Review: Just shy of a year after their last Electropical escapade, Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel return with another fiery fusion of afrobeat, Latin, funk and disco treats. This time recorded in the Bolivar Film Studios, Caracas with Venezuelan drum ensemble, we're treated to two new originals and two exceptional updates. "San Juan" hits with a sleazy, dreamy groove and yearning vocals crying over the top while "Electropical" is an immense hit of percussive magic that gradually opens up into technoid chords that no crowd will hear coming. Flip for a loose-limed and sparkly take on the proto house blueprint "Spacial Paradise" and contemporary, heavier hitting take on their 2011 evergreen dancefloor kiss "Sexmachina". Get on the scene...
Review: Los Charly's Orchestra sorts Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel impressed earlier in the year with "Electropical", a set of sensuous re-imaginings of Latin standards in a synthesizer/drum machine style. This follow-up is equally as impressive. The sensual samba-boogie goodness of "Esta Musica", features the wonderful vocals of Andre Espeut, the delayed-laden Balearic-goes-Amazonian breeze of "Sabana", and the jazz-wise, percussion-rich brilliance of "Semana Santa En Achaguas". Elsewhere, Pete Herbert re-imagines "Sabana", a jaunty, synth-heavy chunk of Balearic nu-disco brilliance while Oyobi delivers a fine broken beat/synth-funk fusion version of "Vuelo Del Condor". Simply essential.
Review: Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel pay homage to the heartland with this beguiling album. A deep trip up and down the amazon, hopping off as and when they see fit, the album sees them paying homage to Latin standards such as "Fruta Fresca" and "Manduco". Rebuilding them electronically with, no doubt, a fair few classic synths in the mix. From disco to blues with just a touch of Latin folk magic, it's yet another unique and vital trip from the Los Charly's Orchestra lads.
Review: Los Charly's Orchestra's Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel collect a few of their finest butt-shakers and stamp them down on a big juicy 12 for all our boogie needs. "My Way", originally released last year, kicks off with smouldering, hip-slinking ease before the disco-tinged "Intermotion" gets the spotlight across two bass-slapping versions. Finally we glide back to 2015 for two takes on the sunny-side viber "The Boogie Mine". Blame it on the boogie...
Review: Los Charly's Orchestra sorts Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel first worked with veteran British soul singer Omar on their 2017 double A-side single "It's So/History". All involved clearly had a good time, because they've decided to repeat the exercise. "Fire" is arguably a step up, with Omar's honeyed vocals soaring above a rubbery groove, heady female backing vocals, cut-glass strings and punchy horns on the standout "Classic Disco Mix". Elsewhere, the noticeably heavier "Neo-Soulful Disco Mix" sounds like the kind of sumptuous, all-organic soulful disco-house fare we'd expect to hear from the likes of Joey Negro and Yam Who. Wisely, the duo has also included instrumental revisions of both versions. We prefer the superb vocal takes, but it's nice to have the choice.
Review: Given that they started out 12 years ago making soul-fired 21st century jazz-funk and bustling broken beat, it seems fitting that their latest single features the honeyed lead vocals of Xantone Blacq, an artist whose early singles explored bruk and future jazz. "You Said" is a wonderful chunk of laidback disco-soul tailor made for sun-kissed afternoons and sweltering early evening dances. Blacq is in fine form singing over the duo's Nile Rodgers style guitars, Bernard Edwards-seque bass and intricately programmed percussion. Over on the flip the pair dons their J & J guys to offer up a largely instrumental edit for those who prefer to get lost in the groove.
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".