Review: A fine reissue of this third album by '70s Afro-funk band Blo, who were championed and produced at one time by The Small Faces' Ronnie Lane, sees a treasure trove of almost Can-like grooves become available for a whole new generation of music fans. "Mind Walk" holds a tense, Hammond-led vibe with plenty of jazzy drum fills worked into the funk, while the woozy soul of "Gotta Get Me A Better Head" finds the band tapping into JB-esque licks.
Review: There's something delightfully sweet and naive about "I Can't Stop", the latest dewy-eyed soul cut from France's The Boogie Gentlemen. It's essentially a cover of Patti-Jo's Curtis Mayfield-producer slow-burner "Make Me Believe In You", but it sounds little like the original. Instead, this remake offers a soft focus, almost blue-eyed soul interpretation. It's a great twist and one of those tracks we can imagine working brilliantly as an end of night staple. Instrumental B-Side "It's Party Time" offers more sensual smooth grooves, with soul vocals samples and subtle electric piano flourishes riding a delicious head-nodding groove. Impressive stuff.
Review: You know you're on the cusp of something great when rare-as-hen's-teeth African tapes from the 70s are being reissued digitally. And, yes, you're right, it means that digging is increasingly becoming a digital behavior...which is great for us, but might well rub the vinyl aficionados up the wrong way! At least, however, you do get to download Deke Tom Dollard's timeless, and much coveted, tape Na-You, which is a category favourite. The four tunes are funky, seductive, lamenting but, above all, they are 100% certified to get you DANCING. Some proper vibes with this one...and you don't even need to worry about it selling out!
Review: While our French is perfunctory at best, "Soleil au Reveil" roughly translates as "The Sun Rise". It's an apt description for this jaunty slice of Afro-influenced aural sunshine from Parisian duo DjeuhDjoah and Lieutenant Nicholson. The slightly broken rhythms have echoes of Bob Sinclar and company's legendary Africanism series, while the undulating synths, warm keys and quirky vocals give the track a loose, baggy feel. It's the sort of record we'd like to play somewhere hot and sunny, while slightly refreshed punters bob around in the sea. There's a slightly punchier radio edit for those with short attention spans, but the four-minute original is where it's at.
Review: Hailing from Togo, West Africa, Itadi Bonney is an internationally respected musician. Here Hot Casa have tracked down and reissued one of his most desirable albums, "Itadi", originally released back in the 70s and thought long lost ever since. Recorded live with four musicians in a in a Ghanaian radio station, it features eight rousing political Afro-soul gems intended as a call for peace and unity in Africa, a message still very much needed today.
Review: Hot Casa's latest deluxe reissue should delight all those who enjoy Afro-funk fusion from the early 1980s. It comes from Togolese artist Itadi K Bonney and is thoroughly obscure even by Afro reissue standards (if you can find an original copy for sale, it will cost you the best part of L900). Bonney and his backing band recorded and released it in 1983, filling the album with rich political soul, William Onyeabor style Moog motifs and thrillingly loose fusions of U.S funk, boogie and contemporaneous African dancefloor styles. This edition not only comes with an insert containing a rare interview with the now sadly departed singer, but also two previously unreleased tracks. In other words, it should be an essential purchase.
Review: With just two tracks, it might sound strange that this 1979 release can be called an album. What if we told you that these two tracks boast more musical magic over their collective thirty minutes than any revered double album you care to mention. Recorded in Lagos, this second album by Fela Kuti disciple and Kalakuta Republic member Kingsley Bucknor, who along with the 16-strong group Afrodisk Beat and 10 back up singers, produced this highly praised slice of Afrobeat joy.
Review: Rarer than unicorn teeth, the original 1978 pressing of Orlando Julius and Ashiko's Love Peace & Happiness has regularly passed hands for thousands of dollars in the past. Now liberated by careful archivists Hot Casa, the full set is available for all and it's still every bit as spiritual, jazzy and vibrant as it was 39 years ago. The euphoric horn cadances on "Ashiko", the slinky sleazy funk of "Oyetoff Super Hot", the clam-tight groove supremacy of "Get The Funk", fusion at this frenetic level is timeless. Feel the love.
