Review: It was only a matter of time before Henry Wu and K15 would link up with London's Eglo, and their respective prior releases for the likes of Wild Oats, Rhythm Section and 22a have earned them a spot in one of the finest house and broken beat labels around. "Love's Gambit" is a perfect example of the latter genre, a sublime blend of jazzy percussion swings and smooth melodic drifts, followed by the even more soulful bounces of the gentle "Space & Time" - one for the jazz fusion heads! "The Anthem" heads towards more housey spheres thanks to its stable beat pattern - it-s an absolute peach of a tune, by the way - but it's "Shahada" that governs the dancefloor with its rough MPC drum programming and finger-licking synth rotations. A beautiful and fitting addition to the catalogue.
Karate Boogaloo - "Do You Even Know What A Passport Is" (4:35)
Review: The second salvo from Aussie imprint College Of Knowledge offers up two sizzling sides of revivalist instrumental soul and funk from bands who've yet to make their mark outside of the Southern hemisphere. Surprise Chef, who helped launched the label earlier in year, handle side A, offering up a loose, percussive and hugely attractive number rich in mazy organ lines, fuzzy bass and classic funk guitar licks. Karate Boogaloo take a slightly more relaxed approach on the flip, layering fluid guitar solos and sustained, elongated Hammond organ chords over a bluesy soul groove.
Paul Randolph, Kathy Kosins & Theo Parrish - "Be Like Me" (SS translation) (9:41)
John Douglas, Amp Fiddler, Ideeyah & Theo Parrish - "Leave The Funk To Us" (full mix) (6:37)
Review: Theo Parrish's "Gentrified Love" series hits its fourth instalment with two stunning extensions/takes. First up is a powerful expansion of "Leave The Funk To Us". First spotted on the second edition of the series, it's now full length with the golden touch of Amp Fiddler. "Be Like Me", meanwhile, takes Paul Randolph & Kathy Kosins' Brownswood Bubbler to a whole new cosmos with lavish twists and cleverly subverted layers. Yet another precision trip from Parrish.
Review: Hot on the heels of "Mission" earlier this year, Shuya Okino's Kyoto Jazz Sextet troupe present another gem from last year's Unity album complete with a remix of the highest calibre. This time the cascading, Latin rhythm and frenetic horn leads of "Rising" are given the midas dancefloor touch by none other than Ron Trent. Maintaining the wily spirit of the original while coating in warm organ blasts and subtly bumping kicks, it's a precision translation that brings the original into a whole new context.
David Tapfuma - "Magamba" (Esa Zimtronix Direct mix) (5:19)
Review: This compilation style outing from Southern African music enthusiasts Nyami Nyami is billed as "an ode to the music of Zimbabwe past and future". Side A boasts cuts from two Bulawayo-based "Kwela" outfits: a terrific, heavily percussive future dub interpretation of Bulawayo Kwela's "Mysterious Africa" by The Comet Is Coming producer Danalogue, and the sparse, sun-kissed acoustic bliss of Elliot Phiri's "Nomalanga". Turn to the flip for two versions of Hararre-based David Tapfuma's beautiful "Magumba". There's the original version, where Tapfuma sings over a solo mbira melody, and a superbly glassy-eyed, synth-heavy 21st century club version by Auntie Flo collaborator (and hugely talented producer) Esa Williams. As good as the rest of the EP is, his version is worth the admission price on its own.
Review: Earlier in the year, Kutiman took his brand of psychedelic fusion to Wah Wah 45s for the very first time. Here he returns home to Siyal Music with Turkish vocalist Melike Sahin in tow. "Sakla Beni" is wonderfully odd and exotic - a spaced-out psych-funk affair that wraps mazy, Moog style motifs, mind-altering orchestration and Sahin's wide-eyed vocal around a skewed, low-slung groove. It's brilliantly hallucinatory, as is the accompanying "Karaoke Version" - a superb instrumental take that allows listeners a chance to revel in the intricacy of Kutiman's arrangements. In this context, "Sakla Beni" sounds like it should be gracing the soundtrack of a particularly odd late 1960s Turkish film
Qu'est-Ce Qu'il A (D'Plus Que Moi Ce Negro La?) (4:30)
Hot Voodoo Dub (7:45)
Review: Legendary musician, DJ and broadcaster Philippe Krootchey was a hugely influential creative whirlwind throughout the 70s and 80s in France. Founder of Love International, frequent Casablanca collaborator with the likes of Lizzy Mercier Descloux and Mathematiques Modernes and an active member of France's foremost gay rights groups, his political and creative messages were clear in every action he made. Originally released in 1984, "Qu'est Ce Qu'il" carries a strong anti-racial message with humour that worked so well he re-sang it English and it eventually became "Whatazzy". Flip for "Hot Voodoo Dub" to find his creative messages as a studiosmith were also very clear.
