Review: One of the richest, soulful voices in the European jazz, Biondi regularly works with the likes of Incognito. The High Five Quintet complements his delivery well with a Pimptones style soft-jazz structure but plenty of rhythmic welly. For a little more house and a little less jazz, flip for Opolopo's remix. Weighty and club-ready but with Mario's full vocal still intact, it's yet another notch in Opolopo's award-worthy remix bedpost
Review: Another fine deep spiritual Jazz reissue on Japanese label P-Vine that came out on Strata East originally in 1974. Soaring vocals are charismatic of this album and it features the track Optimystical which Andres previously sampled.
Review: Musical blog and house party "Craft Music" from Saint Petersburg launches a new label.
For the first release they've invited talented musician Funkyjaws from Grodno. His music has been releaseed by labels such as Kolour LTD, Shadeleaf Music, Pusic (Austria) and others.
Review: Many disco-era modern soul collectors regard, Larom Baker's "You're The Best", which initially appeared in 1978 on an impossible to find, single-sided 7" single, as one of the style's genuine "Holy Grail" records. It's good news, then, that Athens Of The North has secured the rights to reissue it, releasing the full studio version (rather than the shorter edit that was released all those years ago) for the very first time. It's a genuine gem, with Baker's deliciously breezy West Coast soul vocal seemingly floating over a killer backing track rich in hazy horns, bustling slap bass and crunchy Clavinet lines. Turn to the flipside for the more disco-minded "Train Of Thought", one of a string of recently discovered Baker recordings that form the basis of a forthcoming album of previously unreleased tracks.
Review: George and Glen Miller are undoubtedly best known for their West End Records released 1982 boogie-soul classic "Touch Your Life". They released plenty of other records that flitted between soca, reggae, disco, and - in the latter stages of their career - electrofunk. "Easing", which appeared at some point at the turn of the '80s on London label Third World, remains one of their most potent releases - and, in its original form at least, formidably hard to find. This Soundway reissue wisely replicates the track list of the original release, beginning with the title track - a deliciously percussive, musically intricate chunk of peak-time disco smothered in sharp, Afro-funk style horns and George and Glen Miller's lilting reggae-soul style vocals. The flipside "Version" strips out the vocals, allowing listeners to hear in greater detail the pair's impeccable arrangements and instrumentations (particularly the fine orchestration and rich groove).
Review: Formidably hard to find in its original form, Patience Africa's "Wozani" has finally been given the reissue treatment by La Casa Tropical. Those lucky enough to own a copy of the 1987 release - the South African singer's final EP - will note that this edition omits some tracks, instead offering loud cuts of just two (admittedly superb) jams. A-side "Hide & Seek" is a perfect example of the then developing Kwaito sound, with Patience Africa's strong lead vocal and "bubblegum" style synthesizer melodies nestling atop New York freestyle influenced beats and a chunky bassline. "By Hook Or By Crook", meanwhile, is closer in sound and feel to straight-up "bubblegum" synth-pop, with sugary-sweet vocals, "Glam" style triple-time beats and a more swinging electronic bassline.
Review: Fantastic Voyage kicks off the first vinyl focused label, Fantastic Wax, with Hong Kong based vinyl aficionado, and owner of Pharmacy Records and Fauve Radio, Romain FX. Inspired by his love and respect for African music and it's deep roots, Romain approached it with a modern mindset to give a second life to the tracks that we're disappearing due to the lack of accessibility and rarity of these records.
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series rarely misses a beat, with each successive seven-inch showcasing two more hard-to-find treats from the dim and distant past. The latest instalment opens with "Vou Morar No Teu Sorriso", a sought-after cut from Trio Tenura's eponymous 1971 MPB/soul fusion album. It's a genuinely summery treat, with ear-catching, reverb-heavy vocals and rising horn lines rising above a life-affirming backing track. On the flip you'll find "Quem Vai Querer", the title track from a superb 1977 album by Eliana Pittman. A breezy chunk of sizzling samba-soul, the cut features an impeccable lead vocal from Pittman and some sing-along group chorus vocals
Review: Uzuri is happy to welcome the talents of the berlin based ,Sardinian Venetian to the fold with a 4 track stunner of an ep taking quality deep house , broken beat and some esoteric meanderings .
Haruomi Hosono, Takahiko Ishikawa, Masataka Matsutoya - "Mykonos No Hanayome"
- "LA Night"
Hitomi Tohyama - "Exotic Yokogao"
Tazumi Toyoshima - "Machibouke"
Review: U.S label Light In The Attic has previously served up compilations exploring various Japanese takes on Western music, most notably folk, rock, ambient and new age. Here they switch tack, curating a brilliant double-album set that showcases the best Japanese synth-pop, AOR and boogie recorded between 1976 and '86. The quality threshold remains impressively high throughout, from the blue-eyed-soul breeze of Taeko Ohnuki's "Kusuri Wo Takusan" and the Chaz Jankel-meets-Thompson Twins style throb of Haruomi Hosono's "Sports Men", to the talkbox-sporting late night AOR-pop flex's Hiroshi Satoh's "Say Goodbye" and the glistening, Latin-influenced jazz-funk brilliance of Masayoshi Takanaka's steel pan-sporting "Bamboo Vender".
Os Quentes De Terra Alta - "Praia Do Algodoal" (3:21)
Pinduca - "Pai Xango" (3:36)
Janjao - "Meu Barquinho" (3:13)
Messias Holanda - "O Galo Canta, O Macaco Assovia" (3:33)
Vieira E Seu Conjunto - "Lambada Da Baleia" (2:55)
Verequete E O Conjunto Uirapuru - "Mambo Assanhado" (3:25)
O Conjunto De Orlando Pereira - "Carimbo Para Yemanja" (2:19)
Pinduca - "Coco Da Bahia" (3:06)
Messias Holanda - "Carimbo Da Pimienta" (2:29)
Verequete E O Conjunto Uirapuru - "Da Garrafa Uma Pinga" (3:11)
O Conjunto De Orlando Pereira - "Maruda" (2:00)
Magalhaes E Sua Guitarra - "Xango" (3:20)
Vieira E Seu Conjunto - "Melo Do Bode" (3:45)
Grupo Da Pesada - "Voa Andorinha" (2:43)
Grupo Da Pesada - "Lundun Da Yaya" (3:15)
Mestre Cupijo E Seu Ritmo - "Despedida" (4:09)
Review: Analog Africa's latest must-have release focuses on the little-known musical culture of the Para state on Northern Brazil, and specifically the port city of Belem. Since the 1960s the city's musicians have been serving up unique and exciting new styles that draw as much on West African, Cuban and Caribbean music as they do the rhythms and instrumentation of the Amazonian tribes based nearby. It's these kinds of unique and exuberant fusions - think heavy bass, bouncy ska-style rhythms, punchy Afro-Cuban horns, densely layered drums, celebratory vocals and tropical guitars - that make "Jambu E Os Miticos Sons Da Amazonia" such an essential listen. Context is provided via the included 24-page booklet, whose extensive liner notes track the development of Para's unique musical culture.