Roger Damawuzan - "Loxo Nye" (Pushin Wood remix) (5:39)
Napo De Mi Amor - "Cacatchoule "Berceuse Bassari"" (3:04)
Sewavi Jacintho - "Miade Dua" (5:35)
Review: Hot Casa's latest must-have release is a veritable smorgasbord of Togolese treats. It focuses specifically on obscure soul music made in Togo in the 1970s, with two hard-to-find original cuts being joined by two contemporary re-edits of similarly obscure classics. The EP opens with Bosq's smooth, dancefloor-focused tweal of Yta Jourias's breezy, horn-heavy tropical soul workout "Adome Nyueto", before Pushin Wood takes over and adds a little contemporary electronic bounce - and some particularly colourful synths - to Roger Damawuzan's "Loxo Nye". Over on side B, Napo De Mi Amor's "Cacatchoule Berceuse Bassari" is a fuzzy soul shuffler rich in bright, Juju style guitar solos, hazy vocals and Hammond organ stabs, while Sewavi Jacintho's "Miade Dua" is a sweatier and heavier concoction powered by loose-limbed drumming and sun-kissed instrumentation.
Review: First up: Tito Puente (AKA The Musical Pope) with an epic live version of "2001 Space Odyssey". Recorded at Carnegie Hall in 1974 it's never been pressed to 45 during its highly sought-after 41 years. Flip for the hard jazz sounds of Sahib Shihab and "Om Mani Padme Hum" is riddled with thundering percussion and lightening crack pianos. It has flutes so frenetic they'd make Ian Anderson blush and takes its name from an ancient Sanskrit word. Biblical business.
Review: Names You Can Trust snapped up Peruvian salsa band Sabor y Control in 2017 after hearing their self-released debut album "La Contra Violencia". Here the Bruno Macher-helmed band returns with their first single for the esteemed Brooklyn imprint in nigh on two years. "Dispara Ya" was arguably worth the wait, though. Summery, effervescent and suitably percussive, it's a killer slab of dancefloor salsa rich in lilting group vocals, Tito Puente style rhythms and horns straight out of a 1960s boogaloo record. Flipside "Territorio Y Honor", whose horn arrangements are a little bit more complex, is equally as impressive.
Review: Sainte Vie has been working away in the Mexican underground for some time, running Akumandra as a free, digital-only label to help promote all kinds of electronic music. Now it's time for Vie to step up with their first outright release, first time on wax, and hence a new era for the label. The tone is varied across the record, leading in with the worldly drum rattle and string strum of "Huracan", a whirlwind of drama and hand-played musicianship that stands out from the crowd. "Albatross" is a more introspective cut that brings Vie's vocals to the forefront, and then "Maria" chills things out further with a haunting vocal from Pascale and some delicate finger picking guitar delights over a dynamic set of drums.
Sonia Santos - "Poema Ritmico Do Malandro (Balanco Do Crioulo)" (2:53)
Joao Donato - "Cala Boca Menino" (2:21)
Review: Killer samba from the Mr Bongo crew here on the 23rd edition of their ever impressive Brazil 45s series. Any samba scholar worth their salt will be familiar with Sonia Santos's wondrously psychedelic "Poema Ritmico Do Malandro (Balanco Do Crioulo)", which was originally released back in 1971 on the Copablanca label and has popped up every now and again on compilations. Drop this in the dance and watch it go crazy! On the flip Mr Bongo dig up the horn heavy funk jammer "Cala Boca Menino" from Joao Donato, a hugely talented pianist, singer and composer whose vast discography is worth further investigation!
Review: Should you fancy tracking down an original seven-inch copy of Patrizia Saronni's sole single, 1984's double A-side "Perche Dovrei/E Poi", it would be wise to take out a bank loan. For those on more modest budgets, this reissue should be a must-buy. The release's calling card nestles on side B, where you'll find a previously unheard "Tape Version" of the chugging, alien and otherworldly "Perche Dovrei" (Italian for "Why should I", fact fans) that's arguably a more dancefloor-friendly proposition thanks to throbbing arpeggio-style bass and locked-in drums. A-side opener "E Poi", a slightly more cheery, synth-pop influenced affair that snugly fits the Italo-disco template, is also impressive.
