Review: The Brazil 45s / Mr Bongo outlet is back with its classic moves, coming through with some truly special soul blends out of the Brazilian golden era. Dalila and Neyde Alexandre feature in this latest 7", the former with 1968's "Canto Chorado", a slow-burning bubble of funky exotica - surely impossible to find in its original shade - and the latter with a funky little bomb from 1971 by the name of "Perplexidade" - surely the smoothest, sexiest soul number out this week! Lovely stuff.
Maria Sabina (feat Huaira - Nicola Cruz remix) (4:47)
Agua De La Tierra (Nicola Cruz remix) (4:54)
A La Muerte (Nicola Cruz remix) (4:21)
Review: Matanza member Rodrigo Gallardo has long been interested in the "folkloric traditions" of South America .....El Origen is his attempt to incorporate these traditional sounds, rhythms and instrumental tropes into a contemporary electronic music setting. His original productions - all fluttering flutes, gentle acoustic guitars, warm electronics and evocative vocals - are showcased on the A side, with pal and fellow Chilean Nicola Cruz providing his own interpretations on the B-side. Naturally, his revisions tend towards the more cosmic and dancefloor-friendly, but also retain enough elements from Gallardo's original tracks to not be too revolutionary. Crucially, all Cruz's versions are superb.
Roger Damawuzan - "Loxo Nye" (Pushin Wood remix) (5:39)
Napo De Mi Amor - "Cacatchoule "Berceuse Bassari"" (3:04)
Sewavi Jacintho - "Miade Dua" (5:35)
Review: Hot Casa's latest must-have release is a veritable smorgasbord of Togolese treats. It focuses specifically on obscure soul music made in Togo in the 1970s, with two hard-to-find original cuts being joined by two contemporary re-edits of similarly obscure classics. The EP opens with Bosq's smooth, dancefloor-focused tweal of Yta Jourias's breezy, horn-heavy tropical soul workout "Adome Nyueto", before Pushin Wood takes over and adds a little contemporary electronic bounce - and some particularly colourful synths - to Roger Damawuzan's "Loxo Nye". Over on side B, Napo De Mi Amor's "Cacatchoule Berceuse Bassari" is a fuzzy soul shuffler rich in bright, Juju style guitar solos, hazy vocals and Hammond organ stabs, while Sewavi Jacintho's "Miade Dua" is a sweatier and heavier concoction powered by loose-limbed drumming and sun-kissed instrumentation.
Review: Johannesburg's Maboneng Precinct is the home of Afrosynth Records and for the last two years it has been an absolute hotbed of reissued African music. This latest missive is originally from 1984 by Obed Ngobeni and his backing singers the Kurhula Sisters, who helped pioneer the Shangaan Disco style that heavily influenced South Africa's bubblegum sound of the 80s. Now a go-to genre for cult favs like Antal and Hunee, they're sure to lap up the hurried funk and proto-house of "Ta Duma", which comes in three slightly different versions. "Xikhobva" closes things in loose percussive fashion with a guitar-driven groove.
Review: Following killer releases from lesser-known talents like Aristidez, Colossio and Thomass Jackson, Mexico's premier modern disco label Calypso commence a new project that sees them celebrating some of their favourite cities around the world. The journey starts in Tel Aviv, where a range of underground producers present the kind of freaky disco-not-disco sounds that get dancefloors frisky the world over these days. Niv Ast keeps things simmering and sensuous on "Rainey Heart," while Rina gets locked into a dense chug of sweaty sonics and solid rhythms. Naduve has a slower, percussion-led groove rolling on "Hex Mex" that will inject spice into any adventurous warm-up, and Middle Sky Boom finishes the record off with the tense and teasing "Marble Arch".
Joyeux De Cocotier - "Pina Colada Coco Loco" (6:10)
Djeminay - "Sun Plash" (2:52)
Review: Ahhh, bien sur! Julien Achard and Nicholas Skliris return to Heavenly Sweetness to provide our shelves with the second chapter of the Digital Zandoli series, a wonderful dynasty of contemporary dance music from every corner of the world. Much like the first edition, which flew off our floors in absolutely no time, you'll be lucky to find this music anywhere else but righ here - these two work hard to dig out the very best of what the rest of the globe has to offer. More to the point, you'll find it even harder to find dance music as lush and tropical as this gear, a bubby assortment of dance tracks ranging from house to soul and dancehall. Bliss.
Review: First issue of this previously unreleased Oriental psych monster from the 'organ king of Casablanca and second part of Abdou El Omari's Nuits-trilogy combining traditional rhythms with spaced out modern sounds. This album contains heavenly compositions for the Moroccan diva Najma Samih and some moody instrumentals in a similar vein to the first album. A very curious mixture of traditional Middle Eastern Music with lounge, and even rock music style drumming on several tracks. High quality pressing. Artwork and label design by Pieter Heytens.
Review: Few albums are steeped in as much worldly music heritage as this Afrofunk masterpiece. Recorded in Ginger Baker's ARC studio in Lagos, mixed down in Tin Pan Alley Studios and, just recently, remastered at Abbey Road: everything about this previously rare-as-hens-teeth album screams class. Everything about it screams funk, too. Deep, bluesy, psychedelic and textured in rich intricate percussion, there's a strong sense of spirituality throughout. For once, it really is all about the Money!
Review: South African bubblegum soul queen Ntombi enjoys a timely spotlight session as Afrosynth look back over her short-lived career and pick some of the highlights from each album she blessed us with. Leading from the front with the cult classic "Tomorrow" we're treated to highlights such as the proto tropical house harmonies and layers of "I've Got A Friend", the shinier house-focused workout "In My Mind" and a disco dancehall shaker "Mina Ngilijaji". Tomorrow is a day that never comes... Don't sleep.
Review: During the 1980s, Nkono Teles was one of West Africa's most sought-after producers - a studio don called upon when an artist or label sought a modernist, synthesizer and drum-machine heavy sound that had the potential to cross borders. Teles was also a talented multi-instrumentalist, as his brief solo career proved. The highlight of his own artistic endeavours was "Party Beats", a sought-after set that's here reissued by BBE for the very first time. Featuring delay-laden drum machine rhythms, sweet and chiming synthesizers, jaunty fretless bass, glistening guitars, lead vocals by the man himself and a nine-piece Nigerian choir on backing vocals, it's a brilliant set that giddily joins the dot between synth-pop, electro, South African style "bubblegum", highlife and U.S style '80s soul slow jams.
Review: The role Richard 'Nozinja' Mthetwa has played in the emergence of Sowetan music Shangaan Electro was first documented on that superb Honest Jon's compilation back in 2011. He is by all accounts a bit of a star so a round of applause to Warp for securing a fine album from Nozinja in the shape of Nozinja Lodge. Arriving soon after Mthewa collaborated with Tessela, this ten track album comes across as a slightly more polished take on the frenetic sound of Shangaan Electro, yet the core elements remain intact. High pitched vocals sourced from the community of Shangaan artists meet skipping lo-fi drum constructions and deliciously sweet melodies. An album to document and dominate the sunshine months.