Review: Beating Heart has shared the late Hugh Tracey's archive at the International Library of African Music (ILAM) with contemporary producers and keeping in line with Tracey's vision, all proceeds will be used to assist people in the areas where the music was originally recorded. This time, Warp Records and all round UK electronica legend Luke Vibert gives us the delightful oddball groove that is "Africable", Italian DJ Clap! Clap! Gives us the African polyrhythms via Detroit high-tech soul on "Kulira" while Los Angeles duo With You give us the sublime "No Resistance". Each 1500 albums sold will feed a school of 500 forever! Support a great cause and feed your ears with some wonderful music while you're at it.
Review: While he lived a musical life that spanned from boogie to gospel before he passed away in 2016, Nairobi's David Waciuma didn't get to record much. He was known much more for his live performances with bands such as The Monks Experience then, later, Rapture Voices who he recorded these two records in the mid-70s. "Devil Go" is a thumping rhythm and blues call and response piece while "Jesu Kristo" hits with more of a frazzled bluesy funk. Both make you wish he recorded much more.
Review: Back in the autumn, Wack Wack Rhythm Band launched the WWRB label, in the process dropping their first single in six years. This speedy follow-up is similarly impressive. For us, it's all-about A-side "Madras Express", a speeding, funk-fuelled journey through meandering saxophone solos, punchy horn breaks, fast-fingered electric bass, spacey Moog motifs and all manner of layered additional percussion. That said, there's also much to admire about Hammond funk workout "Stay Pressed", where jammed out solos and lead lines come accompanied by sharp guitar riffs, Mod-era lead guitar solos and the kind of stomping beat that would excite even the most miserable of Northern Soul enthusiasts. It also contains an absolutely killer drum solo, which is something we at least can't get enough of.
Review: According to the South American music specialists at Matasuna Records, Ralph Weeks' 1971 single "Let Me Do My Thing" - recorded alongside backing Los Dinamicos Exciters - is arguably the most sought-after Panamanian soul record around. As this reissue proves, Weeks' original version is rubbery, heavy and rousing, with the singer's rasping lead vocal soaring above a weighty backing track that sounds like a breezier take on the New York boogaloo sound. On the flip, Voodoocuts tools it up for modern dancefloors, underpinning his club-ready edit with punchy new drums that give the cut more of a breakbeat style swing.
Review: A brief glance at a high-profile second-hand vinyl website confirms that original copies of Henry Wenceslas Thenard's obscure 1985 zouk cut "Ne Dis Pas Cela" (or, as we say in English, "Don't Say That") are not only incredibly hard to come by, but also change hands for extortionate amounts. This reissue, then, is rather handy for those without super-sized record-buying budgets. Thenard's jaunty, horn-heavy and sun-kissed original version resides on the A-side, with Mr Bird providing fresh reworks on the flip. On his "Rework", the French scene veteran gives the cut a disco-zouk feel, placing choice elements of Thenard's original mix (mainly the horns and vocals) above a chunky new beat. That beat naturally comes to the fore on his admirably percussive DJ Tool.
Review: A-grade diggers, label, shop and reissuers Mr Bongo are back with another of their essential offerings, this time in the form of a 7" taken from Swedish artist Sven Wunder's debut album Do?u cicekleri on new label Piano Piano. The resulting record is a seamless fusion of bright colours and bleeding pigments, real instruments and synthetic sound that is as worldly as they come. "Magnolia" here is the intoxicating a-side with its freewheeling drums and big lead lines, while "Lotus" takes us into a more oriental sound, with gypsy funk and dark-soul stylings making it delightfully hard to pin down.
Review: Efficient Space's latest release is certainly an intriguing one. It was sparked by the discovery of a CD copy of an obscure, mid-'90s album made by the late Victorian musician Peter Mumme and three Aboriginal songmen from the Yolngu people of the Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern territory. Uniquely, the album - here reissued under a new title with an additional unreleased piece - mixed the singers' traditional vocals with impeccable ambient soundscapes, gently pulsating electronic rhythms and the kind of fluid and wide-eyed synthesizer melodies more often found on '80s new age recordings. The results still sound remarkable and, thanks to the Yolngu singing style, surprisingly haunting.
Review: Recorded in 1983, the album is a musical gem. Self-produced, Wilfred Percussion is composed of covers and original compositions. Covers include original titles by the unclassifiable Hermeto Pascoal as well as Milton Nascimento, and are reinterpreted here in a totally unique fashion with that distinctive Italian groove.
Wilfred Percussion is an album which allies funk to MPB with jazz undertones, introducing the listener to a singularly fresh and evocative opus.
Review: Shina Williams' first album from 1979, African Dances, marked the moment where the Nigerian afrobeat artist would team up with 'His African Percussionists', to form one of the most sought-after sounds of the next decade. Taking inspiration from the Master Of Ceremonies, Fela Kuti, this album is just as loose and evocative as the legend's, and perhaps even a little more oriented towards the disco end of the spectrum. "Cunny Jam Wayo" is a classic afrobeat march, with its rolling drums popping off left, right and centre, while "Agboju Logun" offers a softer funk ride, and "Gboro Mi Ro" lifts the soul at the final moments with a truly memorable string of brass instruments and vocals. Cop this, not the L300+ original..!