Review: With the Dekmantel machine growing by the week the label has come to a point over the last 10 years where it's happy to stand up and represent the otherside of dance music, bands. That now includes The Mauskovic Dance Band, a five piece group outta Amsterdam sending some tropical cosmo flavours for the silly summer season. The album delivers a lo-fi and almighty analogue sound of disco and psychedelica next to the bells and whistles of percussion music, 60s dub ethics and a chic 70s cosmiq.
Review: Last year Greek label Carnibal took a risk and released a compilation featuring not their electro-swing and hip-hop sounds, but tunes with a Latin American influence. The risk paid off and now we have a new EP from DJ Inko. Originally one of the artists featured on the aforementioned release, here Inko has the freedom of four tracks to showcase his talents. It's a healthily, varied listen too, covering chirpy party anthems ("Te Quiero"), brassy Mexicana romps ("Abekabe"), feisty Brazilian house ("Mi So Bailar") and best of all the darkly hypnotic jungle body music of "Zulu".
Review: 2020 marks the 25th year of !K7's acclaimed DJ-Kicks series with Mr Scruff following contributions of late from Leon Vynehall, Laurel Halo, Peggy Gou and Kamaal Williams! Mr Scruff's adventures in sound brings to DJ-Kicks more than 30 tracks of wildly varying styles featuring highlighted music from Equiknoxx, Tiger, Errorsmith, Max Graef and Zongamin. Scruff brings to his edition an exclusive collaboration with CyberPunkJazz ("3001: A Space Disco Remix") and an unreleased track from Andy Ash to boot. Alexander Robotnik makes in there with the wild New York post-funk of "Love Supreme" alongside a heavy Tony Allen percussion session in "Gbedu B". DJ Nervoso for the win too!
Review: Formed in 1970 and fronted by J Plunky Branch, Oneness Of Juju have gone through numerous personnel and name changes over the decades but are still peddling their Afrocentric take on funk and jazz to this day (currently as Plunky & The Oneness). This collection from Strut, though, focuses on their golden years in the 70s - and it's heavy stuff! While one or two tracks would fit nicely into straight-up funk sets, adding a little world flava, others explore model jazz, spoken word, Nyabhingi drumming and other more esoteric musical pastures. Imagine yourself surrounded by righteous dashiki-wearing dudes at a Panthers meeting in 70s Harlem and you'll get the general vibe...
Review: With a trademark sound that gleefully joins the dots between fuzzy New York "no wave", heavy mutant disco, dubbed-out space disco, Afrobeat and percussion-rich South American styles of music, The Mauskovic Dance Band is a unique proposition. That much is clear from this eponymous mini-album on Soundway, which wraps weighty dub disco basslines, densely layered percussion, spaced-out vocals and meandering 1970s style Moog synthesizer lines around heavy rhythms that variously doff a cap to Afrobeat, Cumbia and other indigenous South American styles. The plentiful musical highlights include the stripped-back percussive intensity of "Percussione & Spazio Sounds", the intergalactic Afro-disco throb of "Space Disco Machine" and the chugging, hallucinatory heaviness of closing cut "It's The Wrong Goodie".
Review: Legendary compilers Strut continue their celebration of Ghana's indigenous highlife by
converging the voice and modern African sounds of Pat Thomas and the Kwaishibu Area Band with the alt-contemporary-isms of Detroit Swindle's house and disco. The pair reinforce the skipping, lighter and feel good rhythms of KAB's original instrumentation of "Yamona" and pitch the timeless and iconic voice of Pat Thomas central to the mix, resulting in a peak time number of mass appeal.
