Reviewed this week
Here's something of a surprise from the normally funk and soul-centric Athens of the North label: a "heavy salsa" digital 7" featuring two killer cuts from contemporary outfit Grupo Magnetico. It's a taster for their forthcoming debut album; if these two straight-to-tape cuts are anything to go by, that set will be well worth picking up. Both tracks sound like they could have been recorded by Colombian musicians in New York during the heyday of Boogaloo, with A-side "Vampiras" - a typically undulating salsa groove which is enlivened by group male vocals and heavy horns - just edging out the gentler but punchier "Hermanos Latinos" in the "standout" stakes.
Here Brighton's Tru Thoughts present the latest offering from Brixton-based DJ/producer Kxngs. Drawing inspiration from his passion for exploring world cultures, his work has been heavily influenced by the musical sounds of South African house and Latin flavours, to Afrobeat, Kuduro and hip-hop. For "Air Sign", Kxngs' extensive cultural intuition has homed in on the recurring musical themes, rhythms and melodies found in Persian culture. This is particularly evident on opening track "Lifetime Celebration" while some hypnotically exotic percussion merges with grime sensibilities on "Purple Visions'. "Tarof" is sublime deep dubstep - by way of the Sahara.

t would be fair to say that most listeners in Western Europe have never investigated traditional Albanian music. Thankfully, former Pink Floyd producer Joe Boyd has. Last year, he decided to pay tribute to his favourite Albanian style, "saze", by putting together a band of "virtuoso musicians and vocalists" from the country to record an album paying tribute to the style. At Least Wave Your Handkerchief at Me is the first full length outing from that band, Saz'iso, and contains a mixture of heart-aching, sorrowful songs and joyous traditional dance workouts. Heavy in lilting clarinet solos, jangling lute riffs, cascading violin parts and all manner of traditional percussion instruments, "saze" is an exotic sound that sits somewhere between traditional celtic music and the kind of intoxicating fare usually heard on records of middle eastern origin.