Review: For the latest exotic outing on their Tak:til offshoot, Germany's World Music inspired Glitterbeat crew has turned to South Korean fusionist Park Jiha, an artist whose occasional releases combine traditional instruments with contemporary electronics and production techniques. There's plenty to enjoy from start to finish, from the exotic, mind-altering string motifs and intoxicating aural textures of opener "Arrival", to the fuzzy sunset bliss of "Thunder Shower", delicate piano motifs and reverb-heavy plucked strings of "Philos" and the slow melodic bob and swirling field recordings of "Walker: In Seoul". Best of all, though, is the childlike wonder of bittersweet standout cut "When I Think Of Her", in which Jiha's improvised vocals play a starring role.
Review: Sierra Leone's Geraldo Pino was one of the biggest names in West African music in the late '60s and early '70s, developing a James Brown-influenced Afro-funk sound that is said to have heavily influenced Fela Kuti. By 1978, his best years were arguably behind him, but he was still able to stay on top of developments in American music. Boogie Fever, his final full-length, did a great job in fusing his usual organ-heavy sound with popular dancefloor styles of the time, including New York disco and Jamaican reggae. As a result, Pino was responsible for one of the best Afro-disco albums of all time, which here gets a first CD release. For those who love African music - and particularly Afro-beat - it should be an essential purchase.
Review: As a member of several chart-topping groups and an in-demand producer in his own right, Thami Mdluli was something of a superstar on South Africa's "bubblegum" scene during the 1980s. Yet as the decade progressed, it was for his club-focused instrumentals - released under the Professor Rhythm alias - that he became most celebrated. By the time this album was first released in 1995, he'd helped to develop the now celebrated "Kwaito" style of house-influenced South African dancefloor fusion. Bafana Bafana does contain some distinctive kwaito moments, but for the most part it just sounds like a gloriously South African take on mid 1990s U.S, Italian and British house music. Crucially, it's also superb, like some long lost '90s house album made in Jo'burg, rather than New Jersey.