Review: London label Olindo continues to explore the world of contemporary Venezuelan music via a three-track 7" from up-and-coming multi-instrumentalist and composer Isaac Sasson. The two original tracks here are sweet, loose and gently breezy, with Sasson offering up an atmospheric blend of soft-focus South American rhythms, evocative acoustic guitars, humid tropical field recordings, breathy flute solos and occasional flashes of his own improvised vocals. The flipside boasts a fine remix from Albert's Favourites artist Hector Plimmer, who fuses hand-picked Sasson samples - percussion, vocals, and so on - with dreamy synthesizer chords, lilting electronic melodies and a super-deep breakbeat groove.
Review: For the latest release on his much-check Afrosynth label, DJ Okapi has once again turned his attention to the early days of South African Kwaito music. "I Wanda Why?" contains a quartet of cuts plucked from the 1994 album of the same name by Sea Bee, a vocalist who pretty much disappeared without a trace afterwards (this is in sharp contrast to producer Spokes H, who continued to be a key part of the Kwaito scene until his death in 2013). There's much to enjoy throughout, from the bouncy piano riffs, squeezable synth-bass and dreamy chords of "Home Boy", to the glassy-eyed female backing vocals, mid-tempo pump and shimmering, rush-inducing vibes of "Thiba". Closer "Stoppa", a more downtempo and atmospheric Kwaito excursion, is also superb.
Review: Sao Paulo's SELVAGEM drop a masterful double sider for Universal Cave 004. "Tudo Bem" is sunny, soulful AOR bliss. A tribute to a favorite Brazilian musician and an update for contemporary rotation. "Luanda" is hypnotic, psychedelic tropicalia. Truly digging deep, SELVAGEM give Universal Cave a taste of the Forward Deep & Free sounds of Balnearico from Brazil. Balnearico is the fusion of balearic and "balneario," the Portuguese word that is synonymous with beach.
Review: Trinidadian eccentric Shadow has seen interest in his 1980s work rocket in recent times. Jamwax continue their love affair with the artist via this essential reissue of his obscure 1980 single "D'Hardest". Like much of his work, the track offers up a take on soca for the synthesizer age, with dusty electronic melodies and drum machine hits working in perfect harmony with his confident vocal and jangling acoustic guitar flourishes. On the flip you'll find the dub style Version, which strips out much of the vocal and using the chorus as a mantra-like chant.
Review: When Congolese musician Albert Siassia moved to Paris in the early 1980s, it wasn't long before he joined forces with a local reggae band that he re-christened Tokobina ("Let's Dance" in the Lingala language, fact fans). Together, they released a handful of inspired but now notoriously hard-to-find records, from which two of the tracks here are taken. There's "Mama Africa", an unashamedly positive dancefloor workout full of glistening, South African style guitars, dub disco grooves, bustling, rumba-influenced percussion and Siassia's headline-grabbing vocals, and "Pointe Noire", a superb chunk of new wave/Afro-disco fusion that's arguably even better than the EP's title track. The other two tracks have never before seen the light of day on any format, having been rescued from long forgotten demo cassettes. Of these, it's the Congolese reggae sweetness of "Sangi (Demo Mix)" that hits home hardest.A killer first release from a new label brought to you by one of the Sofrito Crew Hugo Mendes
Review: For the 75th release in their long-running Brazil 45s series, the Mr Bongo crew has chosen to reissue some prime "MPB samba jazz" from 1965. The two tracks showcased here were originally issued on a rare 33rpm 7" single, one which collectors are now willing to pay silly money to obtain. Up first is "Ciumeira", a wonderfully jaunty and celebratory fusion of swinging sixties charm, Mod style organ stabs, smooth vocals and cheery samba-pop grooves. B-side "Rasga Teu Verso" has a more grandiose, easy listening kind of feel, albeit with the addition of punchy MPB horns and summery vocals so infectious that you'll be singing them in the shower in no time at all.
