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: 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: Stone cold New Jersey funk business; Calender's seminal "Hypertension" has been a waymark in dancefloor developments since '75 and its big strings, high energy and nagging vocals still have total resonance to this day as proved by this rolling, conga fuelled twist from Mexican maestro Hotmood. Flip for more relevance as "Ritmo Latino" (from Calender's '76 album "It's A Monster") gets a cheeky breakbeat facelift from Voodoocuts. Now there's no excuse not to get funky every single day of the year.
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.
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: 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: 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.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.