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: 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".
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: 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: 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: Described as coming from an imaginary tropical island somewhere between Netherlands and South-East Asia, Yin Yin is the best thing since Palto Falts reissue of Mariah's Utakata No Hibi LP. This debut album comes off the back of two singles for Les Disques Bongo Joe out of Switzerland and its instant popularity suggests it's something of a hit with Amsterdam's supremely knowledgeable diggers community. For the rest of us there is no denying the western disco touches of "Dis Ko Dis Ko", a number making great use of Donna Summer's timeless "I Feel Love" bassline alongside licks of Indie surf rock guitars. The album revels in a wild west and cosmic approach to post-punk, disco and dub. If Pulp Fiction had a sequel this would be its soundtrack.
Review: When it comes to cheery, sun-soaked South American disco and boogie edits, few can match the happy-go-lucky thrills served up by Brazilian DJ/producer Joutro Mundo. For proof, just check this latest expansive collection of Brazilian disco and boogie "reworks" on Midnight Riot. Sadly, there's not enough time or space to name-check every highlight, but we suggest that you make a beeline for Joe Black collaboration "De Pe No Chao", a brilliant tweak of an elastic, synth-heavy, Portuguese language disco-boogie cover of the Jacksons' "Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground"). Also worth closer attention are the horn-heavy, mid-80s goodness of "Mariana", the delay-laden afternoon shuffle of "Olhos de Sa" and the low-slung, rock-tinged dub disco brilliance of "Os Passaros".
Review: The late Jorge Reyes was a leading figure in Mexican experimental music, and this album recorded with Antonio Zepeda is one of his earliest and most striking works. Originally released in 1986, A La Izquierda Del Colibri is a worldly product of the era in the same way as the work of Jah Wobble and Brian Eno, rich in new wave funk but reaching to a higher plane thanks to all manner of sonic devices. From treated jungle sounds to swooping pads, the whole album feels like an exotic trek through the heat and mystery of Central America, at times leaving the Western world far behind and at other times embracing it. A captivating listen.
Review: Emotional Rescue is delighted to present a collection of works by the founding father of the modern drum movement, Glen Velez. Collated from his first 3 solo albums from 1985 to 1989, Sweet Season is a snapshot in to the pioneering composing and performance of this four-time Grammy winner. Born in 1949, of Mexican American ancestry, Velez grew up in Texas before moving to New York in 1967. Playing jazz on the drums he soon gravitated to hand drums from around the world (frame drums in particular), seeking out teachers from many different musical traditions.
Among the many instruments Velez favours are the Irish bodhran, the Brazilian pandeiro, the Arabic riq, the North African bendir and the Azerbaijani ghaval. Although these instruments are similar in construction they have their own playing techniques that open new possibilities.
Sweet Season highlights this vocabulary, mixing and adapting techniques from various cultures to develop new ones. The music, often composed as cross-cultural ensembles, has a particular fondness for polyrhythms - superimposing different meters simultaneously - while incorporating Stepping Split-tone and Central Asian Overtone singing to complete the global horizons.
This new genre of contemporary drumming has been hugely influential and seen Velez work with the likes of John Cage and Steve Reich, as well as teaching his virtuosic combinations of hand movements and finger techniques to many emerging players.
Review: Contemporary Afrofunk doesn't get more authentic or progressive than this: The Heliocentrics have teamed up with Nigerian legend Orlando Julius to revisit some of his past creations and lay down some of Julius's earliest work that has never been recorded before! The result is a timeless sound that carries all the hallmarks and urgency of the '70s while dynamically reflecting modern dancefloor arrangements and production standards. Peppered with psychedelic twists, raw analogue grit and an infectious funk that can't be denied., this is a proper schooling from two Afrofunk and modern jazz pioneers, old and new.
African Rhythms (45 version Parts 1 & 2) - (6:39) 113 BPM
Afrobeat - (3:57) 132 BPM
Review: It's third time around for this classic album, which Strut first reissued back in 2002. The band known at different times as Juju, Oneness Of Juju, Plunky & The Oneness Of Juju and eventually just Plunky & Oneness have been an institution on the funk, soul and jazz scene from the early 70s right through till the current decade, but this their debut long-player from 1975 arguably captures their distinctive blend of funk, jazz and Afro influences at its rawest and most hard-hitting. This release also now includes the slightly different single version of the title track, plus bonus cut "Afrobeat".
Review: Legend Fela Kuti's youngest son, Seun Kuti, is increasingly making a name for himself, and for his own sound. While he is the son of a man who is often considered the Godfather of afrobeat, and possibly one of the greatest musicians who ever lived, Seun is here to do his own thing, with his own methods. Him and the Egypt 80 band have been jamming for several years now, and their new LP together, Black Times, feels like a point of maturity for all parties involved. Out through the invariably excellent Strut stable, this album is a rocking, energetic injection of funky Afro beats and driving jazz rhythms. If there is one thing Seun has taken from his father is the old man's lust for revolution, which is loud and clear across this entire LP. In fact, it shines a light on the current state of Nigeria, a country which, on paper, seems to have changed very little since his father's passing, and which is still searching for its messiah. Seun, it's your turn...
Review: Known in world music circles as "the Golden Voice of Africa", Pat Thomas is a Ghanaian highlife veteran who released his first long-player way back in 1974. Now based in Canada, he recently celebrated his 73rd birthday but shows no sign of slowing down, as this new album for Strut demonstrates. It's a bit late in the day to be expecting any radical new tricks, but fans of highlife and African music generally will find plenty to enjoy, with occasional hints of reggae, funk and jazz to help maintain the listener's interest and some truly splendid horn-playing.
Review: Canada's premiere afro-Latin fusionists Souljazz Orchestra return with their ninth album, Resistance, which arrives a decade after they first announced themselves to the world with the dazzling debut Uprooted. That album was issued on their own Funk Manchu Records, but the collective are firmly within the Strut Records bosom these days with Resistance their fourth album for the UK stronghold. Never a band to tread water, this 10 track collection finds the Souljazz Orchestra exploring new territory on record, explicitly the French Caribbean and Francophone West African influences that have been key to the band from their earliest days. What's most impressive here is the band's sheer versatility with saxman Ray Murray, percussionist Marielle Rivard, drummer Philippe Lafreniere and keyboardist Pierre Chretien all taking on lead vocal duties as Resistance progresses.