Review: German bandleader Lutz Krajenski has enjoyed a long and successful working relationship with Agogo. The Austrian label has previously released countless singles and albums from his Hidden Jazz Quartett [sic] combo and here allows him a chance to go solo on a fine 7" single. Taken from an album of Agogo catalogue covers due to see the light of day in early 2018, A-side "I Got Hope" (originally recorded by the Hi-Fly Orchestra) is a sumptuous, slow-burning jazz ballad featuring superb vocals from Alana Alexander. She reprises her role on the flipside, where Krajenski and his collected musicians lay down a killer, Clavinet-heavy version of Timmy Thomas classic "Cold, Cold People".
Review: Spanish label Rocafort specializes not only in reissues, but also fresh jams that sound like they could have been produced in the 1970s and early '80s. Here they offer up something that combines contemporary production chops, real instrumentation and classic influences. It comes from debutant Spanish trio Kokoro Disco San, a trio of experienced musicians with a passion for goodtime grooves. You'll find a particularly hot and heavy disco groove at the heart of "Isla Fantasia", a track marked out by tasty jazz-funk instrumental flourishes and the kind of spacey synth lines most often associated with the likes of Dexter Wansel and Herbie Hancock. There's more meandering deep space synths on flipside "Sonic Feeling", a lolloping disco-boogie number powered by a classic sounding walking bassline and layered percussion.
Vocoder So Sexy (Quad IBB's Funk-Trib original mix)
Vocoder So Sexy (instrumental)
Review: Donnie Tempo has only appeared once previously as Knu Je', and that was way back in 2001. Now the alias is revived on Sound Reflection in a shimmering, twirling expression of broken beat and boogie sensibilities for those who like their beats soul n' sun drenched. It's actually his Quad IBB alias that serves up the "original mix" of "Vocoder So Sexy", and it's nothing short of stunning. The rich layers of vocals cavort with the expressive key changes and sharply angled beats, making for a truly striking cut that sounds equally fresh in its instrumental form on the B side.
Review: Barely available in its original format, Frederick Knight's first - and most highly sought after - release from the late 60s is a jacking, upstart bit of funky soul that is as relevant today as it was back then. "Stepping Down" carries an infectious groove, carried by wild organs and driving percussion all the way from beginning to the end, but it's "Heart Complication" that we've been waiting endlessly for - a slow and chilling soul ballad with Knight's seductive laments cutting deep and wide. Super!
Review: In 1981, a multi-cultural group of young musicians headed by local lad Harbans Srih headed into a tiny eight-track studio in Walsall to record what they hoped would become their debut single. 28 years later, that single, credited to Klimate, is finally getting a release thanks to the diggers at Super Disco Edits. A-side "ESP" is an inspired chunk of Brit-funk that wraps soulful vocals, delay-laden sax solos and intricate electric piano lines around a warm and heavy, jazz-funk inspired groove. Flipside "To See You" is equally as impressive, with the action focused on rubbery slap bass, meandering sax lines, twinkling keys, reggae-soul style vocals and the kind of flash-fried guitar licks that were so common on dancefloor cuts during the period.
Review: UK soul tour de force Michael Kiwanuka enjoys his first live album. A punchy five track selection with recordings from the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and London Palladium we glide and slide from the tenderness of "One More Night" and the dreamy symphonic blues of "Father's Child" to the all out fusion of "Black Man In A White World". This captures Kiwanuka at his most delicate, honest and powerful.
Review: Serious funk fans should already know about the King Rooster, a four-piece revivalist heavy funk outfit that released a trio of killer 7" singles in 2017. The band's first outing of 2018 is every bit as essential as its predecessors, with both cuts offering an attractive blend of sweaty, doubles-friendly drum breaks, razor-sharp guitars and wild, Meters-style Hammond organ solos. Of the two, it's undoubtedly lead cut "Back Chattin" that's the heavier and most insatiable of the two, primarily thanks to some surf-influenced guitar riffs, heavy bass and just the right amount of organ solo action. That said, the Breakestra-esque B-side is pretty darn tidy, too.
There's Never Been (No One Like You) (short version) (4:26)
There's Never Been (No One Like You) (edit) (4:26)
Review: A stone cold cult classic from the West End vaults, Kenton Nix was one of New York's most prolific producers during the late 70s and throughout the 80s working his magic with the likes of Afrika Bambaataa, Teena Gardner and Gwen McCrae (among many others). On this rare 1980 solo 45" he teamed up with a young Bobby Youngblood to create an emphatic soul disco powerhouse that clear set the foundations for the wealth of big vocal proto house tracks that followed in its wake. Complete with both versions, this is a rare reissue and isn't likely to hang around for long...
Review: Motown presents Eddie's 'Girl You Need A Change Of Mind', a mind-blowingly anthemic number, the kind of cut that burnt up dancefloors
when it first came out, and which has continued to please countless generations, through house, hip hop, funk, and beyond!