Whoever it was at Sound Exhibitions that conceived of these compilations of rare Afro-funk is probably grinning ear to ear right now as the series is so popular it's just hit its fifth installment. This time round there are four tracks to enjoy - the bongos and hammond showdown of the title track, the electro-freak-rock of "Your Funk", the slow and groovy vibes of "Boss Funk" and the wah-wah-led percussion frenzy of "Sab Funk". Here's to many more installments!
Basel-based trio Alma Negra has enjoyed a productive 2014, with their remixes and reworks of little-known Haitian and African jams appearing on Highlife Edits and Sorfrito. Here they deliver their first EP - a superb collection of edits laden with voodoo drums, dense percussion and tribal intent. Opener "Mao Negra" is particularly potent, and features a solid - but subtle - house kick-drum below all manner of loose and energetic African percussion and traditional chants. The more uptempo "Messa" is, if anything, even heavier - check the rubbery bassline and woozy chanting - while "Tribal Echoes" is the sort of darkroom deep house/African rhythms hybrid that you'd expect to hear on Huntleys & Palmers. Spellbinding stuff.
The Broken Circuit album from Brighton's future soul duo is proving to be the gift that keeps on giving, as here we get two more LP tracks coupled with two new titles. The previously heard "Broken Circuit" and "Atom Bomb" are sugary lo-fi soul-pop and a seductive broken beat lament respectively. Of the fresh tracks, "World In Room" is garage-influenced fizz-house at its best and the prayer-like enchanting digi-soul of "Blessings" wraps things up nicely.
Mi Condena (Grooveman Spot version) - (7:55) 51 BPM
Voices (Blundedub) - (3:06) 69 BPM
Sunset Stroll (Roti version) - (3:32) 110 BPM
White Birds (alternative version) - (7:37) 60 BPM
Mustang (Dav***k version) - (4:11) 89 BPM
Cuban Shirt (Blackjoy alternative version) - (4:54) 57 BPM
Mustang (J Rocc version) - (3:11) 156 BPM
Blundetto is a Paris-dwelling producer with a fondness for both Afrobeat, soul & reggae and being a little mischievous (ever since being a child apparently). Here his playfulness extends to handing over his work to various producers in order that they might return them in newly altered states. It's a project that largely works, with particularly good bad versions being Roti's retro electro-isms on "Sunset Stroll", Dav***k's surreal and warped synth jam mix of "Mustang" and the deep retro house of Grooveman's 'spot version' of "Mi Condena".
In full defiance of the season, disco edit duo Capitan Futuro (DJ Butcher and BnC) are back with a new slice of ridiculously tropical fun. "Oye Mami" is a total cocktail party by the pool jam - all Latin brassiness, light cumbia beats and a cheery vocal from Pedro Santana. On remix duty Tom Drummond keeps the vibe authentic buts beefs things up by largely turning up the bass. Christmas? That's like, months away - have another margherita!
Although chiefly aimed at "all the 140 lovers", there's stuff on Power Of The Drum that will appeal to many more listeners. Here label bosses Brad Lush and Marcus Visionary deliver 15 unreleased tribal, dub and soca-influenced cuts, the kind of which they've used to shake up their native Toronto scene. Highlights include the amphetamine soca rush of "Mas Jumble", the whiplash tropical grind of "Ease Up" and the urgent haunted carnival workout "Fire Fate".
Whilst we wait for a new long player from Forge and Franck's Da Lata ensemble, we have a new version of their most recent record, Fabiola, featuring rare versions and remixes of the songs found on it. There's a whopping 17 tracks to get through, and highlights include the ghetto electro sleaze of "Um Amor A Mais (Funkee remix)", the shimmering reggae jazz of "Unknown (Marc Lee Brown mix) and the beguiling late night afro-house vibes of "The Shore (Toni Economides/Carl Smith remix)".
DJ Dolores - "Abertura" (Narradores De Jave) - (3:30) 69 BPM
DJ Dolores - "Mulher Rendeira" - (6:11) 90 BPM
DJ Dolores - "O Amor Vai..." - (4:42) 60 BPM
DJ Dolores - "Amor, PlAsstico E Barulho" - (4:18) 97 BPM
DJ Dolores - "Polka Do Cu" - (2:46) 50 BPM
DJ Dolores - "Alcool (Bolero Filosafico)" - (3:06) 101 BPM
DJ Dolores - "Satie Dub" - (3:26) 123 BPM
DJ Dolores - "SubArrbio Soul" - (2:32) 70 BPM
DJ Dolores - "Azougue" (remake) - (3:54) 100 BPM
DJ Dolores - "O Rosto No Espelho" - (4:28) 50 BPM
DJ Dolores - "SetAbbal" - (3:52) 58 BPM
Brazilian DJ Dolores is a man of many talents, being a graphic designer, TV documentary producer, soundtrack composer and veteran DJ (he's been active since the late '80s). Here on Banda Sonora Musica Para Filmes he combines these talents to present a collection of club-friendly dance-rock inspired by films and footage of the natural world, all with a distinctive nod to his country's often neglected musical heritage.
Berlin duo Duct Tape like to embellish of the truth a little (one of them's called Batsauce), claiming to have both been born on a moon of Saturn. It's also stated that their music is informed by their intergalactic travels! All interesting stuff, considering that the other member, Wynton Kelly Stevenson, is the offspring of the late great (and earth-based) musician Rudy Stevenson. Less We Can features 16 tracks cut from long jams on "cheap 80s keyboards, guitar pedals, a beat machine, a bass guitar, and a cheap microphone", resulting in a suitably spacey listen.
After his In The Wild LP dropped on Ninja Tune last year, Drew Lustman continues on an exploratory path for this new EP, revisiting tracks from the album, inviting remixers in to play with the parts, and offering up some fresh excursions into the unknown via tape processes and other such studio experiments. "Greater Antilles VIP" is certainly a patient creation, moving through orchestral swells loaded with melodrama and quietly tense moments of earthen percussion. u-Ziq delivers a remix of "Rolling" that harks back to the good old days of British electronica with its overdriven alien beats and melancholic synth swells, while Brrd goes positively ambient with his grainy version of "Frontin". Lustman's own broken beat revision of "Do Me" dazzles with autumnal grace, and the additional experimental pieces shed light on further experimental alternatives to the typical FaltyDL sound.
With a title that sounds like a long lost Prince B-side, "69 Times & Then One More" is, in fact, a party tune that looks much further back in time for inspiration, chiefly the big bands of the '30s and '40s. The lead track is basically electro-swing without the electro, replaced instead by a stormin' Latin-fuelled live band. Mondo Cane brings back some of the clubby beats, fusing them with sassy vintage brassy for his remix, whilst Funkanomics delivers an eccentric slap bass-led jam and Dutty takes things into a jazzy late '80s hip-house zone. "Swingy Mamma" is more your up straight swing crowd-pleaser, given a beats boost by Acido Domingo.