Salem Tradition - "Kabare" (Alma Negra rework) (5:15)
Lindigo - "Tany Be" (Alma Negra dub) (8:55)
Review: For the latest excursion on their eponymous label, the Alma Negra crew is in full remix mode, in turn reworking tracks from contemporary Maloya combo Lindigo and lesser-known French Afro artist Salem Tradition. Their vocal and dub interpretations of the former's "Tany Be" are particularly special. While the dub is little more than a killer spaced-out percussion track with added delay-laden vocal and instrumental snippets, the "remix" is a near perfect fusion of woozy, spacey deep house and traditional maloya - all half-chanted vocals, snaking sax lines and warm bass. Those looking for heavy and druggy, kick-drum driven tribal Afro-house vibes should head straight for the remix of Salem Tradition's "Kabare", which is little more than loads of drums with an evocative vocal atop.
Review: Two years ago, French Cameroonian vocalist Pat Kalla joined forces with Lyon-based band Le Super Mojo and Favorite Recordings producer Bruno Hovart to record and release an album of impressive Afro-disco and Afro-soul treats. We're not sure whether Hovart was behind the desk for this two-track return to action, but it certainly sounds that way. A-side "Canette" is simply delightful: a summery celebration that sees Kalla's sweet and soulful vocals rise above a jaunty backing track that sits somewhere between Afro-soul, Afro-boogie, highlife and "Get Lucky" era Daft Punk. Flipside "Requiem" is a more up-tempo affair in which Kalla sings in both French and English above a killer Afro-beat groove with added Afro-funk flourishes.
Review: Le Disques Bongo Joe's latest EP is a joint release with Calico Discos. It offers up four fresh cuts from L'Eclair, a self-styled "exogroove post-internet" six-piece with three must-check albums to their name. Musically, the four tracks offer a breezy, summery and mixed-up blend of Tony Allen style polyrhythms, tropical funk guitars, languid synthesizer sounds, psychedelic electronics and copious amounts of mind-altering dub effects. Our favourites include the low-slung deep Afro-psychedelia of "Dallas", the rousing, horn-heavy EP opener "Cebando" (a future dancefloor staple for sure), and the Moog-laden sunrise dreaminess of "Atlantis".
Review: Summer is here and there are few finer musical companions than this steamy 7" from Scandinavian soundsmiths the Lyskestrekk crew. Leoparden steps up for this one with an inimitable sense of coy funk, bubbly pop, bendy synth colour and deep and lazy groove. "Hoyt Oppe" simmers with a late night r&b charm that is all romantic and intimate with squidgy bass. On the flip, "Lope Bass" goes for a retro tinged 70s vibe with subtle acoustic riffs and a sexy strut all getting you in the mood. Once the astral led synth breaks out of the mix, the journey really takes off and boogie infects your bones.
Review: Norwegian music has long tended towards the eccentric, though we can't think of many quirkier releases than Leoparden's recent album "Stilen Er Stimmvel" - a decidedly off-kilter set that mixes lo-fi synth-boogie, reggae, African rhythms, P-funk, blue-eyed soul and lashings of Scandolearic vibes. This tidy 7" single offers up a taster of that set in the shape of album highlight "Hagefest", a decidedly spaced-out afro-reggae affair rich in reverb laden vocals, clipped guitars and off-kilter drums. Leoparden brilliantly strips things back on the flipside "Version", which layers dubbed-out snippets of vocal, guitar and synth over a beefed up version of the eccentric rhythm track.
