Review: Kiwi nu-disco crew Flamingo Pier come to Miles Cleret's UK label Soundway with a track that just might take you by surprise. Sporting a somewhat 80s-sounding male pop vocal and served simply in Original and Radio Edit forms, on first hearing 'Indigo' can come across as mere froth, but give it another listen or two, give the wukka-wukking funk guitar and squelchy analogue synth doodles a chance to really drill themselves into your head, and you'll realise it's actually a very fine slab of contemporary Euro-leaning disco, redolent of both vintage Brit-funk and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult circa 'Gay, Black And Married'.
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: 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: 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".