Review: On his previous albums for Favorite, Brazilian Lucas Arruda has proved adept at adapting a range of vintage sounds from his home country - most notably 1970s MPB, jazz-funk and jazz-fusion, as well as 1980s boogie - into tasty new songs. He's at it again on "Onda Nova", his first album for four years. This time round, he's added a little blue-eyed soul, AOR and West Coast jazz-rock flavour into the mix alongside his usual breezy blend of ear-catching Brazilian style (check, for example, the Michael McDonald-ish vibes of English language cut "What I'd Do For Love" and the guitar solo-laden smoothness of "Heaven's In Your Arms"). It's a blend that guarantees glassy-eyed and loved-up thrills throughout.
Ich Schreib' Dir Ein Buch 2013 (feat Hildegard Knef)
Review: Though his career has taken many turns over the last decade, DJ Koze has remained that most illusive of creatures: a minimal-minded producer with an ear for a melody. This fourth full-length, packed to the rafters with big-name collaborations (Apparat, Caribou, Ada and Matthew Dear all feature), continues his move towards the home-listening sphere. So, while many of the heady rhythms and shuffling grooves hark back to his stripped-back past, Amygdala impresses with its woozy songs, genre-straddling fusions (see the modern soul meets deep house of "Homesick" or the steppy, tropical vibes of "Marilyn Whirlwind") and homely atmosphere.
Groove Ma Poule (feat Djeuhdjoah & Lieutenant Nicholson)
Daddy Sweet (feat Pat Kalla)
Li Dous Konsa
Sa Ce Kado
Shake It & Rise Up
Nosso Carimbo E Do Mundo (feat Pinduca & Nazar Peirera)
Se Nou Menm
Boug Bagay La
Penda (feat Emma Lamadji & Kandy Guira)
Review: Under the Guts guise, instrumental hip-hop beat-maker turned tropical soul enthusiast Fabrice Franck Henri has become one of Heavenly Sweetness' most reliable artists. "Philantropiques" is Henri's first album for three years and could well be his most expansive and adventurous to date. The set's 15 tracks are as colourful and musically rich as you'd expect, with the storied producer and a range of vocal collaborators conjuring up tracks that draw influence from a myriad of Central American, Caribbean, South American and African styles. The results are uniformly excellent, with highlights including the tropical shuffle of "Mucagiami (feat Vum Vum)", the sun-kissed French Caribbean funk of "Daddy Sweet (feat Pat Kalla)", the Afro-Tropical rush of "Kenk Corner" and the synth-powered brilliance of "Shake It & Rise Up".
Sandy Barber - "I Think I'll Do Some Stepping On My Own"
Bill Avery - "Disco Fever" (re-edit)
Spooky & Sue - "I've Got The Need"
Vessie Simmons - "I Can Make It On My Own"
Scarbrough - "Make Love To You"
The J's - "When Did You Stop"
Larry Brown - "Breaking Training" (parts 1 & 2)
Review: In recent years we've become accustomed to disco compilations appearing at a furious rate. While many of these compilations are undoubtedly worthy of attention, the volume of releases can sometimes be bewildering. This eight track selection from Al Kent, the second in his Disco Love series, ticks all the right boxes, however. Even by the highest crate digging standards, these tracks are pretty obscure; many won't have had much of an airing since their original release. Those into the rich, soulful side of disco - that brand of string-laden dancefloor material most associated with the Philadelphia International label and studio -will find much to enjoy. Perhaps the most noteworthy is Scarborough's delightfully sweet "Make Love To You", an epic of biblical proportions that lasts longer than most drunken one night stands. See also Valerie Simmons' super sweet "I Can't Make It On My Own" and the rousing orchestral manoeuvres of "I've Got The Need". This luxurious gatefold double album also comes replete with extensive track notes from compiler Al Kent.
Fiona Yorke - "Love For Me" (Nigel Lowis Super Disco mix)
Elis - "Praise You" (Nigel Lowis Sound Factory mix)
Hannah White - "Tell Me" (Nigel Lowis Vintage mix)
Francisca Thomas - "Clouds In My Mirror" (Nigel Lowis Sholes mix)
The Dig Band - "Cosmic Wind" (feat Jimmy Gallagher - Dig Construction mix)
Lol Williams - "Everyday" (Dsg Classic mix)
Nigel Lowis - "When The Night Calls" (Nigel Lowis Breezin' mix)
John Reid - "Teardrops" (Nigel Lowis mix)
Teddy B - "I Can't Help Myself" (Dsg radio edit)
Rebekah Ryan - "The Best Of Me" (Nigel Lowis Sound Factory mix)
Marc Staggers - "Timeless" (Nigel Lowis Classic mix)
Peter Symphorien & Fitzroy Facey - "This Ever Changing World" (Nigel Lowis The Soul Academy mix)
Review: An active producer and remixer since the 1990s, Nigel Lowis has a knack for crafting classic-sounding reworks that effortlessly join the dots between contemporary soulful house and the classic sounds of Philly Soul, disco, jazz-funk and boogie. For proof, check out this second collection of new, rare and little-known Lowis reworks. Those of a soulful persuasion will find much to enjoy throughout, from the slick, sax-sporting Philadelphia Soul revivalism of Lowis' take on Tilly Grace's "The Soul Man Theme", and a string-laden, Chic style "Super Disco Mix" of Fiona Yorke's "Love For Me", to the sugary-sweet slo-mo revision of Marc Staggers' "Timeless" and the boogie-tinged soulful house re-make of Kenny Thomas' "Back On Broadway".
Saturday Night Special (Lost alternative mix) (3:20)
Belle Isle Daze (Lost alternative mix) (4:11)
Review: One of the most remarkable things about Saturday Night Special, the 1975 debut album by the Lyman Woodard Organisation, is how two musicians - accompanied by various sessions drummers - could make such a rich and layered set. It still impresses that Lyman Woodard and Ron English could create so many superbly evocative and cinematic jazz-fusion workouts almost on their own. The set has long been regarded as one of the best musical commentaries on a particularly low period in Detroit's post-industrial history, and many of the tracks are suitably poignant - even those clearly aimed at the dancefloor. Critically, this reissue deals with one of the major issues with original copies - their poor pressing - by stretching the same tracks over two slabs of wax, rather than one.
Review: The work of Northern Brazilian musician-turned-bandleader Mestre Cupijo has long fascinated record collectors. Much of the allure can be attributed to Cupijo's trademark sound, which fused African-influenced Brazilian dance music and traditional Amazonian rhythms with sounds from Colombia (notably cumbia), Cuba and the Dominican Republic. The results, as showcased on six albums during the 1970s, were exciting and enthralling; a cross-pollination of sounds heavy on jaunty horns, shuffling rhythms and celebratory vocals. Here, Analog Africa presents the first in-depth retrospective of Mestre's work, hand-picking the finest tracks from his six obscure 1970s albums and offering them up in remastered form. For anyone interested in either African or Brazilian music, it should be an essential purchase.