Review: In recent times Rush Hour has excelled at reissuing obscure African music of the late 1980s, often pairing the original with a previously unheard cover version or remake. They're at it again here, offering up Les Choc Stars Du Zaire and Ben Nyamabo's 1989 cut "Nakombe Nga" with an obscure Belgian new beat cover by one album wonders Teknokrat's [sic]. Les Choc Stars Du Zaire's version is wonderfully positive, joining the dots between electronic soukous, ear-catching synth-pop and sunset-friendly Balearic vibes. The Teknokrat's version is, if anything, even more loved-up, with classic late '80s house instrumentation (Frankie Knuckles style synth-strings, jaunty pianos), ghostly electronic lead lines, delay-laden vocal passages and a superb synth bassline
Toto Is Back (Deni Shain & Papastomp remix) (6:56)
Toto Is Back (Deni Shain & Papastomp Add parts Only) (4:05)
Review: Les Maxel's "Le Retour De Toto" first came out in 1976, via the Disques Debs imprint, and has gained an impressive notoriety on the second hand market. So much so that it has become a staple of the beguine style, a calypso-leaning sub-genre from the French Caribbean, and pretty much an anthem to anyone into that particular strain of dance. Atangana have reissued with dev diligence, with Deni Shain and Papastomp remixing its groove to form a more contemporary, more structured arrangement that taps into the 4/4 mould. Killah, even simply for the original cut!
Review: Since helping launch the Disco Mas label in 2014, Los Disco Duro has released a string of "analogue synthesizer interpretations of Latin classics", re-imagining familiar favourites as often sleazy, intergalactic-sounding workouts. They're at it again here, too, first offering up a drums, synths and electric piano take on salsa standard "Lluvia Con Nieve" whose most unusual, headline-grabbing feature is the presence of some cheeky Kraftwerk style vocoder vocals. Arguably even better is more revolutionary B-side "La Chankla", an early '80s, Afrika Bambaata style electro workout peppered with Spanish language vocoder vocals and sampled Latin drum fills.
Review: The latest eccentric chunk of 21st century cumbia from the Disco Mas camp has a not-so-subtle Halloween theme. A-aside "Trik-O-Tri" is, as the name suggests, a tongue-in-cheek cumbia tribute to the process of door-to-door sweet scrounging, whose hybrid electronic/acoustic groove is laden with spooky synth flourishes and all manner of silly vocals. It's one of those tracks that is simply impossible to dislike. On the flipside, the previously unheard combo unveils "La Arana De Chocolate", a head-nodding cumbia cut rich in ghostly melodies whose fuzzy vocals tell a tale of a spider made of confectionary. As a bonus, the track ends in a locked groove to allow for longer mixes and impromptu bouts of Colombian MCing.
Review: Beastie Boy Mike D Edit has decided to rework Malian artists Idrissa Soumaoro and L'Eclipse De L'I.J.A. and their track 'Nissodia' - from the 1978 album Le Tioko-Tioko - for this new one on Brighton label Mr Bongo, the second time it has landed on the label, having previously been on The Original Sound Of Mali in 2017 Both tunes are pumping, full flavour Afro jams with screeching melodies and big, jangling, angular guitars all powered by funky beats. Each one is guaranteed to light up any cultured dancefloor.
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".
Review: From 1956 until 1993, Congolese outfit L'Orchestre OK Jazz and their effervescent bandleader Franco were arguably the most successful act on the country's often overlooked (but hugely popular) rumba scene. This superb double-album compilation brings together the best of their work, with a side each devoted to early 1970s independent recordings (A); tracks recorded and produced in Brussels for a South African label (B); near legendary covers of Cuban rumba classics (C) and songs based on Congolese folklore written in a number of local languages (D). It's a brilliant collection of cuts from a band that deserves wider recognition.
Review: Insane boogie fire from Rio circa 82; both Robson Jorge and Lincoln Olivetti were already decorated before they joined forces, but this one took both of their reputations and amplified them beyond expectation. Their one and only album, it's loaded with soul and funk from every corner of Brazil's sexy city and brought together with beautiful attention to detail; the gradual vocal breakdowns, rude synths and lavish instrumental sections, key cuts such as the Wonder-level "Aleluia", the jazz slides and glides of "Pret-A-Porter" and the sexy 80s electro boogie "Squash" will still completely flip any party 35 years later. Stunning.