Review: Welcome to the World Of Blundetto, stick around and familiarise yourself with the delightful charms of this third album from Frenchman Maxime Guiget. With a sound spanning reggae, Latin, African, Jazz and more established on the first two Blundetto albums, World Of... finds Guiget expanding this vision for perhaps his finest work to date. Vocals naturally play a big part in World Of... with some of France's foremost Reggae voices like Biga Ranx and PupaJim featuring amongst the 12 tracks, whilst Marina Peloso's contribution to "Last Broken Bones" marks it out as an album highlight. Look out for the cover of Bob Marley's "Work" too which features New York rapper Jahdan Blakamoore and Ubiquity's ubiquitous Shawn Lee.
Review: Parisian producer Blundetto has a growing reputation thanks to a string of fine singles that join the dots between cosy downtempo beatscapes, fresh neo-soul and crackly dub reggae. Yet for all his successes, he's yet to really break through. This third full-length - his first for two years - could change all that. Produced and performed with a laidback confidence, the 11 tracks variously touch on clavinet-heavy reggae (see the excellent cover of Alan Toussaint's soul staple "Hercules"), Afro-soul, hip-hop, R&B (the string-laden slow jam "It's All About"), and even breezy Latino sounds (the Meters-go-Cuban vibes of "I'll Be Home Later").
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".
Review: Piloted by Ibiza-based producer Guts and Los Angeles' crate-digger Mambo, the Beach Diggin' series gleefully gathers together sun lounger-friendly cuts from around the World. While there's always a lazy, sun-ready feel to their selections, they stick closer to soul, funk, disco and boogie than many other like-minded collections. This fourth volume in the series is packed with more obscure, horizontally inclined material from the likes of Sue Barker (not the former tennis player, obviously), Alex Khaoli (the talk box-sporting, electrofunk-era jazz-funk beauty of "Cross Lines"), Brooski (the close-dance sweetness of "This Love"), and Jemaa (the reggae-soul shuffle of "Bob Marley").
Review: This is a brilliant re-issue of this beautiful LP of spiritual funk soul jazz. Drummer and percussionist John Betsch lead this obscure band and was joined by a great line-up of lesser-known players. "Earth Blossom" is not to be missed.
Review: Anthony Joseph is a poet, novelist, musician and lecturer described as 'the leader of the black avant-garde in Britain'. For his latest outing, he presents an album that had long lurked inside his mind. He formed a band in Trinidad's capital, Port of Spain (the aptly named Caribbean Roots) and they began recording - soaking up the intense effervescence of the local music - past and present. They locked themselves in a house that they converted into a studio in the earlier part of 2017, where among them were practitioners of the steelpan, soca and rapso right, alongside lovers of more contemporary R&B, soul and rock flavours. The steelpan's metallic overtones are the album's guiding musical thread throughout, helping to highlight Joseph's political lyrics, social commentary and conscience of black identity. The grooves are strong and they bring both the players and listeners together in a collective trance. People Of The Sun is sure to push Trinidadian music to new listeners, far beyond its sandy shores.
Review: In some quarters, Tijan Pou Velo is considered something of an unheralded jazz-fusion classic. Here issued on CD for the first time by Heavenly Sweetness, the 1988 album saw trumpeter Edmondy Krater join forces with occasional backing band Zepiss to deliver unique blends of modern Gwo Ka (a style born and popularized in Guadeloupe) with American jazz-funk and electric jazz influences. The resultant music is a humid, highly attractive hotchpotch of Guadeloupe's traditional African and South American influences, and distinctive nods to (then) contemporary European and North American sounds. In other words, it's a tropical fusion masterpiece. Fantastically, this CD edition contains two previously hard-to-find bonus tracks not present on the original vinyl edition.
Ricardo Marrero & The Group - "And We'll Make Love"
Koko Ateba - "Si T'es Mal Dans Ta Peau"
Sookie - "Tonight" (feat Jeannine Otis)
Raphael Toine - "Femmes Pays Douces"
Eboni Band - "Desire"
Robert J Riggins - "I Need You Now"
Salero - "Teardrops & Wine"
Momo Joseph - "Teardrops & Wine"
Claude Genteuil - "Dreams Of Love"
Gatot Soedarto - "Sayangilah Daku Kasih"
Synchro Rhythmic Eclectic Language - "Pasto"
Review: Since the Beach Diggin' compilation series launched a few years back, a number of its obscure, Balearic-minded selections have been given full length reissues of their own. We can probably expect a number of the tracks from this brilliant fifth volume to get the same treatment. As usual, the wide-ranging track list is thick with highlights, from the synth-heavy, French language reggae of Raphael Toine's 1986 bubbler "Femmes Pays Douces" (taken from the artist's frustratingly hard to find Ce Ta Ou album) and vibraphone-laden jazz-funk smoothness of Yasuko Agwa's sought-after "L.A Night", to the barely-known brilliance of Andre Maria Tole's Cameroonian gem "Sweet Dole". In other words, it's another essential selection.