Review: In a break from their high quality re-issue campaigns, Hot Casa switch focus to the contemporary for their newest release. Fourteen-armed Parisian Latin-funk combo, Setenta, are back with the highly anticipated follow up to their 2010 debut Funky Tombao. Boasting as many tracks as they have arms, "Latin Piece Of Soul" sees the band really fine tune the fusion sound they always sought to achieve, particularly on tracks like the wah-wah and organ freak-out of opener "Colorblind", the Afro-electro-funk of "Guapeta" and the disco influenced "Mambo Machine".
Review: Can you imagine a Latino version of "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag", especially recorded to the soundtrack to an Austin Powers mission south of the border? Well, that's basically what "Ijo Soul" is all about. Also we get the seven-strong Parisian funk combo displaying African influences on the call and response electro funk of "Guapeta".
Mi Gnan Mi Nibi (DJ Julien Lebrun edit) - (5:37) 140 BPM
Review: Ahead of a full album of edits of Ivory Coast Afro funk entitled Ivory Coast Soul, Hot Casa drop this exclusive Julien Lebrun edit of this beautifully flowing 1981 gem. With Lebrun applying a soft touch to the guitar and organ-driven funk, this irresistible and pacey tune gets extended and made DJ-friendly for fans and spinners to enjoy equally.
Review: Tee Mac is a highly awarded and revered Nigerian flutist with cross-cultural Itsekiri and Swiss roots. Having combined his first Economics degree with a specialization in classical music concert performance and philharmonic composition, Mac has gone on to reign supreme in a career spanning over 40 years. Now Hot Casa are releasing "Nepa Oh Nepa", a compilation of his finest moments from the 1970s. There are eight rare tracks included, culled from his albums Party Fever (1978), Mixed Grill (1979) and Night Illusion (1980). Essential listening.
Review: Hot Casa are on hand to provide us with a look at the titular country's music in the form of "Ivory Coast Soul Edits". Essentially this is a compilation in which some of the best international DJs in the Afro soul and tropical funk scenes retweak a 'mind-bending collection of Ivorian grooves originally recorded in Abidjan back in the '70s. The result is an infectious fusing of vintage Afro grooves with solid modern production.
Review: Seven piece French group Vaudou Game explain themselves as a convergence of African and Afro-American musicians who champion a genre of funk called Vaudou Funk hailing from the cradle of Vaudou culture in Togo, Benin. Specific to this region of West Africa - places like Ghana and Nigeria - other Vaudou Funk inspirations come from the rhythm and blues of James Brown, Otis Redding and Wilson Picket. As a complete package this Apiafo LP is a varied, danceable and intriguing listen from start to finish - and of the many highlights, check out "Ata Calling" for something slower, "Pas Contente (feat Roger Damawuzan)" for the James Brown tip, and "Need A Job" for some psychedelic, coastal rhythms.
Review: Culled from recent album Apiafo, "Vaudou Game" is the latest single from the eponymous live band, fronted by Peter Solo, who specialise in authentic Togolese funk based on voodoo chants scales. Hailing from the birthplace of the "Guin" tribe and place of the voodoo culture this tune is a bewitching brew of haunting lines, sung in honour of the divinities, '70s Afro-funk and the tight R&B of James Brown. Also included is an exclusive non-album track, a raw funk sizzler, "Lazy Train".
Review: Hailing from Lyon, and fronted by the remarkable Peter Solo, Vaudou Game, is an act that have take the world by storm. The band perform a pretty unique fusion of analogue Afro-funk and a rarely heard 70s style that was specific to the vaudou culture in Benin, Togo. This particular strain features rhythms and melodies, intended to be sung in honour of their divinities, and not heard elsewhere in Africa. Here "On Se Pousse", a raw and brassy chant-along, gets remixed into a cool and jazzy soft-house rework by Osunlade (here operating under the collective name of Yoruba Soul).