Ze Spirits Band - "Tucheza" (Esa extended mix) (5:00)
Nonku Phiri - "Sifo" (feat Dion Monti) (4:27)
Os Panteras - "Melo Do Anjo" (Outra edit) (4:54)
Pascal Latour - "Lague Yo" (Boulo edit) (5:58)
Masalo - "Yera" (feat Doussou Koulibaly) (6:24)
Esa - "Pantsula Traxx" (4:38)
Narchbeats - "Cheeks" (3:41)
DJ Spoko - "#Justsnares" (4:02)
Review: Inspired by his own experiences growing up in apartheid-era South Africa and his travels through music, Esa Williams has put together a compilation of contemporary electronic music from around the world. "Amandla: Music To The People" is well worth your attention and contains some genuine gems. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the percussive, chant-along sweatiness of Penny Penny's "Shilungu" and the loved-up, pitched-down dreaminess of Alaska's "Accuse (Instrumental)", to the sweet, life-affirming cheeriness of Os Panteras' "Melo Do Anjo (Outro Edit)" and the thrusting, Italo-disco style dancefloor masculinity of Masalo's "Yera". Esa's own late '80s style pitched-down South African house jam "Pantsula Traxx" is also superb.
One More Round (86 House mix By Frankie Knuckles) (8:10)
Walkman (86 House mix By Brett Wilcots) (7:17)
Review: Best turn their attention to that sweet mid 80s spot when the petri dish of party music was shaken up between disco, boogie, Italo and the emergent house sound from Chicago. Claudio Simonetti was a titan of the Italian groove, but his monster jam as Kasso, "One More Round", reached the stratosphere when Windy City godfather Frankie Knuckles gave the track his Midas touch. No more justification is needed for this pressing, but don't overlook the flip which finds 80s remix supremo Brett Wilcots taking on "Walkman" and whipping up a boogie frenzy of the highest order.
Review: Described in the accompanying press release as "the halfway point between Bollywood and Balearic", Rupa Biswas' 1982 debut "Disco Jazz" has long been a favourite of dusty-fingered diggers with a healthy bank balance and a penchant for the quirky. All four tracks are cheery, charming and superior to many "Bollywood disco" records produced in the same period. The sunny disco-boogie of "Moja Bhari Moja" is followed on side A by the delightfully eccentric, bass-powered AOR-disco/funk-rock fusion of "East West Shuffle" and the effortlessly Balearic cheeriness of "Aaj Shanibar". Best of all, though, is the exotic and intoxicating flipside cut "Ayee Morshume Be-Reham Duniya" which expertly joins the dots between cosmic rock and Balearic disco grooves for 16 spellbinding minutes.
Review: Blue Feather were a truly blue-eyed funk outfit from the Netherlands who had a prolific run in the 80s with two albums and a string of club singles to their name. "Let's Funk Tonight" was surely one of their bigger hits, and it sounds resplendent with a fresh master and the full extended version spread out across the A side here. Offering something new for the modern market, Best call upon Faze Action to flesh out this reissue with a killer dub of the track that treads softly but funks deep, just like a good dub should.
Review: It's always a treat to spot Edward donning his Desert Sky guise for another trip into the hinterland of minimal techno, where expression reigns free and all kinds of sound sources tumble into a truly exotic mix. On this album for PAL SL, all bets are off as we get whisked down a mysterious and meandering path where organic and electronic matter merge in the shadows, all strapped to subliminal but pronounced grooves that make this some of the most potent, intriguing club material in circulation right now. Buy the ticket, take the ride and dance out under that Desert Sky.
Review: The last ten years have seen no shortage of bands with their delay pedals set to stun intent on capturing an aura of dreamlike radiance. Yet Texas 'pop-noir' troupe Cigarettes After Sex are no ordinary shoegazers, for a variety of reasons - frontman Greg Gonzalez' androgynous and dulcet tones may be part of the appeal, yet moreover it's the quality of the songwriting here, which never falls prey to the style-over-substance traps of their peers. Indeed, this debut is more than enough to justify the considerable hype around this outfit, being a collection of ditties as sultry as they are atmopsheric.
Review: Don't believe everything you read - the fifth Bat For Lashes album confirms this girl (or woman) found herself musically and thematically some time ago, freeing up creative energy to explore new approaches to deliver her often mournful, always heartfelt songs inspired by personal crises and private longings. On this outing there's more than a hint of 1980s pop evident in the mix. Shades of Prince ("Feel For You"), Madonna ("So Good"), Bowie's Berlin days and electro-era Gary Numan (the stunning, infectious instrumental "Vampires") cast the record in a nostalgia that suits the sense of yearning that always seems to pervade Natasha Khan's work. Simply name-checking reference points is lazy and unfair, though. This is an incredible collection of tracks moulded in the artist's own image - bold, beautiful and instantly captivating. Then again, it would be surprising if anyone had expected anything less.
