Baptman & Betino Philly Vibe mix) (6:21)
Feet On The Ground (Vas Moody rework) (4:41)
Review: A couple of years back, Rafael Top Secret - a selector known for digging deep for inspiration - delivered a tidy re-edit of "Sekele I Like It", a previously little-known Afro-boogie cut by French artist Robert "Bobby" Helms. Copies of the 1980 album it came from, Lay Down, Girl, now go for serious money, prompting this licensed reissue. Helms' brilliant, horn-totin' original is accompanied by another cut from that album, "Feet On The Ground" - a straight-up disco affair - and two new flipside remixes. Baptman and Betino's "Philly Vibe" mix of "Sekele I Like" is a largely instrumental interpretation that includes some killer electric piano solos, with Vas Moody's "Feet On The Ground" remix taking that track in a tightly-wound dub disco direction.
Assa'd Khoury With His Oriental Electronic Organ & Band - "Al Ghaba" (3:50)
Ammar El Shariey - "Funk Excerpt" (2:34)
Ammar El Shariey - "Souk Al Abeed" (4:13)
Farid Atrache - "Cairo" (4:19)
Mohammed Jamal - "Doroup El Hawa" (instrumental) (3:24)
Ihsan Al Munzer - "Jamileh" (4:17)
Ammar El Shariey - "Enta Omri" (3:51)
Review: If you have any interest at all in decidedly out-there Aarabic takes on disco - cosmic or otherwise - then you really need this brilliant compilation in your life. Comprised of music recorded and released in Egpyt and Lebanon between 1974 and 1985, it's a treasure trove of discotheque-ready gems from North Africa. Highlights come thick and fast, from the sweeping strings and lo-fi synthesizer solos of Ihsan al Munzer's dizzyingly upbeat "A Night At The Station" and the psychedelic madness of "Al Ghaba" by Assa'd Khoury With His Oriental Electronic Organ and Band, to the synth-laden, percussion-heavy dub disco thrills of Farid Atrache's "Cairo", which is the sort of record you could imagine DJ Harvey championing. To be honest, it's all "fire", as the cool kids would say.
Review: Africa Seven is on fire recently, and this new compilation of rare and untapped material from Cameroon's Joseph Ekambi Tongo Mpondo has to be the pick of the lot! The talented multi-instrumentalist was famously studying medicine in Paris throughout he 60s, but it's clear that down the music path was the only sensible option for this man. African Funk Experimentals brings together some of his most obscure material from the years 1968-1982...and some new gear from 2017! Aside from the absolutely killer artwork featuring on the sleeve, this is a ten-track masterpiece, reaching all corners of the afrobeat heritage, while still retaining something very personal and symbolic of Cameroon's often underrated influence on African funk and boogie. Top marks all round.
Review: Since first popping up on Comeme in 2012, Barcelona-based Colombian Sebastian "Sano" Hoyos has been responsible for a smattering of superb EPs and a sole bustling full-length. This is his second outing on the eccentric Public Possession imprint and sees him deliver a trio of quirky cuts that mix vocals and rhythms from his home country (re-played on battered drum machines) with synthesizer sounds from the 1980s. This blend is most potent on cheery, tropical synth-pop A-side "El Tecnopop", but can also be heard on "El Juancho", where non-stop vocals, darting acid synths and foreboding bass ride a layered, tribal drum groove. Also impressive is closer "No Quiero Nada Contigo", a drum-machine driven cumbia outing that makes great use of sampled scratches and weird electronics.
Review: The latest eccentric chunk of 21st century cumbia from the Disco Mas camp has a not-so-subtle Halloween theme. A-aside "Trik-O-Tri" is, as the name suggests, a tongue-in-cheek cumbia tribute to the process of door-to-door sweet scrounging, whose hybrid electronic/acoustic groove is laden with spooky synth flourishes and all manner of silly vocals. It's one of those tracks that is simply impossible to dislike. On the flipside, the previously unheard combo unveils "La Arana De Chocolate", a head-nodding cumbia cut rich in ghostly melodies whose fuzzy vocals tell a tale of a spider made of confectionary. As a bonus, the track ends in a locked groove to allow for longer mixes and impromptu bouts of Colombian MCing.
Review: After 60 blessed years on the planet, Oghene Kologbo has just given the world the record of his life. A strong statement considering he's worked and recorded with all the Afrobeat greats from Kuti to Sunny Ade, but a true one. The collaborative work comprising luminaries such as Tony Allen, Pat Thomas, members of Antibalas and the Afrobeat Academy, Joseph Cotton and many more (including Paris DJs producers Loik and Grant) this is the sound Afrofunk's deepest foundations being built on in an array of fused futurist ways; the blazing flute-led jazz of "Who Is Who", the bluesy subdued storytelling of "Abandon Property", the raw, gutsy tribal loops of "Another Man Ting", the fiery party-punctuated funk of "My People"... This is an incredible investigation and celebration of Africa past, present and future all wrapped up in an immaculate and ambitious package. Apparently there's plenty more to come too...
Review: Hot Casa's latest deluxe reissue should delight all those who enjoy Afro-funk fusion from the early 1980s. It comes from Togolese artist Itadi K Bonney and is thoroughly obscure even by Afro reissue standards (if you can find an original copy for sale, it will cost you the best part of L900). Bonney and his backing band recorded and released it in 1983, filling the album with rich political soul, William Onyeabor style Moog motifs and thrillingly loose fusions of U.S funk, boogie and contemporaneous African dancefloor styles. This edition not only comes with an insert containing a rare interview with the now sadly departed singer, but also two previously unreleased tracks. In other words, it should be an essential purchase.