Review: Many African disco enthusiasts will already be familiar with the title track of Benis Cletin's 1979 debut album, Jungle Magic, thanks to the fine re-edit Sofrito released back in 2011. Few, though, will have heard the whole album, which here gets a well-deserved reissue on CD. Cletin's take on Afro-disco-calypso-funk fusion is undeniably sweet, with cuts such as "Mr Teacher" and "Love Forever" balancing the needs of dancefloors with a cheery looseness that's never less than intoxicating. Highlights include the urgent, synth-laden Afro-funk grunt of "Fireman", and the touching, down-tempo tribute to Africa, "Beautiful Continent".
Review: Ever since its' initial 1983 release, Ahmed Fakroun's debut album, Mots D'Amour has been considered something of a global fusion classic by Balearic-minded record collectors. Initially released by legendary label Celluloid - home to some genuinely genre-bending electro, post-punk and experimental World Music - the well regarded full-length saw the Libyan singer/songwriter/musician blend traditional Arabic instrumentation and vocal harmonies with the distinctive shimmer of synthesizers, and typically Western pop production. 33 years on, the album has lost none of its' potency, with the breezy, English language track "Love Words", Talking Heads-ish "Soleil Soleil" and cheery "Kalimat Hob" standing out.
Review: Point Of No Return, the 1974 debut album by Nigerian combo the Funkees, has long been a sought-after set amongst those who dig for Afro-Funk and Afro-Rock fusion. Here, the inspired set gets a CD reissue for the very first time. It's a fine set, all told, with much of the material sounding not unlike similarly minded British combo Cymande, who burst onto the scene two years before the Funkees made their recording debut. Dotted throughout the album you'll find fuzzier, harder-edged cuts inspired by psychedelic rock, and the electric piano-laden, William Onyeabor-ish bounce of the inspired title track. If you're in the mood for heavy percussion, wild organ lines and even heavier guitars, this should be an essential purchase.