Review: After many years spent performing gigs with their live ensemble, Alma Negra has finally decided to record and ready a release that showcases the band's dynamic brand of cross-cultural musical fusion. The Swiss combo first adds a tropical twist to the Afrobeat template on brilliant opener 'Mombassa to Lagos', before delivering something genuinely far-sighted and hard-to-pigeonhole: the mutant electronic bass, Tony Allen rhythms, deep house electronics and wayward Hammond solos of 'San Jon'. After a dash of Afro-Cuban dub-fusion - the inspired 'Taxi Radio' - we're treated to two club-friendly takes of 'San Jon'. First Mehmet Aslan goes all dark, cosmic and percussive on a wild (and brilliant) 'soca dub' take, before Alma Negra delivers a weightier, hazier and deeper 'Night Version' of their own. In a word: brilliant!
Review: Swiss crew Alma Negra have long been amongst the world's leading purveyors of electronic-acoustic, percussion-rich global fusion, so it's little surprise that their latest self-released EP is another top-notch release. The standout is undoubtedly title track 'Harambee', a sparkling and infectious chunk of Afro-disco brilliance full of Chic style guitar licks, bi-lingual vocals, groovy bass and ear-catching electric piano licks. French Afro-disco revivalists Violaa chip in with a late '70s sounding tropical disco take, too, adding in hazy horns to add extra authenticity. Elsewhere, 'When We Used To Dance' is a joyous chunk of revivalist, synth-heavy Afro-boogie and 'La Gozadera' is a high-octane chunk of Afro-Latin fusion propelled forwards by a hectic beat and lots of lush South American percussion.
Review: Maintaining a fresh approach to releasing and compiling music, Agogo out of Austria presents the second volume of their Two Tribes series. Bringing together 14 tracks from a plethora of artists, the LP keeps with its MO of building a musical bridge between Africa and Europe. A highlight straight off the bat is Alma Negra's "Oh Mar" next to the equally subby grooves of Rabii Harnoune & V.B. Kuhl's "Invitation To Dance". More afro-futuristic elements come into play thanks to tracks by Kaleo Sansaa, Lua Preta and Dowdelin's soulful downtempo joint, "Vis La Vie". Other spiritual jazz comes through Karthala 72's "Heavy Revolution", David Nesselhauf and The Kutimangoes "Money Is The Curse", to more vocal numbers by Guts, Onipo's "Yenimo", and Octa Push, Alai K & Isaac Anyanga's "Nyatiti".
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from Heist Recordings' annual Round Up releases - label artists remixing each other, basically - so we'll crack on and talk about the music on offer. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, with our picks including Alma Negra's deliciously percussive and groovy take on Scan 7's gospel-tinged Motor City gem 'All For Me', Scan 7's breezy, Latin-tinged Detroit house revision of Crackazat's 'Class One', Crackazat's Ethio-jazz-goes-sunshine house rework of Alma Negra's 'Dakar Disco', and Kassian's driving, warehouse-ready remix of Nebraska's 'Dip & Flip', which makes great use of thumping beats, undulating electronics and a seriously dirty analogue bassline. As the old saying goes, this seventh volume in The Round Up series really is "all killer, no filler".
Review: Connecting the dots between labels like Highlife (Huntley & Palmers) to Basic Fingers and Lumberjacks In Hell, Alma Negra bring their undeniable sound back to Heist Recordings. It follows the 2018 Conversations EP which sees the Swiss trio turn in a classic dubbed out synthline and jazzed-up rebirth of cool in "Contra". "Back In Town" throws down some heavy percussion and Afro-Rhythms alongside an insatiable vocal sweep. Winding it back to the top is "Dakar Disco" that's been sent through the orchestral pit of japanese artist and discophile Kuniyuki (tip!) giving some extra flamboyance its original funk premise. From disco to Dakar and beyond!
Review: Swiss world music fusionists Alma Negra are favourites with the likes of Gilles Peterson, Nightmares On Wax and Four Tet, which should give you a rough idea of what to expect here. 'Fire' is a midpaced, organ-led groove that'd work in longer deep house or nu-disco sets, and has rolling Afro-style percussion to match the chanted vocal that appears towards the end. The EP's other two tracks, 'Wedding Song' and 'Yo', operate in more straight-up African music territory and so are less well suited to house/disco sets, but could still find favour on those floors that like their beats a little more on the eclectic side.
Review: Switzerland's Alma Negra are known for their deft, tasteful explorations of world roots, anchored in digging, sampling and sharing. On this brand new remix collection, Alma Negra invite a trio of equally curious producers to remix some three of their best-received musical endeavours. Hero of the Parisian scene Bambounou delivers a deeply meditative and hypnotic rework of "Kabare", Berlin dusty deep house merchant Glenn Astro injects his typically urban flavour into "Halete Lale Lalo" and "Tany Be" receives a deep balearic makeover by Music From Memory's Michal Turtle - which is perfect for the upcoming summertime vibes.
