Review: Banderas are that most rare of beasts: an eleven-piece salsa band from Japan. While they've been active for a while, their recorded output has been limited, to say the least. The two tracks featured on this tasty 7" were first featured on the band's 2016 debut release, which was never released outside of Japan. It's undoubtedly great that they're finally available to a wider audience, because both are potent dancefloor workouts. With its atmospheric, "barrio atmosphere" opening, jaunty piano build-up, punchy horns, sing-along Cuban style vocals and scorching salsa rhythms, A-side "Tema De Banderas" is particularly effective. That said, bustling B-side "Banderas Mambo", with its heavier rhythms and rousing mambo horn lines, is also pretty darn hot.
Review: Matasuna Records' dusty-fingered owners always have one eye on the world of self-released music, scrolling through untold Bandcamp pages to find buried treasure. They've struck gold with Batunga and the Subprimes, a Parisian Afrobeat band who have toured extensively but never before appeared on vinyl - hence this two-track seven-inch single. Both sides are sizzling hot. A-side "Gates of Oauntou" is marked out by some superb, Tony Allen style polyrhythmic drumming, hazy horns and clipped guitars, with the talented ensemble delivering a detailed floor-shaker that should appeal to all those that love Fela Kuti. The spirit of the Nigerian great can also be heard in flipside "Man In The Field", an altogether heavier and punchier affair that's as infectious as tropical fever and twice as sweaty.
Review: For a brief period between 1968 and 1975, Peruvian band Black Sugar recorded some seriously heavy fusions of soul, rock and jazz. It's because of this that both of their self-titled albums now exchange hands for eye-watering sums online, as does their 1971 debut single "Viajecito". Helpfully, Matasuna Records has done a deal to reissue the latter. The track itself remains a rare treat; a gloriously sunny, horn-heavy fusion of Latin jazz rhythms, spacey sounds, jaunty group vocals and twinkling pianos. B-side "Too Late", a sumptuous, boogaloo-sounding soul number in which the group sings in English over a Blackbyrds-esque backing track, is similarly impressive.
Review: Matasuna Records' latest release offers up two sought-after tracks from Bossa 70, a relatively short-lived Peruvian band whose ultra-limited 1970 releases (a total of 400 copies were pressed of their sole single and eponymous debut album) brilliantly joined the dots between jazz, bossa, soul and funk. Listening to these cuts for the first time, it's easy to see why Matasuna has gone to the trouble of licensing them: A-side "Si Voce Pensa" is an inspired Peruvian funk cover of a 1968 Roberto Carlos track rich in bustling breakbeats, punchy horns and confident female vocals. Just as potent is the band's flipside cover of Baden Powell's "Berimbau", which puts a funk-soul twist on a certified bossa-nova classic.
Get Out Of My Way (Retro Roland Riso Eterno Regroove) (3:47)
Review: Earlier in the year, Matasuna Records reissued two rare and exceedingly hard to find tracks by Peruvian band Bossa 70. They'll soon be offering up more original cuts from the band's sought-after debut album, but before then they're treating us to two dancefloor-focused re-edits of Bossa 70 classics by American DJ/producer Retro Roland Riso. On the A-side he delivers a DJ-friendly "Perfecto Edit" of Think, a horn-heavy slab of Peruvian funk rich in rubbery beats and hazy bass. Just as cheery and life affirming is his interpretation of "Get Out Of My Way". This is an altogether heavier, faster and more stomping revision, though it's the vibrancy of the psychedelic era Latin funk backing track that really sets the pulse racing.
Review: We've become accustomed to Matsauna Records licensing and reissuing dusty old gems from Africa, Central America and South America, so it's a pleasant surprise to find that their latest "45" features tracks plucked from a more recent album - the 2015 debut of Portual-based Angolan singer/songwriter Chalo Correira. It's a wise move, because both of these tracks are superb. A-side "Kudiholola" is a galloping celebration of the Angolan Kazakuta style blessed with infectious rhythms, glistening electric guitar solos and wild harmonica melodies. Flipside "Chercher Crioula" is a bilingual song sung in both Quimbundo and French, with musical accompaniment that neatly highlights the cultural links between Angola and the Iberian Peninsula.
