Review: To build on the critical and commercial success of his superb sophomore set, Brian D'Souza AKA Auntie Flo has decided to release a collection of reworked versions. It boasts reworks from friends and collaborators - see Mehmet Aslan's low-slung, trippy, Persian-tinged take on "Cape Malay Prayer", Dixon's Innervisions style "Beat Edit" of The Revenge's remix of "Waiting For A (Woman)", and Africaine 808's standout rework of "Dance Ritual II" - alongside revisions from well thought-of producers from across the scene. In this category you'll find a chugging, analogue-rich Mark E version of "Madla In Space", a glacial, eyes-wide-shut re-make of "Dreamer" by Throwing Shade, and a suitably elastic, warehouse-friendly house remix of "So In Love" by man of the hour Kornel Kovacs.
Review: Early in 2014, Highlife regulars Auntie Flo and Esa traveled to Cuba to play at the country's biggest music festival. While there, they hooked up with a string of local vocalists and musicians to lay down the first installment of Highlife's World Series. Predictably, it's something of a triumph, with both artists gleefully joining the dots between Afro-influenced drum machine rhythms, traditional Cuban instrumentation and the kind of skewed synths that are such a feature of their work. Auntie Flo's effort is a 13-minute epic featuring the rambling vocals of Eric Eleindro and some snaking trumpet action. It's Esa who steals the show, though, with a dreamy, Balearic-minded cut that sounds like a contemporary update of Hugh Masekela's mid 1980s work.
Review: After pit stops in Cuba and Kenya, Auntie Flo and Esa's Highlife World Series lands in Uganda for its closing edition. Recorded over various stints at the East Africa music conference DoaDoa in Jinja in the past year, these four tracks find our intrepid pair of travelling fusionists working with musicians from Burundi, Rwanda, Kenya and South Africa. First up is "DoaDoa14" by Christopher and Swahili Alley, named in honour of its genesis at that year's conference and a fine journey through spiritual African house music. Next up Esa shows off his prowess at extended dancefloor burners with a superb twisting remix of Santuri's "Min Kula" whilst the B side features Bantu Clan Vs Sarabi's "Africa Ni Leo" in both extended and remixed by Behr form. A fine end to a consistently enlightening series.
Review: Since 2014, Cain has released a quintet of vinyl-only EPs on Huntleys & Palmers' World Music-influenced offshoot, Highlife. Here we're offered a chance to grab all 14 tracks from those EPs - plus a couple of previously unheard bonus cuts - on digital download for the very first time. There's naturally tons of devilishly good dancefloor material on show throughout, with Cain eagerly joining the dots between Middle Eastern music, deep house, bass music, cosmic disco, Afro-house, Turkish electro-psych and dense, drum-heavy workouts. Our faviurites include the bass-heavy hyonotism of "Jouk", the mind-altering peak-time bounce of "Eshu" and the sitar powered electronic psychedelia of "Tumbi", but there's plenty more highlights lurking elsewhere on the compilation.
Review: The mysterious Unyuko - he/she/they seemingly have no online presence whatsoever - return to Huntleys + Palmers offshoot Highlife with four deep Afro-house jams. 'Sisiseko Somphefumlo' gets the ball rolling in a laidback mood, with complex rhythms, drawn-out string sweeps and disembodied female 'aahs'. 'Afrika' is in a similar vein but with a male vocal chant and harder-hitting drums, 'Start Of Everything' veers closer to straight-up deep prog territory but is still underpinned by Afro-tinged percussion, and then 'Vela Ujaive', a track that could slot into all manner of downtempo/Balearic sets, plays us out on a hypnotic, shimmering, headnodding note.