Nuit Douce (feat Jacob Desvarieux & Patrice Caratini)
Bossa De La Plage (feat Alain Jean-Marie & Vincent Segal)
Ballade A Ilet Perou (feat Alain Jean-Marie & Vincent Segal)
Papa Yaya (feat Dao)
Kalypso Ka (feat Anthony Joseph)
Oui Ce Vous (feat Patrice Caratini)
Anty Kaz La (feat Alain Jean-Marie & Vincent Segal)
Missier Woje La
Baye La Vwa (feat Dao)
Kalypso Ka (feat Anthony Joseph - version Carnavale - bonus track)
Review: French percussionist Roger Raspail has been active on the Parisian scene for decades, releasing his debut album - the CD-only Fanny's Dream - way back in 1997. This belated second set is a deliciously vibrant and internationally minded affair, with the 13 tracks variously touching on Afro-cuban grooves, jazz-funk, zouk, calypso, tango, samba and hard-to-pigeonhole musical fusions. A range of guest vocalists swing by to lend a hand, while Rapsail's brilliant drum work - which encompasses all manner of different percussion instruments - providing the glue that holds everything together. While there are a few deeper moments, for the most part Dalva is a joyous celebration of global rhythms.
Bolshoi Drunk Ghost (feat Ansel Matthews - radio edit)
Review: New York-based jazz combo The Rongetz Foundation have previously impressed with their warm, soft-focus take on nu-jazz. This third album for Heavenly Sweetness continues the trend, expanding their repertoire to take in hip-hop soul (see the Jazzamatazz-goes-live John Robinson hook-up "A Compose of Modern Day"), soul-jazz fusion (an excellent cut with Gregory Porter, "GoGo Soul") and sumptuous modern soul ("Eunice K"). Although it's these new sounds the catch the ear, they remain an excellent jazz combo, as the evocative, expansive "The Bolshoi Drunk Ghost" adeptly proves. Possibly their best album to date, and a definite step forward.
Review: Heavenly Sweetness has described this sophomore full-length from genre-straddling musician/producer/vocalist Leroy Thomas as being like "Miles Davis meets the Beastie Boys". While that's partly accurate - several of the tracks blend hip-hop beats and crunchy rock guitars with jazz instrumentation and spacey electronics - Cliquish is awash with other influences, too. Some will hear the influence of the Red Hot Chili Peppers in the energetic funk-rock of "Asako", while "Mandy Jo" and "Snicka Bar" feel similar in sound and ethos to the work of Outkast and Plantlife. As for "Calm Down", it's classic soul-jazz with a smoky, contemporary twist. Yet for all the genre-fusing eccentricity, Cliquish holds together impressively, thanks in no small part to Thomas' distinct vision.
Review: Have long since proved their crate digging credentials, the head honchos at Parisian label Heavenly Sweetness have turned their attention to virtual crate digging. Here, they present a second volume of their Digging The Blogosphere strand, a series that aims to showcase great unheralded music discovered online. It's a beautifully simple concept that time and again turns up gold, from the Balearic genius of Chet Faker's excellent deep soul cover of "No Diggity" and the tropical sludge of Mo Kolours' "Drum Talking", to the tumbling synths of Opolopo's "Voltage Controlled Feelings", and INT's spiritual "Where You Gone".
Edmony Krater & I Live - "Tijan Ka" (2017 version)
The Mule - "You Party Too Much"
The Rongetz Foundation - "Hip Hop Muse" (Lefto remix)
Anthony Joseph & Hanyo - "Be The River"
Florian Pellissier Quintet - "Fuck With The Police" (feat Roger Raspail & Nawer)
Edmony Krater - "Tijan Ka" (Hugo LX remix)
Review: Over the course of the last decade, Parisian label Heavenly Sweetness has done a terrific job in releasing both inspiring new music from around the globe and reissuing overlooked gems. For this celebratory compilation, they've decided to focus on the former strand, gathering together an exclusive collection of previously unheard tracks, collaborations and remixes from the label's extended family. There's naturally much to enjoy throughout, from the head-nodding bi-lingual hip-hop of Guts's "In Slence" and breezy sunshine Afrobeat of Edmony Krater and I-Live's "Tijan Ka (2017 Version)", to the languid jazz of the Florian Pellissier Quintet's "Fuck With The Poilce" and Blundetto's "Have a Little Faith", a terrific reggae-soul collaboration with singer Ken Boothe.
Review: This compilation of obscure, rare and little-known French jazz was put together by the people behind the Digger's Digest online store - record dealers with a particularly deep knowledge of weird, wonderful and frankly rather expensive avant garde European music. Listening to the selections, you can tell. Seriously, only the most dusty-fingered Gallic jazz-heads will have come across any of the tracks before. Stylistically it gives a good overview of trends in French jazz from the late 1960s to early 1980s, taking in spiritual jazz, free jazz, modal, hard-bop and Caribbean flavours. Picking out individual highlights is tough, though today we're mostly enjoying the haunting flutes and clarinets of Michel Rocques' "Ricardo" and Rupture's gorgeous "Israel Suite".
The Group NSI - "Mande Moin On Lajan, Pa Mande Moin Za Fe An Moin"
OREA - "Biguine Inferno"
Milton - "Mizik Nou"
Selekta - "Fle Pou' W"
Meliza - "Enrage"
Acayouman - "Si Ou Ladje Moin"
Eddy La Viny - "Indiano"
Review: Here's yet another rare '80s compilation with even more deep cuts than the last. Where do they find them all? Heavenly Sweetness clearly know but they ain't telling! They are showing though, and here on Digital Zandoli they reveal 12 newly discovered disco, boogie and zouk tracks recorded about 30 years ago in the West Indies. We're clearly spoilt for choice on this record, but highlights include the synthetic sea breeze grooves of Puzzle Pulsion's "Mwoin Ka Songe", the mellow Afro grooves of Zanman's "Poutchi" and the abstract body music via a sandy beach vibes of OR EA's "Biguine Inferno".