Safari Ya Muziki (feat Pendo Zawose & Leah Zawose) - (5:33) 62 BPM
Gamashie Choice (feat Afla Sackey) - (0:27) 79 BPM
Sohaa Gb3k3 - (2:51) 136 BPM
Waters Of Congo - (1:08) 86 BPM
Onipa (feat Wiyaala) - (4:08) 57 BPM
Kukuru - (3:54) 68 BPM
Kon Kon Sa (feat Wiyaala) - (4:04) 115 BPM
Promised Land (feat Jally Kebba Susso) - (5:37) 134 BPM
Review: With the years Strut has spent cataloging modern times music with the countless amount of compilations and reissues, curated or otherwise, the label now dips into something from the current day, and nevermore have we needed the positivity of sun-drenched polyrhythms! Add bright and vibrant future electronic percussion intertwined with traditional afro-folk, chant and spoken word, ONIPA's debut LP breathes new life and brings a carnival atmosphere to the revival we're all looking forward to this spring.
Review: Following the success of their Africa Airways series, London's Africa Seven introduces a new compilation focusing on some of the continent's most recognised female artists - and even some underrated heroines. The under-acknowledged musical contribution that African women have given to the funky sounds of Africa are celebrated here. This release will coincide with International Womens Day, and indeed what a tribute. Features the diggers delight "Kilimandjaro Take Us Higher" by South African songstress Letta Mbulu, some smokin' hot Nigerian boogie by Mona Finnih on "Ani Kewa Jo" and Miriam 'Mother Africa' Makeba with the sultry slo-mo groove of "Xica Da Silva". Makeba is known equally for her musical contributions as she is in fighting the apartheid and becoming a UN Ambassador.
Review: This thirty eighth release by Resense is actually a split EP, divided between Switzerland's Bandura who fly in Trinidad's The Duke for their first 'calypso mash-up', "Calypso Invasion" and the label's own Sono Rhizmo who updates that cool 50s voodoo jazz sound on the appropriately named "Voodoo". Hot stuff!
Review: German funk-soul-Latin-jazz combo Bahama Social Club team up with Ethiopian-Cuban vocalist Arema Arega here, and the result is an EP that's purpose-built for sashaying around outdoor terraces as sweltering days turn inexorably into steamy nights. Three mixes to choose from: in its Original form, 'Mango' is a lounge-y, Latin-y soul/disco cut, the Club Des Belugas Bossa Remix takes us down the bossa nova route and TheEEs Reggae Mix similarly does what it says on the tin. We suspect the latter rub is likely to pick up the most non-specialist plays, while the other two are sure to find favour with the likes of Peterson, Scruff and Snowboy.
Review: Disques Debs is the longest-running and most prolific label to have come out of the Francophone Caribbean. Based in Guadeloupe and helmed by producer and musician Henri Debs, the label ran from the late 1950s to the early 2000s and released over 200 LPs and 300 45s, playing a pivotal role in bringing the creole music of Guadeloupe and Martinique to a wider international audience. Formidable compilers Strut, with the help of Hugo Mendez (Sofrito) and Emile Omar (Roseaux) bring together a second Disques Debs compilation this time chronicling the label's '70s era during a time when the likes of Super Combo, Typical Combo and Les Vikings commanded the label's then-catalogue by breaking through the Caribbean diaspora into Europe and in doing so bringing a new vision of Caribbean music to the world.
Review: One of Africa's most influential and enduring musical figures, and big time player in the Ethio-Jazz scene, Mulatu Astatke presents the To Know Without Knowing LP, an inspired work and second collaboration with twelve piece global-funk-machine, Black Jesus Experience. Laced with cool jazz and lounge vibes to wax poetics in both "A Chance To Give" and "Living On Stolen Land" find more laid back, alluring and sultry numbers in "To Know Without Knowing", with hotter rhythms coming through "Ambassa Lemdi" and the cocktail vibes of "Blue Light". Afro-beat free fusion and soul.
Review: Parisian producer GUTS has covered a lot of musical ground over the past decade, from hip-hop to Afro-disco and space jazz, but most recently he's been working with a coterie of top-flight world music players and producers including Cyril Atef and Ben Abarbanel-Wolff. Together they've been touring extensively as a quintet, but they've also found time to record this album, which they describe as "flitting between Brazil, Africa and the Caribbean". The likes of Gilles Peterson or Mr Scruff will no doubt be in raptures, but even if you're not normally a great lover of world music there are still some gems to discover - see fast 'n' furious slap bass workout 'Matadou' for starters.
