Review: Paris' Heavenly Sweetness label is rightly proud of this 30th volume in the Ethiopiques series. It's a cross-generational collaboration between legendary Ethiopian singer and keyboardist Girma Beyene - best known for his jazz work in the late 1960s - and contemporary Parisian band Akala Wube. Given that the latter is dedicated to creating music inspired by Ethiopian music of the '60s and '70s, it's little surprise to find that Mistakes On Purpose is a hugely enjoyable and authentic-sounding set (think funk, soul and jazz with an East African twist). To add an extra level of authenticity, Ethiopiques founder and East African music specialist Francis Falceto acted as producer.
Review: Naturally, the great Fela Kuti or more recently, people like William Onyeabor usually get all the praise when it comes to the topic of Afrobeat and anything remotely funky from central Africa. However, what many fail to realise is the sheer quantity of untapped gold deep in the heart of those countries and King Bucknor Jr is inarguably very much a part of that hidden treasure chest. 1979's African Woman, also known as The Black Isaiah Of Africa, is a record that holds a mythical status for many, and it's safe to say that for the few lucky diggers who own an original copy of this record, Hot Casa's reissue probably isn't that welcome. However, how could anyone ever deny a fellow music lover of a tune like "Woman Nature" or "Mr Debtor"? The former owns the sexiest percussion roll available on our charts at the moment, not to mention the King's raw and loose vocals, whereas the latter heads deeper into the groove, coming through with a beautifully dubwise groove to fill the air. So hot!
Review: Some dusty-fingered diggers may be familiar with "World Full Of People", an insanely rare and suitably sought-after 1976 7" by a little-known band called Everyday People. Most thought that was their only release; in fact, they also released a full-length the same year under the People's Pleasure alias. That album is apparently even harder to find, making this first ever vinyl reissue a must-have for fans of quality funk and soul. Much of the material sits somewhere between rubbery funk, jaunty jazz-funk and storming soul, with highlights including the laidback bliss of "Heavenly Feeling" (very Idris Muhammad), the righteous, horn-heavy "World Full of People" and the seductive, synth-laden slow jam "Fantasies and Dreams".
Review: Since launching earlier this year, Manana Records seems to have specialized in cross-cultural collaborations. The label's latest album release offers more of the same, with globally focused producers Sound Species joining forces with Ache Meyi, a four-piece outfit from Santiago de Cuba. The resultant album not only joins the dots between the past and the present - traditional folkloric percussion blended with contemporary dancefloor rhythms - but also organic and electronic instrumentation. It's a blend that works well, with Sound Species expertly crafting their synths and drum machines to the dense percussion and Afro-Haitian vocals of Ache Meyi. There's plenty of floor-friendly material to be found throughout, but also occasional trips into dreamy downtempo territory.
Don't Keep Me Waiting (feat Marsha Ambrosius) (3:18)
Bitches Do Voodoo (feat Angela Munoz) (0:55)
Possibilities (feat Eryn Allen Kane) (3:11)
Dans Us Moment D'errance (feat Laetitia Sadier, Questlove, Keyon Harrold) (3:05)
Love Is Free (feat Eryn Allen Kane) (2:45)
Together Again (feat No ID, James Poyser) (3:21)
Feel Alive (feat Karolina, Loren Oden) (2:56)
There Is No Greater Love (feat Loren Oden, Saudia Yasmein) (2:18)
Review: As foretold on Kendrick's Untitled two years ago, composer Younge and Tribe Called Quest's Muhammad have been conjuring behind for many years (since 2014 to be precise, on Souls Of Mischief's album There Is Only Now) and Midnight Hour is the incredible result. 20 tracks of ageless Harlem wisdom; the warmth and fusion is rich throughout as we glide from each soulful moment to jazzy highlight with the help of vocalists such as Cee-Lo Green, Luther Vandross and Angela Munoz. Everything about this body of work smacks with class and authenticity; from the sweeping orchestral dynamics of "Gate 54" to the dreamy lo-fi jazz of "Smiling For Me" via the soul jazz vibrancy of "Dans Us Moment D'errance". The night is young...