Review: Whoever it was at Sound Exhibitions that conceived of these compilations of rare Afro-funk is probably grinning ear to ear right now as the series is so popular it's just hit its fifth installment. This time round there are four tracks to enjoy - the bongos and hammond showdown of the title track, the electro-freak-rock of "Your Funk", the slow and groovy vibes of "Boss Funk" and the wah-wah-led percussion frenzy of "Sab Funk". Here's to many more installments!
Review: The second instalment in Sound Exhibitions' rare Afro-funk series Funk & Afro dropped back in August and, due to its success, they're already back with a follow up! This time we get four semi-anonymous tracks - the edgy, blaxploitation flick vibes of "Funk & Afro 3", the loose and twangy '70s shuffle of "Funk Bimp", the Streets-Of-San-Francisco-goes-hard-rock-isms of "Funk City" and the accelerated wah-wah cop show theme grooves of "Afro Boys".
Review: Sound Exhibitions' popular series of rare Afro-funk gets three more additions this week with its fourth installment. "Funk & Afro 4" begins all guns blazing with natty off-kilter drumming, sinuous Hammond work interlacing with some seriously tight guitar riffs. Elsewhere "Only Funk" hits us with some more urgent instrumental breaks, which are upped a notch again on "Sly Funk" courtesy of some seriously frenetic basswork, rolling drums and of course, plenty of wah-wah guitar. Smokin!
Review: Formed in 2012 in Sardinia, Italy, Sound Exhibitions self-proclaimed mission is "to celebrate the joy of modern urban life through rhythm and sound". They entertain a variety of styles including house, downtempo, jazz, and salsa, however here they deliver three slices of authentic and rare Afro-funk. These tunes dub-out some killer vintage sounds - adding some loungey organ and strings to the title track, the wah-wah and brass heavy "Paradise Funk" is pure Huggy Bear 70s pimp music and "Funk Small" wraps things up nicely with some old schools breaks, tense bass work and cop chase piano.
Review: Funk & Afro is proving to be one of Italian label Sound Exhibition's most popular series. Perhaps it's because there's no one else consistently providing such a unique and spicy mix of styles, but whatever it is, it's working! Here on volume 8 we get three taught and slinky groovers - the flute-led bongo, (upright) bass and brass workout of the title track, the pan-pipe peppered 70s grinder "Funk G14" and the rolling Hammond organ jam "Kiss On Funk".
Review: Italy's Sound Exhibitions label clearly believe that too much of a good thing is wonderful, as they now present the tenth installment in their Funk & Afro series. We begin with a remix - DJ Rubens' version of Funk Small which could easily be an alternate theme of TV's Starksy & Hutch. Beyond that, the title track is based around a tight and slow funk guitar lick and quirky keyboard riffs, "Afro International" is even slower and centered around a raunchy, meandering bassline and finally "Love Funk" keeps with the slow jam feel, but adding a bluesy guitar element.
Review: Don't be fooled by the artist name here: there are African and dub elements at play, certainly, but this five-track EP hasn't found itself in the funk section without good reason! Admittedly, opener 'Dub Mex' is a Latin-tinged reggae number that may make you doubt that, but play on and you'll discover 'Don't Save' (an organ-led jam redolent of 70s Afro-funk), 'International Funk' (a more straight-up funk affair), 'Dub Street' (which has a Blaxploitation soundtrack feel) and finally 'On The Night', a laidback, meandering cut that blends all of the above elements over the course of three gloriously horn-y minutes.
Review: Italian nu-disco label Sound Exhibitions have been busy, busy, busy of late but at they've got round to delivering the 11th installment in Afro Funk's Funk & Afro series. We last got our fix back in August but with four ripe new jams to check out its been worth the wait. The title track kicks things off with tight guitar licks and erratic percussion. Then it's all about the brass, bongos and boogie on "Afro In The Night", before "Special Funk" slows things down to a squelchy groove and "For Street" wraps things up with some light funk licks, record scratching and block-rocking vibes.
Review: Two laidback grooves here from Croatian producer Brad Von Gusto that could fit equally well into funk, nu-disco and Balearic sets. 'Step By Step' opens with a kickdrum, bassline and shakers, then gradually emerges as a chugging, looped affair with sampled "step by step into your heart" vox. But perhaps more immediate in its appeal is 'Show Me Da Loop', which takes a Chi-town deep house groove from the Heard/Trent/Damier school and overlays it with understated Rhodes chords and, from around the halfway mark, a slowed-down chunk of the vocal from a certain 90s classic by Robin S.
Review: Mystery producer Brad Von Gusto comes to Italy's Sound Exhibitions label with three funk-fuelled cuts that'd slot equally well into nu-disco or deep house sets. 'Must Be Love Boss' is a dreamy, hazy affair with barely-there fem vox and strange warbling synth sounds. 'Denode' itself is up next, rocking a strident "I am not a toy, I'm not a plaything" female vocal, jazzy keys, a bassline that's vaguely reminiscent of Basement Jaxx's 'Red Alert' and surprisingly tuff kicks, while completing the EP is 'Zac Are U There?', a shaker-laden affair that takes us towards lounge territory.
Review: London's Break N Chord is back hot on the heels of last month's album The Bracket Middle Jazz, with a new one - the eight-tracker "The Urban Guerilla Jazz". The title sums up the mood of the long player pretty accurately: a hazy vintage jazz vibe cut with a sharper streetwise blade. Highlights include the ominous loops of "Blackhorse Road", the trip-hoppy "Guerilla Urbana" and the frankly baggy, "Break In Town".
Review: Londoner Break N Chord doesn't do things by halves. Recent releases from this guy have bordered on mini-album territory and "The Dangerous Mind Of Jazz" is no exception, boasting nine examples of his distinctive moody sound. Each release tends to have a theme, and here he explores more cerebral zones with the raw, lunging urgency of "Break N Chord Is Back", the tough minimalism of "Break Adventures" and the brash punk funk of "Bayswater" proving particular highlights.
Review: Two cuts here from mysterious London-based producer Break N Chord, coming on his regular home of Sound Exhibitions, that manage to follow an almost identical MO yet still end up sounding quite different. After a spacey, slow-building intro (definite set-opening potential there!), 'Magic Box' settles down into a jaunty nu-funk groove comprising a hefty walking bassline, warbling Hammonds, hand percussion, drawn-out brass stabs and, most notably, a lead line played on the flute. 'Dusty Flute' is comprised of the same elements, but where 'Magic Box' is lively, upbeat and summery, 'Dusty Flute' has an altogether sleazier sound and feel.