Review: David Hanke is a man known for his wild and illustrious array of aliases. Through the years, he's appeared under the names Black Soyls, Madball Scientists, Mankoora and Rengades Of Jazz, among many others. Dem Juju Poets is his latest creation and, needless to say, it is perhaps his most accomplished and mature project to date. We don't want to take anything away from his previous productions but there's just something utterly fluid about this latest reincarnation. Matasuna is the new label to launch this new Liberated Thoughts LP, and we're sure this will go down a storm with all the jazz-funk crew, particularly the followers of Giles Peterson's DJ sound. Hanke's approach is playful and diverse, branching out into all sorts of jazzy vibrations that are tied together by funky, off-kilter outernational vibes. Plenty of breaks, bass bumps, and party moves for all sorts of vinyl playaz - oh boy, check those horns on the masterful "People's Republic"!
Review: David Hanke has only just started releasing music under the Dem Juju Poets moniker, and already he's managed to instil a very clear direction in terms of sound aesthetic and creative direction. This new two-tracker for the emergent Matasuna label is full of joie de vivre, with the opening tune "Barabara" managing to blend the best elements of funk, high-life, afrobeat, and generally coming up with a tune that's just so damn easy to dance to. "People's Republic", the flipside track, is a horn-led groover, another slice of worldly funk back by a bumpy, positive tribalistic tone that we instantly associate to the dance floor. Excellent stuff - let's keep it coming!
Review: Matasuna's latest must-have release comes courtesy of Dubben, an artist whose tasty, dub-fired mid-2000s reworks of Afro-Cuban and Latin tracks remain some of G.A.M.M.'s most potent moments. This is the producer's first release of any sort for nearly five years and continues in a similar vein. Check first A-side "Jesus Boogie", a samba-soaked, dub-funk fuelled revision of what sounds like a mid-1970s Brazilian MPB workout. Sweatier flavours are provided on B-side cut "Cachaca", where he dubs out and tools up a punchy affair that boasts a killer horn part reminiscent of The Champs classic "Tequila".
Review: For their latest release, Matasuna Records has put away their re-editing scalpel and instead decided to serve up two obscure old gems by Peru-based Argentine artist Enrique Lynch. Both tracks were recorded in the early 1970s and have become sought-after items amongst the Afro-Tropical collecting community. Having been re-mastered from the original master tapes, A-side "African Bump" - a jazzy, sun-soaked affair notable for its fantastic use of wah-wah guitar, Blaxploitation grooves and high-register horn solos - sounds better than ever before. The same could be said for Lynch's brilliant cover of The Nite-Liters' funk classic "K-Jee", which adds a little South American sunshine to the familiar grooves and celebrated horn lines.
Review: Late last month, Matasuna Records successfully mined "Ritual", the sought-after 1971 album by Nico Gomez and his Afro-Percussion Inc (a studio combo helmed by Belgian composer Joseph van het Groenewoud), and reissued one of the standout tracks, "Lupita". Here they serve up another gem from the album, "Baila Chibiquiban", an Incredible Bongo Band-esque fusion of psychedelic rock, heavy funk and even heavier Afro-Cuban percussion. The fine original version is given the re-edit treatment on the flip, with Tonton Boom extending some percussive passages and emphasizing the killer groove before introducing some of the track's headier musical elements. It's the kind of rework that should find favour with proper break-dancers.
Review: Those who love classic Afro-Latin music should already know "Lupita", one of the standout tunes from the sole 1971 album by Belgian composer Nico Gomez (real name Joseph van het Groenewoud) and his Afro-Percussion Inc backing band. That album was reissued a few years back by Mr Bongo; here 'Lupita' is given a rare airing on 7" single by Matasuna. This time round, the deliciously percussive mambo workout - all punchy horns, wild organs and vocal breakdowns - comes backed by a fresh remix courtesy of Bosq. This version is arguably even better, with Bosq wisely choosing to focus on the drums, horns, bass and organs for added dancefloor pleasure.
