Review: Three years on from their previous collaboration, Faze Action's Lee Brothers once again join forces with vocalist Zeke Manyika on another 12" paying tribute to South Africa's bubblegum-era sun-kissed Kwaito house sound. In its original form, "Kubatana" is warm, cheery and breezy, with Manyika singing in his native tongue over punchy horn refrains, sunny synth bass, dreamy chords and unfussy drum machine beats. There's a trio of accompanying remixes, with the Kwaito-meets-deep house dreaminess of the Rudy's Midnight Machine Mix and driving, stripped-back and delay-laden Paradise Dub standing out. Also worth checking is the slower, deeper and drowsier bonus cut "Hapana".
Review: On paper, this collaboration between veteran Balearic/disco/house fusionists Faze Action, and Zimbabwean drummer-turned-vocalist Zeke Manyika has all the makings of a humid, sun-kissed classic. Happily, "Mangwana" - a kind of late '80s Hugh Masekela Balearic afro-house jam full of punchy horns, chiming synth melodies and chanted African vocals - is every bit as alluring as you'd expect. The Waiting For The Rain-era Masekela influences are even stronger on the delicious A Vision of Panorama mix, while the Paradise '89 Dub pushes the track further towards dubbed-out New York house territory while beefing up the backing track a little. Elsewhere on the EP, you'll find two superb versions of the percussive, tropical '80s workout "Kumbengo" (including a heavy, Junodownload-only Dub), and the hazy downtempo goodness of "Chiiko".
Review: Faze Action first started working with Zimbabwean musician Zeke Manyika way back in 2016, and since then have released a trio of collaborative EPs. Their fourth joint release could well be their best yet. Title track "Sununguka" is simply superb, with the track offering a near perfect blend of African instrumentation, layered percussion, nods towards 1980s South African "kwaito" house and occasional references to mid-80s NYC proto-house. It comes backed by the laidback Zimbabwean boogie/kwaito fusion of "Rwendo" and a trio of remixes of "Sununguka". Alan Dixon's "Italo" remix is a sunset-ready dance through synth-heavy dancefloor pastures, while the "Special Extended Dub" sounds like something Paul Simpson would have produced during his Serious Intention days. The Juno exclusive instrumental mix is rather good, too, and well worth a listen.
Review: Though billed as a various artists compilation, this is essentially a career-spanning Faze Action 'best of' that also includes a handful of collaborations and contributions from their various side projects (Andromeda Orchestra, Rudy's Midnight Machine). And yes, it stretches all the way back to 'In The Trees'! Long-term fans will of course have much of the material featured here already, which makes the non-FA cuts even more welcome, but if you're just discovering the musical delights of the brothers Lee, then this collection is a great way to get better acquainted before delving into the full, extensive back catalogue...