Sunday, July 15, 2018

VARIOUS - Onda De Amor: Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were 1984-94 (Soundway)

VARIOUS - Onda De Amor: Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were 1984-94 (Soundway) Some crate-digging compilations are often the result of someone hand-picking their choice favourites from another country’s musical history, perhaps unaware or uninvolved with its cultural lineage in the process. On Soundway’s latest release - a treasure trove of synth jams, pop, samba boogie, balearic and electro from 1980 & ‘90s Brazil - the tracks are picked by Millos Kaiser, one half of the Brazilian duo Selvagem, who are at the helm of throwing some of the country's best dance parties. It’s a rare compilation that offers Brazilian music actually picked by a Brazilian. 
This collection of sixteen tracks doesn’t comprise tracks scoured from deeply in-demand records, the rare sort that sell for eye-watering sums and that collectors spend years tracking down. 
This collection of sixteen tracks doesn’t comprise tracks scoured from deeply in-demand records, the rare sort that sell for eye-watering sums and that collectors spend years tracking down. They are the sort you’d find for a few quid should you come across but, as Kaiser says, “the problem is finding them. They aren’t rare because everyone wants a copy but because no one wants them, not even the dealers.” 
It’s a release that is loaded with smooth grooves, bubbling bass, glistening synthesisers, funk strutting guitar lines and sheen of production that undeniably marks it of its time. Listening through Onda De Amor is akin to opening up a perfectly preserved time capsule and being transported back to a time and place that feels otherworldly in its transformative abilities. 
For Kaiser this compilation is about reintroducing music during a period of reappraisal, catching a new wave and hoping contemporary listeners will ride it with him. “The idea is to do justice to these songs. Songs that combine all the right ingredients that should have put them on radio playlists when I was growing up or at least in the cases of more adventurous DJs”. 

Sunday, July 08, 2018

VARIOUS - Napoli Segreta Vol 1: Hidden Gems From The Bowels Of Versuvius (Early Sounds Italy)


VARIOUS - Napoli Segreta Vol 1: Hidden Gems From The Bowels Of Versuvius (Early Sounds Italy) First volume of Napoli Segreta, a meticulous selection of the rarest and most sought after compositions of the 70's and 80's Napolitan disco and funk scene." Recommended!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

KAMASI WASHINGTON - Heaven & Earth (Young Turks)

KAMASI WASHINGTON - Heaven & Earth (Young Turks) There's a growing feeling both inside and outside jazz that Kamasi Washington could well turn out to be one of the style's all-time greats. He's certainly making all the right moves, delivering thought-provoking concept albums of eyebrow-raising length that simply refuse to settle on one sound, rhythm, style or sub-genre. Heaven & Earth, his first album for almost three years, continues this trend, comprising angry instrumental answers to America's growing issues with class division and racism, Rotary Connection style workouts, Sun Ra-esque spiritual workouts, funk and soul-influenced burners, spiraling choral and orchestral affairs, and electric fusions of rubbery synth-funk and mind-altering jazz-blues. Typically, the results are never less than sublime, with Washington's virtuoso saxophone playing taking centre stage throughout. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

THE SCORPIOS - Mashena (Afro7)

THE SCORPIOS - Mashena (Afro7) Hot in the slipstream of last year's self-titled debut album comes two brand new adventures from the London-based Sudan-exiled troupe. Both cuts recorded in Abbey Road Studios, both led and characterised by singer Regia Ishag's breath taking vocals; "Mashena" packs a vibrant punch with triumphant horns and insistent, urgent vocal repetition while "Samha" is a much deeper blues piece where Regia's Sudanese vocals take on a rhythmic pattern of their own over a dreamy, star-gazing setting.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

VARIOUS - Ethiopiques Box 7" Vol 2 (Record Store Day 2018) (Heavenly Sweetness)


VARIOUS - Ethiopiques Box 7" Vol 2 (Record Store Day 2018) (Heavenly Sweetness) Following the success of the first volume which sold out in 2017, Heavenly Sweetness decided with Francis Falceto to give a follow up - in the form of this box set of Ethiopian singles. It's a tribute of sorts to the music producer Ali Tango, who produced most of these EPs across 6 X 7". Falceto plunged into his impressive collection of records and there are great names of the golden age of Ethiopian music such as Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, Ali Mohamed Birra, alongside less known artists to be rediscovered such as Muluquen Melesse, Alayew Mesfin and Seyoum Gebreyes. Including original artwork and labels, plus a poster and six stickers of all the covers. Limited edition, 2000 copies.

SHINA WILLIAMS & HIS AFRICAN PERCUSSIONISTS African Dances (reissue) (Mr Bongo)


SHINA WILLIAMS & HIS AFRICAN PERCUSSIONISTS - African Dances (reissue) (Mr. Bongo) Shina Williams' first album from 1979, African Dances, marked the moment where the Nigerian afrobeat artist would team up with 'His African Percussionists', to form one of the most sought-after sounds of the next decade. Taking inspiration from the Master Of Ceremonies, Fela Kuti, this album is just as loose and evocative as the legend's, and perhaps even a little more oriented towards the disco end of the spectrum. "Cunny Jam Wayo" is a classic afrobeat march, with its rolling drums popping off left, right and centre, while "Agboju Logun" offers a softer funk ride, and "Gboro Mi Ro" lifts the soul at the final moments with a truly memorable string of brass instruments and vocals. Cop this, not the L300+ original..! Highly Recommended!

