Review: It's been almost four years since we last heard from Anatoly Ice and Dariya, and we were beginning to miss the duo's magnetic waves of seductive nu-soul. Backed by a gentle sway of breakbeats, "Freedom (Unchained)" is the sort of tune that will have cross-cultural appeal, drawing in influences from pop, r&b, and even a little country love. On the flip, Mr Confuse twists the groove up to transform the original into more of a light-hearted house swelter, backed by the original's suave vocals.
Review: First released last summer, Cotonete and Roberto Di Melo's "AEIOU" is a deliciously warm and woozy chunk of jazz-funk/revivalist Latin disco fusion that sounds like it was recorded in 1978 rather than 2018. This time round, Dimitri From Paris is at the controls, offering up two arguably superior "Special Disco Mixes" that not only boasts more audio clarity around key instrumental parts (particularly the horns, walking bassline and previously buried Clavinet lines) but also add some fizzing new electrofunk synths. As a result, the A-side vocal version sounds like a disco scene anthem in waiting, while the high-octane flipside dub is percussive, sweaty and full throttle in the best possible way.
Review: New kids on the reissue block, New Zealand's Strangelove Music are off to a flying start with this beautiful 1983 art pop record from subversive chanteuse Lena D'Agua. "Jardim Zoologico" fuses electro boogie with Afrofunk with healthy measures of cosmic polish while "Tao" is a straight up Balearic gem that sparkles with sentiment and horizontal soul. Only ever released on Portuguese label Valentim De Carvalho, this reissue is over 30 years overdue.
Review: Athens of the North founder Euan Fryer has described Willie Dale's "Let Your Light Shine" as "one of the best discoveries in the last 15 years". Only five copies of the original 7" single have surfaced to date, with the most recent changing hands for eye-watering sums of money. You can see why Fryer was so excited by "Let Your Light Shine": while rooted in both funk and soul, the track also draws heavily on psychedelic rock and the fuzzy, funk-rock fusion brilliance of Sly Stone. Original B-side "Somebody Help Me" is an altogether more laidback affair, with Dale offering impassioned and melancholic lyrics over a psychedelic era take on old rhythm & blues ballads.
Review: The Brazil 45s / Mr Bongo outlet is back with its classic moves, coming through with some truly special soul blends out of the Brazilian golden era. Dalila and Neyde Alexandre feature in this latest 7", the former with 1968's "Canto Chorado", a slow-burning bubble of funky exotica - surely impossible to find in its original shade - and the latter with a funky little bomb from 1971 by the name of "Perplexidade" - surely the smoothest, sexiest soul number out this week! Lovely stuff.
DaM-FunK - "Believer" (Fingers deep funk remix) (8:40)
Nite-Funk - "Can U Read Me?" (3:38)
Review: Damon Garrett Riddick offered a fine addition to the DJ Kicks canon with his 19 track DaM-Funk selection earlier this and in time honoured tradition his exclusive contribution gets a vinyl release backed with a rather special remix. In a nod to his cache and love of classic deep house, Riddick has coaxed a Mr Fingers remix out of Larry Heard resulting in a sublime take on "Believer" that would have gone down a treat at Broken Beat haven Co-Op back in the day. Instead of the original version of "Believer," the flip features another Riddick original from the DJ Kicks mix - his killer Nite Funk collaboration with fellow LA synthesizer enthusiast Nite Jewel.
Review: Originally presented to Nigerian dancefloors in 1981 by Phonodisk, Cameroonian crooner Bayo Damazio's emphatic vocals are carried with class as the Mighty Flames provide the slick, spaced out disco grooves. The title track wriggles and shakes with Chic style tightness while Bayo's vocal command isn't dissimilar to that of Roy Ayers. "Dizzy With Love", meanwhile, is much more traditional 70s disco in its make-up with a bigger, more obvious groove, perky horn blasts and infectious falsetto vocals. Do as the title says and listen... Music like this speaks for itself.
Review: Southern Italian sort Giovanni Damico has been in a good run of form of late, as anyone who picked up his recent EP on Lumberjacks in Hell with confirm. This retro-futurist three-track excursion is rather fine, too, with the White Rabbit Recordings founder brilliantly joining the dots between jaunty Afrobeat, rubbery boogie and spacey electrofunk. All three tracks boast classic Afro-funk guitars, with killer A-side "To Fela's People (featuring Villy)" also boasting punchy horns, tactile synth bass and some life-affirming hip-hop rhymes. Over on the flip, "Baba" is a more traditional Afrobeat workout - albeit with the addition of some mind-altering analogue bass and vintage synth flourishes - while "Afro Stomp" is a bouncy, Baldelli-inspired chunk of Afro-cosmic disco.
Review: Under the Danced Til Midnight alias, DJ Andy Anderson has always produced music that eschews easy categorization. His two previous 12" singles successfully blended elements of funk, soul, disco, hip-hop, house and Afrobeat. This madcap, all-that-counts-is-the-dancefloor feel is continued on "She Can't Love You", which laces Ijeoma's soulful, R&B style vocal over a backing track that variously doffs a cap to fuzzy funk, boogie, breakbeat and disco-house. Similar could be said about the more breakbeat-minded "Maxx E", which feels like a reworked instrumental dub of the title track. Speaking of reworks, the EPs's highlight is arguably Egyptian Lover's punchy electro remake of "She Can't Love You".
Review: Goosepimples aplenty as Kent Records pulls out its ace card with a superb slice of feel good classic soul music from Darondo. Darondo, who was bought up in the San Franciso Bay area, led a colourful life, becoming a Pimp in the 1960s. He eventually gave that up and knocked out this wonderful piece of guitar balladry. Underneath a sublime Al Green/Curtis Mayfield like vocal performance you'll discover a simple string arrangement that compliments Darondo's falsetto vocal to brilliant effect. No doubt this will feature as one of the best 45 soul reissues of 2012.
Rubberband Of Life (feat Ledisi - radio edit) (4:22)
Rubberband Of Life (feat Ledisi) (5:46)
Rubberband Of Life (instrumental) (5:37)
Review: Amongst jazz aficionados, Miles Davis's Rubberband album is regarded as one of the genre's "lost classics". Although recorded in 1985, the set has never been released. We're promised it will finally appear later in the year. First, as a taster, we're treated to an EP that accompanies the legendary title track - a dexterous and squeezable chunk of '80s electrofunk blessed with some fine soloing from Davis - with three new "Rubberband of Life" versions. These feature vocalist Ledisi and re-cast the track as a dusty, Fugees style chunk of New York hip-hop soul. While radically different in the best possible way, all three versions (radio edit, extended and instrumental takes) prominently feature the legendary trumpet player's meandering lead lines.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a must-have seven-inch containing two curiously off-kilter cuts from obscure "beat generation" bands of the early 1960s. Der Evergreens "Es Lilin" (that's "Ice Lolly" in English, apparently) is a sun-kissed rhythm and blues cover of a Sudanese love song recorded in Rotterdam in 1965. It's fairly short but very, very sweet. Arguably even better is Les Jaguars De Casablanca's 1962 cover of surf classic "Gonzales". The band was truly international - Spanish and French guitarists and a Moroccoan rhythm section - and on the resultant recording you can tell. Think of it as an "outernational" take on the Shadows, and you're close.