Review: Faze Action last teamed up with Zeke Manyika, formerly of 80s funksters Orange Juice, for the effervescent "Mangwana" back in 2016. Now they're back in collaboration for more classically rooted house music with a deeply infectious African twist. "Kubatana" is punchy where it counts, but it's a light and springy proto house burner first and foremost, with Manyika's vocal sounding as smooth as silk in the middle of the mix. "Hapana" is equally rich in musicality and personality, albeit on a more simmering, meditative tip. On the B side, "Kubatana" gets reworked by Rudy Midnight Machine and Paradise, who turn in distinct versions without losing the overall 80s aesthetic that powers the release.
Review: Last year, Zero 7 duo Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker returned after three years with an eponymous retrospective of career highlights. It now appears that they were tidying up a few loose ends before their real return, which begins with "Aurora", their first new single in four years. A little less drowsy and happily stoned than much of their previous work, the title track is a wonderful chunk of lilting ambient pop with subtle folk undertones, spacey electronics, distinctive vocals and a sprinkling of psychedelia style backwards instrumental parts. "Mono", meanwhile, is similarly impressive, sitting somewhere between slacker indie, Terry Callier and lo-fi Afro-pop.
Review: For Record Store Day 2018, UK downbeat legends Zero 7 present an exclusive collectors box set. The package contains seven 7"s, containing 14 tracks picked by Henry Binns and Sam Hardaker themselves. Featuring their acclaimed collaborations with Sia, Sophie Barker, Mozez, Jose Gonzalez and Martha Tilston among others. This is the first time some of these tracks have been made available on such format. Four tracks are taken from 2001's Simple Things LP, a further three are taken from their 2004 album When It Falls, four from The Garden (2006) and the final two come from the 2009 album Yeah Ghost. Artwork is by the band's original design collaborator (Julian House) and the sleeves are colour coded - placed into a cruciform overwrap sleeve with heavyweight vinyl.