KIEFER - Happysad (Stones Throw)

KIEFER - Happysad (Stones Throw) Kiefer is a constant in Mndsgn’s live trio, has shared the stage with Moses Sumney and Terrace Martin, and has lent production talents to the likes of Kaytranada and Anderson .Paak. He began playing piano as a child and producing beats at around age twelve, moving from San Diego to L.A. to study under renowned jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell at UCLA’s Jazz Studies program. There, he started thinking about the synergy between the jazz piano he studied and the beats he created outside of school. While his peers were performing over live instrumentation, Kiefer produced electronic beats free from sampled melodies or drum breaks. He released his debut album Kickinit Alone on Leaving Records last year, earning a Best Jazz Album nomination from A2IM.
Inspirations for Happysad and Kiefer’s music in general include jazz titans Herbie Hancock and Bill Evans, as well as label mates Karriem Riggins and Knxwledge. “I've loved the sense of responsibility that comes with being a jazz musician,” he says, “The responsibility to study and understand its history, to respect the discipline of an instrument, and to dedicate your career to positively changing the direction of the music. Recommended!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

ABU OBAIDA HASSAN - Abu Obaida Hassan & His Tambour: The Shaigiya Sound Of Sudan (Ostinato Records)

ABU OBAIDA HASSAN  - Abu Obaida Hassan & His Tambour: The Shaigiya Sound Of Sudan (Ostinato Records) What was always certain is Abu Obaida Hassan’s mercurial talent. His command of a modified tambour, backed by a chorus and two drummers, unleashed swirling melodies alongside complex Nubian rhythms and hypnotic Sudanese call and response. His bands roster constantly changed, but he remained at the helm, playing for sold out shows in cities across the country and capturing the dancefloors and youth of 1970s and ‘80s Sudan.
This is a rich, raw example of the human experience with sound from northern Sudan, an ancient part of the world, and the birt
hplace of civilization. Music like this isn't mastered overnight. 
Abu Obaida comes from the Shaigiya people, whose culture is spread around the ancient city of Merowe, home of traditional Nubian culture, where pyramids older than those in Egypt still stand. They trace their entire lineage to one man, Shaig, who migrated from the Arabian peninsula in the 15th century. An endlessly rhythmic syncretism between Arab and Nubian styles, Abu Obaida’s Shaigiya music was an in demand party affair in an era when a vibrant nightlife and roving sound systems were staples of life in Sudan. 
It was music for a modern era, and Abu Obaida, at just 19, rebelliously abandoned traditional Shaigiya music traditions, pioneering a new sound by adding an extra string to his tambour and electrifying an instrument adored across East Africa. The result was complexity in simplicity and a hyper-talented artist who mirrors the story of Sudan’s highs and lows, from the leading tambour maestro of the hour to such obscurity on the fringes that he was believed dead. “They killed me!”, he likes to joke. 

The Jazz Workshop - Mezare Israel Yekabtzenu (Fortuna Records)

The Jazz Workshop - Mezare Israel Yekabtzenu (Fortuna Records) A cosmic, phased-out percussion adventure by Shimshon Miel, a lone-wolf hippie from Tel-Aviv who experimented with hallucinogenic psych-folk, and self-released his only album in 1977. Fortuna Records reissues two of the album's killer cuts for the very first time, alongside a late-night club edit by Kalbata. Expect extra trippy percussion soundscapes layered on top of a thumping bass guitar in wild 70's style stereo action. Kalbata's remix is a straight up voodoo ritual, adding much needed 808 subs to the jacked-up original. Recommended!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

ANTONIO SANCHEZ - Buli Povo (Analog Africa Germany)

ANTONIO SANCHEZ - Buli Povo (Analog Africa Germany) While Analog Africa always outdo themselves with their inconceivable form and approach to reissuing rare tropical music, this Record Store Day sees them providing us with some seriously special moves from the inimitable islands of Cape Verde. It was their Space Echo compilation, released a few years ago, that put the African archipelago back on the map, and we haven't stopped dancing since. Through a seductive blend of synths, drums, and unforgettable chanting, the style of Fukuna is on our hearts wherever we go. Antonio Sanchez, a leading figure in the golden era of the Cape Verde sound (70s-80s), release Buli Povo to limited international acclaim; the original is a rare find, and so it makes total sense to have it pressed up once again. But, act fast, because these WILL fly! Totally killer stuff.

Shimshon Miel - Amsterdam To Nueiba (Fortuna Records)

Shimshon Miel -  Amsterdam To Nueiba (Fortuna Records) Tel-Aviv's Fortuna Records are doing their nation proud by releasing an impressive volume of native music, both old and new, that is sounding perfectly relevant in this day and age. More than anything, it's just great music that most of us haven't heard yet. For instance, their previous effort - a timely reissue of Tsvia Abarbanel's Eastern Soul - was an invaluable snapshot of Israeli femininity across the ages, while this reincarnation of Shimson Miel's acid-rock output from 2007 is a clear nod to the man's visionary style, more than a decade ago. "Amsterdam Experience" is the stand-out track, a bundle of loose, percussive waves that verge on the electronic while still sounding organic and improvisational. Much the same, "Nueiba Nueiba" is a delightful slice of deep-minded exotica, and Kalbata's edit of "Amsterdam Experience" provides a more wholesome slew of beats to the original.