Review: Longstanding Columbian groovers Bomba Estereo have something of a timeless quality to their rich, organic grooves. As much as they roll with a comforting Zion Train pro-retro wriggle, there's all manner of contemporary parallels - not least the XX/Delphic style delivery of "El Alma Y El Cuerpo". Now on their third album, their distinctive blend of deep psychedelic production and rustic, wholesome Latin folk will warm your heart in minutes. But don't get too sun-kissed and sexy... there's some savage club grooves deep in the mix. Just wait till "Pure Love" hits. Wow.
Review: Before heading into the studio, Anglo-Kiwi crew Flamingo Pier built their reputation by throwing celebrated parties that effortlessly joined the dots between a myriad of colourful, tropical-fired dancefloor styles. That's what you get on this fine EP, too. Check, for example, the ragged acid bass, tropical drums and jazzy guitars of standout "Find Your Way", the kaleidoscopic Italo-disco/boogie fusion of "Hold It" and the Fat Freddy's Drop horns, layered percussion, P-funk synths and sing-along vocals of cheery lead cut "Tell Me How". Also worth a spin is the densely percussive and suitably celebratory remix of "Find Your Way" by Leng Records regulars Earthboogie.
Review: When it comes to offering up albums of carnival-ready Latin-soul, it could be argued that Gabriele Poso is in a league of his own. Certainly, his 2018 set for BBE, "Awakening" was superb, and this follow-up on Soundway is every bit as good. The South American influences - think samba, Azymuth sytle jazz-funk, Brazilian boogie, MPB etc - naturally catch the ear throughout, alongside his extensive use of warming synthesizers, sun-kissed electronics and his own voice, which seems to get richer and more seductive with each successive release. The quality threshold remains so high throughout that it's barely worth picking out highlights: it's literally 'all good', and you really should check out the album when you get a chance.
Review: Album number four here from Julien Dyne, a New Zealand-based drummer, producer and DJ who's worked with artists as diverse as Fat Freddy's Drop, Nathan Haines, Theo Parrish and the Mizell brothers. The album opens with the abstract disco of 'Design' but goes on to embrace a range of styles and textures, from the future R&B of Ladi6 collab 'Hours' to the fuzzy, psychedelic electro-pop of 'What You Say' (a quirky, catchy little gem), with chopped-up beats, vocoders, lo-fi pianos, space-y synth bleeps and disembodied vocal fragments all having major roles to play. Not every experiment is an unqualified success, but it's certainly never boring.
Review: As NYC multi-instrumentalist Chico prepares for a new album in 2013, we're treated to a selection of cuts from his previously limited "Manifest Tone" series. Fusing sprightly electro boogie with the zest of D-Train, the jazz fluency of Roy Ayers and the more modern, complex production presentation of The Mexican Institute Of Sound, it's a really interesting blend of flavours that spans decades. From the sad Cuban dirge "El Paraguay" to the two-step meets classic Knuckles-out garage "His Favourite Thing" via the Kenny Dope-meets-Fela Kuti minded rhythm of "Luz" this oozes unique character, creativity and musicianship.
Review: UK label Soundway specialise in unearthing undiscovered musical gems from around the world, and here they turn their attention to calypso and soca - respectively, the traditional music of Trinidad & Tobabgo and its electrified late 20th Century variant. The focus for this collection of 'obscure B-sides, versions, dubs and instrumentals', though, is on tracks that fuse soca/calypso with disco, boogie, house, soul and reggae. It has to said, the purported influences can at times be hard for the untrained ear to detect, but cuts like Adonijah's soul-infused 'It's Alright' or D'Rebel Band's reggaefied 'Solid' should work well on open-minded floors.
Review: Auckland-based eight-piece Weird Together are an interesting proposition - and not just because it's helmed by Tokyo-based journalist Nick Dwyer and one-time NRK deep house regular Dick 'Magik J' Johnson. Their style, as showcased on this debut EP for the admirable Soundway Records, is fiendishly hard to pin down. In essence, they take inspiration from a myriad of global styles - mainly localised sounds from parts of South America, Africa and the Caribbean - and fuse them with contemporary house rhythms and structures. Throughout, highlights come thick and fast, from the dense percussion, booming bass and African vocals of "Gban Gban Lewa" and picturesque, Soweto-house shuffle of "Karima's Story", to the South American bliss of "Mbira".
Review: Hot on the heels of Soundway's fantastic Gumba Fire compilation of South African boogie and synth-soul comes this partner EP, which shines a light on the country's short-lived but influential Heads Records imprint. The label was only originally active for two years between 1982 and '84, but in that time released a handful of killer 12" singles. A few of those came from Starlight, whose sought-after "Picnic" - a proto-bubblegum, boogie affair heavy on rising horns, jazz-funk electric piano solos and rubbery synth motifs - is arguably this EP's standout moment. Elsewhere, contemporary scalpel fiends get their chance to rework classic Heads Records moments, with Frankie Francis delivering dubbed-out renditions of two cuts: Manyane's stomping, Italo-disco-influenced "Thabong" and Adaye's gravelly, gospel-influenced peak-time disco-funk workout "Turn It Up".
Review: Last year, Gentleman's Dub Club member Nick Tyson tickled the fancy of many serious selectors with two fine EPs under the Xoa alias. Both brilliantly blurred the boundaries between Afrobeat, electronica, deep house and a myriad of other classic and contemporary genres, with Tyson skillfully combining choice samples and organic instrumentation. Happily, he's at it again here, delivering another two hard-to-pigeonhole treats. We're particularly enjoying the fluttering flutes, sampled vocals, vintage synths and Tony Allen style beats of "Mass", though the hazy Afro-soul of "Mon Ecole" is almost as impressive. The accompanying remixes are tasty, too, with Glenn Astro's two-part rework of "Mon Ecole" (a spine-tingling beat-less intro followed by a wonderfully jazzy deep house rub) just edging out Ben Hauke's sumptuous remix of "Mass".