Review: Berlin's Matasuna label welcomes a debut appearance from Afrobeat-flavoured outfit Heroes Of Limbo. We're not certain on where this band originally hail from, but they've got the vibe down perfectly on this smoking hot 7". "Madchester Woman" skits and scatters with loose in-the-room drums, a sassy brass section and sweet high life guitar licks. "White Noise" brings Clair Fallows on board for a strong vocal turn that turns the temperature up. This is soul-stirring Afrobeat in the mould of the originators, executed with respectful accuracy and played with passion.
Review: Matsuna Records' latest batch of Afro-Tropical reworks come courtesy of Kill Emil, a sometime hip-hop producer from Athens who has been delivering killer cuts for the best part of a decade. First up is "Matata", a mid-tempo Afro-Latin stepper in which our Greek hero wraps breezy, delay-laden vocal snippets, ear-catching horn lines and rhythmical guitar riffs around his own punchy, off-kilter MPC beats. Over on side B, Kill Emil gets even more tropical, brilliantly fusing chopped and looped sections of a vintage NYC salsa jam with toe-tapping, head-nodding hip-hop style beats fresh from his trusted beat-box. Like all good salsa jams, it comes complete with some seriously heavy brass.
Review: Founded in 1967 by singer/producer Carlos Oliva and other Cuban immigrants to the United States, Los Sobrinos del Juez were briefly one of the leading protagonists of the turn-of-the-'70s "Miami Sound" - a humid and intoxicating fusion of blues, rock, funk and dancefloor-focused Latin sounds. Their 1974 debut single "Harina De Maiz" - here reissued for the first time since - is a perfect example of that short lived style, offering up a mixture of wah-wah-guitar and psychedelic organ-powered Latin funk grooves and righteous Cuban vocals. On this edition it comes backed by the previously unheard "Corned Beef Hash", a swinging Latin-jazz number rich in vibraphone solos, jaunty piano riffs and plenty of hip-wiggling percussion.
Review: Having previously excelled at crafting party-starting bootleg funk remixes and composing revivalist soul slammers, Mr Bird has now decided to turn his attention to Afro-disco, Afro-funk and Afro-soul. Typically, the results are impressive, particularly "Dance Away", a hybrid Afro-disco/Afro-soul workout featuring the fine vocals of Chief Commander Yaaba. Elsewhere, he lays down a subtly housed-up take on Clavinet-happy Afro-funk (the superb, jazz-funk tinged "Floating Funk"), brilliantly breaks up the beats on the woozy, groovy and bustling "Carnival Beat", and lays blissful vocal harmonies over a sumptuous deep house beat on "The Sasquatch".
Review: Sangre Joven were a Peruvian band operating mainly throughout the 70s and, along with plenty of their own original material, the outfit also worked on versions of American funk classics, such as this reinterpretation, from 1975, of Elkin & Nelson's "Samba Samba". "Zamba Zamba" adds more flavor and percussion to the already tropical groove, making it an ansolutely addictive rhythm to own and play out on the dancefloor! The Matasuna imprint have gone above and beyond with this reissue, however, as Voodoocuts gets an edit in - it becomes more dance-centric and beat-heavy compared to the original cut. A quintessentially unmissable funk belter!
Review: According to the South American music specialists at Matasuna Records, Ralph Weeks' 1971 single "Let Me Do My Thing" - recorded alongside backing Los Dinamicos Exciters - is arguably the most sought-after Panamanian soul record around. As this reissue proves, Weeks' original version is rubbery, heavy and rousing, with the singer's rasping lead vocal soaring above a weighty backing track that sounds like a breezier take on the New York boogaloo sound. On the flip, Voodoocuts tools it up for modern dancefloors, underpinning his club-ready edit with punchy new drums that give the cut more of a breakbeat style swing.