Review: African influences have played a huge role in shaping the 'now' sound of house music in the last few years, just as Latin styles did in the mid-00s. But right now there are just as many interesting fusions going on at that point where house and techno collide with the musics of the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent - and this excellent four-tracker from Nour, a female producer from Palestine who's now based in Mexico, is a case in point. Head for the originals if you're a lover of Eastern sounds generally, or the remixes from Rayko and Sinchi if you want something that's more easily programmable.
Review: We, The People is Pasteur Lappe's 1979 masterpiece, and what is surely an LP that has helped the afro-funky sound to grow and prosper throughout the years. Africa Seven have done us the favour of digitising such an iconic six-tracker, and it just makes so much sense given today's fascination with outer national sounds of all variations. This is pure funky from start to finish, such as in "More Sekele Movement (Papas NI Name)", about there is something cosmic, deeper, and more experimental behind its seductive hypnosis. It's also pure party music through and through, never going to deep as to leave the dancers running dry - it's quite simply an essential piece of music to have in your arsenal, and a very early African funk bomb to show off in the discussion threads...
Review: When he made his debut on Tartelet two years ago, Nelson Of The East was described as an experienced Italian artist working under a new alias. As his debut album arrives, we're no nearer to discovering his true identity, though we do know he's a producer based in Milan. Regardless of identity, "Kybele" is an exotic, intoxicating and expansive affair, with the Milanese artist offering up melodic and otherworldly tracks shot through with a myriad of past and present influences from all four corners of the globe. Highlights include the new age-influenced Balearic deep house warmth of "Draw Me", the blissful, Afro-Cosmic-tinged broken beat bliss of "Burning Palm (Saudade Mix)", the loose-limbed electrofunk/NYC freestyle flex of "Phase Lines", and the slow and trippy drowsiness of "ZETA".
Review: Galletas Calientes is our sort of imprint, never shy of offering the bizarre to the bizarre, and the left field to those standing just to the right. For their 18th outing, the label have called upon Dragao to offer up some sun-kissed vibes, something which the debutant clearly knows how to address. Camino is much more than a debut album, however, it's a statement of intent. Hear us when we say that this guy just needs a but of time, and his charismatic take on the enlarged dub framework will blow up - big! Using dub as the main element in his formula, Dragao creates an LP which will be enjoyed by many for its far-reaching use of latino and dub beats, something which will never cease to excite and intrigue the masses. What an album, and what a TIP!
Review: Galletas Calientes simply won't stop handing us the goods, piling up the compilations on a weekly basis, and opening our ears to whole batches of new artists out there. This particular episode is the second remix instalment of the Palenque Records AfroColombia series, showcasing the very best of South American Afrobeat. Plenty of killer dance vibes and carnival moves throughout, from the likes of DJ Panko, Umoja, and the rest of the contemporary dance scene blurring the lines between African heritage and Hispanic tones. Wonderfully seductive material for those looking to add a bit of warmth to their January blues.
Review: Ghetto Kumbe are a three man band. Their music is a unique blend of house beats with traditional west African rhythms such as the lambam, soli, sofa, kassa and makru among others. These are merged with Afro-Colombian rhythms such as cumbia, bullerengue, son palenquero and the chalupa del rio. Their forthcoming EP "Soy Selva" (translated as "I'm Jungle") is about the ancient people of Colombia, their traditions, their relations with mother nature, universal respect and ritual dancing. The high-octane spiritual life music of "Ware Warrior" for instance reaches neat tribal moments while Dagbani Dance (feat Zongo Abongo) goes for a more traditional and ritualistic vibe with its hypnotic rhythm arrangements and vocal chants. Sublime music for proper trance induction sessions. However, there's much more about this EP than the ultimate innovative act from the emerging Colombian melting pot.