Review: Faze Action last teamed up with Zeke Manyika, formerly of 80s funksters Orange Juice, for the effervescent "Mangwana" back in 2016. Now they're back in collaboration for more classically rooted house music with a deeply infectious African twist. "Kubatana" is punchy where it counts, but it's a light and springy proto house burner first and foremost, with Manyika's vocal sounding as smooth as silk in the middle of the mix. "Hapana" is equally rich in musicality and personality, albeit on a more simmering, meditative tip. On the B side, "Kubatana" gets reworked by Rudy Midnight Machine and Paradise, who turn in distinct versions without losing the overall 80s aesthetic that powers the release.
Zinja Hlungwani - "Ntombi Ya Mugaza" (Burnt Friedman remix)
Review: Honest Jon's continued endeavours to choose the interesting remix artists to tackle the high BPM joys of their Shangaan Electro compilation sees them turn to that venerable Detroit magician and erstwhile Wu Tang Clan member Theo Parrish. The Sound Signature boss comes through with a masterful thirteen minute plus rewiring of Mancingelani's "Vana Vasesi" which retains the thunderous tempo and brilliantly chaotic rhythms yet instils the track with a woozy, intoxicating swing via the twisting synth waves. Complementing this, iconic German producer Burnt Friedman turns in a remix of "Ntombi Ya Mugaza" by Zinja Hlungwani which is far less frenetic but no less enjoyable, flipping the track in a dub wise style with off kilter drum programming, spine tingling keys and staggered vocal affectations.
Review: Another superb afrofunk outing from Renata Do Valle's Hello Sailor as he and Tom Noble dig deep and apply a little cosmic edit craft. Marthe Zambo's horn-tooting, key-tickling soul gun "Alu" gets a little tempo touch, a thrust in the kick department and a lavish synth solo breakdown. Meanwhile on the B the latent funk and insistent swing of Nigerian legend Sonny Okosuns' "My Ancestors" is given a perfect and respectful lick of contemporary production paint and a little cosmic polish. Hello indeed.
Review: Rising star Al Zanders (real name Alex Buchan) returns to action, with regular vocalist Sheyi getting a shared credit for the very first time. Her contribution to A-side "Get It Together" is particularly strong, with her distinctive vocals perfectly complimenting Zanders' ear-catching combo of jazzy broken beat grooves, Maurice Fulton style electronics and cosmic soul synths. The bruk-up synth-soul vibes continue on near Balearic B-side opener "Satisfy", before Zanders abandons all caution with the ten-ton sub-bass, crunchy drum machines and sweaty broken beat rhythms of late night delight "GIT (Dub)", a notably heavier instrumental revision of the A-side opener.
Review: Since its release in 1973, Ze Roberto's debut single "Lotus 72 D" has become something of an in-demand item amongst collectors of soul-fired Brazilian "MPB". So much so, in fact, that Mr Bongo has licensed it and served up this 7" reissue. In its original A-side form, the track is a carnival-ready slab of samba-soul brilliance rich in razor-sharp horn blasts, rich bass guitar, punchy hand-percussion and twinkling jazz piano solos. Roberto's confident vocals take centre stage, inviting us towards the dancefloor. Over on the flip you'll find a "Fast Version" of Roberto's tribute to 1972 Formula 1 champ Emerson Fittipaldi. This has a slightly more dancefloor-centric tempo, an effect achieved when it was accidentally pitched up for inclusion on a 2001 compilation.
Review: Cultures Of Soul's Brasileiro Treasure Box Of Funk & Soul unleashes two more once-rare gems on 45: recently spotted on The Man From Unkle soundtrack, tropicalia fusionist Tommy Ze gets fuzzy and frenetic with "Jimmy Renda Se". With its deep cut, loose string riff, rhythmic Q&A vocals and occasional strings, it's one of many reminders of how out there Tommy was. Flip for the equally unique and alluring "Kizumbau" where Eduardo and his troupe let us imagine what life would have been like if The Doors and Babe Ruth were Brazilian and collaborated.