Review: Silent Season's mainstay artist Segue returns with a new album, following up on the well-received immersion of his 2016 LP "Over The Mountains" with further explorations in the hinterland between dub techno, ambient and a more pastoral kind of palette. It's a field he's well versed in, and one that typifies Silent Season's approach as well, but there's plenty of fresh ideas to latch onto here as Segue weaves gorgeous threads of melody around tactile, mossy beds of sound and understated grooves that carry you to far away, inviting places. Even the more pronounced dub techno stylings of "Mirage", for example, sound vibrant and invigorating in Segue's hands - another sterling album from an accomplished producer.
Curimao (Sons Onomatopaicos E Folk Da Guine) (6:48)
Solito (Solo De Balaue) (4:29)
Danado Cantador (Balaue, Orquestra E Declamacao) (A Fagner) (4:46)
Review: For the first in a series of must-have reissues of obscure Brazilian treats, Optimo Music and Selva Discos have joined forces to offer up a new pressing of Fernando Falcao's superb 1981 debut, "Memoria Das Aguas". The eight-track set has long been considered something of a slept-on and hard-to-find classic, with Falcao conjuring up an octet of tracks that brilliantly join the dots between neo-classical movements, dreamy, percussion-led soundscapes (see the sublime "Amanhecer Tabajara (A Alceu Valenca)"), spiraling big band Afro-Brazilian jazz ("Ladeira Dos Inocentes"), intoxicating classical-jazz fusion ("Revoada") and experimental, beat-free sound collages ("Mercado"). In a word: exceptional.
Review: Alongside regular studio partner Andreas Baumecker, Sam Barker has released a swathe of admired singles and a couple of on-point albums on Ostgut Ton. Here he returns to the much-loved German imprint with his most significant solo release to date: a debut album of drowsy, sun-baked electronic positivity that expertly melds elements of hazy ambient, dub techno, off-kilter electronica and the classic kosmiche synthesizer soundscapes associated with Tangerine Dream. It's a lot less dancefloor-focused than much of his previous material, but that's not a criticism: indeed, the fact that it's warm, opaque and prioritizes fuzzy, slowly shifting musical movements is the album's greatest strength.
Review: It seems so obvious you wonder why it doesn't happen more often: Stefano Torossi's "Feelings" album from 2000 was made up of track titles that convey certain situations and emotions that he masterfully reflects in the music. This new double 7" includes the highlights, such as the racing jazz and trumpet stabs of "Running Fast," the sustained and uneasy chords of "Fearing Much" and "Feeling Tense," which is actually a pretty lush bit of smooth jazz. "Walking In The Dark" rounds off the double pack with playful guitars and luxuriant synths that are pure soundtrack goodness. Ace.
Review: Last time we heard from Julion De'Angelo, the Detroit-based producer was sharing vinyl space with Thomas Xu on Sound Signature. This, then, is his debut solo EP, and rather good it is too. Deep and drowsy with loose, jazz-flecked house drums and skewed, hard-to-pigeonhole rhythms (see the bass-heavy shuffle of "Sizzlelean"), it should appeal to all those who dig the unique dancefloor visions of Kenny Dixon Jr and Theo Parrish. The standout is arguably A-side "Stand On Your Square (Part 1)", a hypnotic and decidedly dusty sounding workout rich in marimba style melodies and fusty drum machine beats. The broken, jazzy and ultra-deep "Stand On Your Square (Part 2 - Bird)" is also worth a listen, if only for the quality of the drowsy liquid bass and heady ambient chords.
Review: Selva Discos' Fernando Falcao reissue series continues via a fabulous new pressing of the Brazilian percussionist's experimental 1987 album "Barracas Barrocas". Like the artist's 1981 debut, it's a brilliantly eclectic and esoteric affair, offering up a heady - and uniquely South American - blend of off-kilter jazz, pastoral neo-classical compositions, academic ambient, jaunty tropical fusion, narrated soundscapes and heavy drum workouts. Given that it moves in a multitude of directions, the set actually holds together remarkably well, with Falcao's use of bespoke orchestration acting as a constant thread linking disparate sounds and styles. It's both utterly brilliantly and thoroughly mesmerizing, while the accompanying insert includes essays in Portuguese and English telling the story of the album and Falcao's little-known career.