Review: The latest missive from the Imagenes camp sees Los Charley's Orchestra rework two tracks from Manana, a Spiteri side project that released one jazz-fusion/samba disco album in 1981. Both "Amor" and "Disco Samba" are taken from that obscure but inspired set, and are here given "vocal" and "instrumental" revisions from the Los Charly's boys. All four revisions hit the spot from start to finish. We're particularly enjoying the spacey synths, low-slung dub disco grooves, fluttering vocals and well-placed delay effects of their "Amor" versions, though many DJs may gravitate towards the rolling, AOR disco bounce of the duo's more celebratory remixes of "Disco Samba".
Review: Kalita Records has thus far proved adept at sniffing out obscure, overlooked classics and reissuing them. Their latest "flip" is as rare, little known and hard-to-find as they come: a one-shot 1985 Caribbean boogie cut from Bahamian musicians Stirling March (now a minister and gospel singer) and bassist Rocky Rolle. "Under Cover Lover" is bright, breezy and sun-kissed, with jaunty synthesizer lead lines and hammered-out piano parts dancing above a tasty groove that fully showcases Rolle's boogie bass skills. Stirling March's lead vocal is superb too, with the Bahamian slickly delivering the loved-up lyrics with aplomb. The flipside "Instrumental" version is typical of New York style boogie dubs of the period, with more attention on the drums, bassline and ricocheting vocal snippets.
Review: Rich gutsy soul from a man who's regularly described as Brazil's James Brown, "O Journalerio" is a blueprint funk jam. Released in 1971 (on his hyper-rare album BR-3) it's all about the orchestrated swing, bluesy groove and Hammond licks so lavish you need to towel on every listen. Flip for Som Tres... An off-shoot of the Sambalanco Trio, it's the sound of Cesar Camargo Mariano controlling a restrained rolling slice of filmic instrumental funk where horns, keys and drums gather momentum with big band drama. Neither have been released on 45" before, making this all the more special.
Review: Having impressed on its' CD release earlier in the year, Nicola Conte's collaboration with Italian singer Stefania Dipierro finally comes to vinyl. We're used to the veteran bossa-nova and jazz composer seemingly dropping albums at will, but Natural is undoubtedly a cut above some of his recent sets, thanks largely to the focus provided by Dipierro's breathy, sweet and atmospheric vocals. Delivered in a trio of languages (English, Italian and Portuguese), the singer's delivery sits somewhere between classic jazz and Astrud Gilberto, making it a perfect foil for Conte's jaunty, life-affirming instrumentation. As a result, Natural feels like a contemporary Brazilian classic - even if it was forged in Italy - and boasts all manner of bossa, samba and soul-jazz treats.
Review: Here, Japanese diggers Riyo Mountains shine a light on one of the lesser-known aspects of Japanese folkloric musical tradition: tribal drum music played and composed to celebrate the forthcoming harvest. While many "Bon-odori" festivals, where this percussive music is traditionally played, still exist, the Sakai Ishinage Odori may well be the most closely guarded. This set gathers together archive 1982 recordings from the "agricultural industrial" celebration, complete with dense drum rhythms, chanted vocals and handcrafted bamboo flutes, plus 2017 versions of the same pieces by Sugai Ken. Of these, it's the magical, 14-minute "Ishinage Odori" re-make that stands out.
Review: A key accelerant in the early 70s MPB melting pot; decorated sessionist, composer and band leader Salvador's 1971-released album is a fizzing brew of bossa, samba, funk, carioca brought together with energy and a fused rawness that has led to OG copies regularly going for around L200. The range is everything in this fourth album; from the sudden floor filling party flourish of the opener "Uma Vida" to the Beatles-like narrative oddity "O Rio" to the orchestral boogaloo of "Number One", this is Salvador at the peak of his fusionista powers.
Review: While Analog Africa always outdo themselves with their inconceivable form and approach to reissuing rare tropical music, this Record Store Day sees them providing us with some seriously special moves from the inimitable islands of Cape Verde. It was their Space Echo compilation, released a few years ago, that put the African archipelago back on the map, and we haven't stopped dancing since. Through a seductive blend of synths, drums, and unforgettable chanting, the style of Fukuna is on our hearts wherever we go. Antonio Sanchez, a leading figure in the golden era of the Cape Verde sound (70s-80s), release Buli Povo to limited international acclaim; the original is a rare find, and so it makes total sense to have it pressed up once again. But, act fast, because these WILL fly! Totally killer stuff.