Adryiano - "Me And You And Her" (Pitto's Groove Your Body remix) - (6:53) 120 BPM
Pitto - "You Treat Me Like A Fool" (Kassian remix) - (5:42) 124 BPM
Dam Swindle - "Cut U Loose" (Adryiano remix) - (8:11) 126 BPM
Alma Negra - "This Is The Place" (Hugo Mari remix) - (5:25) 122 BPM
Review: Heist's annual "Round Up" release, in which label artists remix each other, is becoming something of a tradition. This fifth volume is, of course, every bit as essential as its predecessors. All six tracks hit the spot, though we're particularly enjoying the bumpin', bass-heavy and driving take on Hugo Mari's deep and bluesy "Change Ur Ways" by label chiefs Detroit Swindle, not to mention Adriyano's effortlessly celebratory and swinging revision of the Swindlers' own "Cut U Loose". Elsewhere, Hugo Mari brilliantly joins the dots between tribal house and tactile, loved-up grooves on a stellar rework of Alma Negra's "This Is The Place", while the Kassian revision of Pitto's "You Treat Me Like A Fool" sounds like a 21st century update of Todd Edwards' legendary remix of St Germain's "Alabama Blues".
Review: Swiss trio Alma Negra have been on an unstoppable march in recent years, bringing their extensive knowledge of African and Latin music to contemporary productions in a circular fashion that exists beautifully out of time. That all the music on Sedowa is hand-played is testament to the natural flow of this infectious, instinctive dance music, leading in with the sprightly funk of "Sedowa" before easing into the transcendental stomp of "Sueno Latino." "Oya" is no slouch either, bringing a heavier disco-funk groove to the record that will suit more house-inclined DJs without compromising on the organic rattle and clatter that makes Alma Negra such a stand out crew.
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: After building up their reputation via a string of deliciously percussive EPs full of tasty Afro edits, Alma Negra switched to original production last year with quietly impressive results. Here, the Basel-based trio continues that approach with another three chunks of Afro-house fusion. While we're rather enjoying the sampled chanted vocals, drum machine kick drums and layered tropical percussion of "Capoeira" and the more musically expansive (and deeper) "Berimbau", it's "Visions" that will get all the plaudits. A tough but rolling chunk of life-affirming samba-house brilliance, it sees the duo make brilliant use of jangling piano loops and ghostly, cut-up freestyle vocal samples.
Review: Predictably, the latest volume in Heist's Roundup series, in which label artists remix each other's tracks, is another must-heave collection of club cuts. Check, for example, Fouk's tasty interpretation of Nachtbraker's "Hamdi" - a glorious fusion of rubbery disco, sparkling electrofunk and percussion-laden deep house - the Afro-fired Alma Negra deep house remix of Nebraska's "Big Plate Chicken" and the toasty peak-time warmth of the latter's fine revision of Fouk's "With Lasers". Elsewhere, label bosses Detroit Swindle deliver a lusciously loved-up and melodious, peak-time take on Parker Madicine's "Heartbreaker" and Nachtbraker turns the Swindlers' "Can't Hold It" into a dub-fired chunk of hot-stepping deep house goodness.
Review: To date, Swiss quartet Alma Negra has carved a successful niche as makers of heavily percussive EP singles that look to the rhythms of Africa for inspiration. This outing for Heist Recordings draws on many similar influences, but shuffles further towards original production than their rework style back catalogue. Opener "Afrorleans" is a jaunty trip into shuffling Afro-house territory in the company of a cabal of Cajun musicians, while "Luanda Dub" is a booming, bass heavy late night trip full of swirling vocal samples and densely layered drum hits. If you are after some party-starting Afro-disco/deep house fusion of standout, then "Endless Summer" and a cracking Soulphiction remix of the same track will pushes a rubbery disco bassline to the fore to devastating effect.
Review: Throughout the course of their Digger's Workout series, Swiss combo Alma Negra has proved adept at blurring the boundaries between re-edits, remixes, and original productions. The same could be said about the sun-kissed global fusion of "Burkina Berlin", where wild vocal chants and dense percussion samples are craftily combined with heady piano motifs and a rock solid deep house beat. Rainer Truby and Corrado Bucci provide a deeper, hazier and subtly soulful interpretation that plays down the sampled beats in favour of far more tactile hits, before the Basel-based trio closes proceedings with "Algadez", a rare Persian treat built around exotic fiddle lines, humid flutes and their usual chunky percussion.
Review: Basel-based Alma Negra has been responsible for some of the finest re-edits of African music of recent years. Since first popping up on Basic Fingers back in 2014, they've released a string of solid singles, most of which boast seriously heavy percussion. This second EP in their Digger's Workout series sees the Swiss trio blur the boundaries between re-edits and original production. "Safari" is clearly based on an old Afro-disco record, but has been transformed into a bumping, percussion-rich deep house slammer. It's accompanied by an even more exotic and musically expansive interpretation from Osunlade under his Yoruba Soul alias, and a cheery chunk of Global house fusion entitled "Pilon".
Review: Since debuting on the Highlife Edits series, Swiss digger collective Alma Negra have really blossomed, with their fusionist dancefloor style developing across further 12"s for that aforementioned label as well as Sofrito and Basic Fingers. The Diggers Workout Part 1 sees the quartet return to the Basic Fingers fold with a fresh four-track grip of goodness to satisfy the appetites of DJs everywhere. Presumably the onset of an ongoing series for Basic Finger, Part 1 sees three Alma Negra originals further complemented by a remix from Highlife pal Esa. Of the originals, the rather lush beat down of "Fala Flute" really stands out, with Esa teasing out a whole new sound on his subsequent 'live' remix with Santuri. Great 12".
Review: 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.