Review: Feeling lucky? With grooves as raw, sizzling and energetic as these, there's a strong chance you might be. Hot on the heels of their "Mesquite Beat" 45 comes this equally earthy and frank doublet. "'Bout To Blow" is a big pant swinging blues affair while "Saints & Beggars" takes us up a notch with a whirling 6/8 signature whirling waltz where the horns and drums take the lead and we follow in their every dreamy footstep. Look out for the album Mesquite Suite coming on Tramp very soon.
Review: After releases from the likes of Dakini9, Fox and Franklin Da Costa, it was only natural that Jersey City-based label Green Village would turn to DJ Spider for a new 12 inch. Well, it seems natural to us, in any case. The NYC artist is now a respected member of the Big Apple's contemporary house and techno wave, and it's an absolute must for him to be represented on the city's bubbling scene, especially when he's up for firing off tunes like "Space Jungle" and Satsang", two mean, club-minded house bangers with a prominent lower-end. "Divide & Conquer" turns things darker and more ominous thanks to its icy, minimal approach - a cold blend of stripped-back beats and circling bass tones - while "Urantia Of Nebadon" displaces the traditional house framework in favour of a dark, molecular selection of electronic sounds guided by a simple pattern of 4/4 beats. Classic Spider material...
Review: Ali Wells's Perc Trax has done incredibly well over the years, and in fact, this latest EP (the third in the series) marks the label's ten year anniversary! Patrick Sottrop aka Kareem drops "Just When You Thought It Was Over" on the A-side, unleashing a militant and subtly dubbed-out warhead for the peak time hours, while Wells himself touches down as Perc with the stormy, wide-eyed sound sculpture that is "Volley". Surprisingly, the kick drum - a menacing pound to the head - only pops up well into the track, leaving space for all other sorts of atmospherics and distortion to surface. Excellent, as per usual.
Review: Last month's debut salvo from off-kilter Balearic pop edit imprint Shelved Recordings sold out in record time, so it's likely you'll have to act fast to secure a copy of this speedy follow-up. Editor Andi Handley gets things going via the blissful bubbles of "Up and Down", where sustained synthesizer chords and meandering melodies stretch out across a sparse electronic rhythm, before diving even deeper into delay-laden slow-motion synth-pop pastures on the tactile and emotive drowsiness of "Stop Me". Best of all, though, is extended flipside edit "What Are You Fighting For", a typically dubby and on-point revision of an arpeggio-driven, guitar-laden alternative pop/post-punk cut by Marianne Faithfull.
Review: Helmed by Asaf Samuel and Katzele, Malka Tuti transmits cosmic boogie sounds from Tel Aviv that come from lesser-known sources. On their fifth release they turn to The Kloom, a loose-fit operation of unknowns making a debut appearance with the powerful strut of "40 Gram Beton". Mixing slow disco grooves with ranging synths and warm piano notes, it's an infectious track that provides a prime jump-off point for the cast of remixers that round out the release. Die Wilde Jagd adds a more mechanical coldwave pulse to the track while Khidja gets lost in a swirling trip of a version, with the label throwing in a radio edit as a bonus on the B2.
Review: William J.Youngman's Headless Horseman project has created a new and exciting techno sound that was only an offshoot of EBM and industrial in years past. Stepping out of his own imprint, the dark horseman lands on Tommy Four Seven's excellent 47 label, tearing through the speakers from the get-go thanks to the toxic sounds of "Revelation", and the even nastier sway of "Concussion". Metallic and hard-nosed in absolutely every way, "Locust" follows up on that with a menacing pounce of beats and cavernous bass, while "Gravity" breaks the techno groove for something much more in line with the likes of Powell's Diagonal output. Big boy sounds.
Le Syndicat - "Prothesis Pack Xtract 08 (1983)" (3:52)
Le Syndicat - "Maximalist" (Ekman remix) (6:05)
Review: Continuing their uncompromising fusions of artists new and old, Contort Yourself return with a punishing array of industrial thuggery from hardware manipulators you wouldn't take home to your mother. Novacom were last seen on Slumdiscs back in 2014 and here bring a fast and gnarly rhythmic tryst to bear before JK Flesh do their own snagging dance with oppressive synths and drums twirling into a heavyweight whole. French brutalists Le Syndicat then dominate the B-side with their confrontational bastardisation of techno and industrial, making the perfect source material for Ekman to get nasty with on his remix of "Maximalist".
Review: Former Bugz In The Attic crewmember Alex Phountzi first joined forces with fellow broken beat pioneer IG Culture four years ago. Together, they launched the NameBrandSound project with a tidy EP of bass-weight business on Ninja Tune's Technicolour offshoot. Here the experienced twosome return with their first - and presumably only - missive of 2018. A-side "Shrunken Heads" is something of a percussive, off-kilter dancefloor beast, as the duo re-imagines Talking Heads classic "Once In A Lifetime" as a rolling, bruk-up floor-filler. Over on side B, "Bebop" sees them pepper another swinging, house-influenced bruk-up rhythm with lashings of synth-sax and some suitably shimmering chords.
Review: Two more rare grooves purloined from Cultures Of Soul's Brasileiro Treasure Box Of Funk & Soul and delivered on a sweet 45: Celia's "A Hora E Essa" is a steamy Latin funk workout from 72; all horns, cuicas and soft, honeyed vocals. Franco's "Ei, Voce, Psiu!" takes a more US funk idea with Franco's spoken vocals giving off a strong air of bandleader as the band lock down a tight groove beneath. Watch out for samba flip towards the end. Blink and you'll miss it.
Review: Since 2003, Record Kicks has been the "explosive sound of today's scene" and, by the looks of this latest nugget from Martha High, they're right on track to fulfill that promise! The talented US vocalist was on the front row of James Brown's hits in the 60's and 70's, but she's since then focused on her own glorious soul material. "A Little Taste Of Soul" comes as a ray of shining light on a wet October afternoon, full of funky sensibility and heartfelt vibes, making for the perfect dance number for those looking for that groovy thang. For the B-side, "Unwind Yourself" slows the tempo down, breaks up the groove, and unleashes High's Goddess-like voice amid those tasty breaks - what a winner!
Review: The latest missive from crate-digging reissue imprint Rocafort Records shines a light on the halcyon period of Evasion Disques, an imprint founded by members of rebellious French rock band Les (Faux) Freres in the late 1960s. Comprising 12 little-known cuts released on the label between 1970 and '73, the collection does a terrific job in highlighting the wide-eyed, psychedelic era brilliance of some of the label's now forgotten artists. Listeners can expect to hear a mixture of bluesy psychedelic rock, low-down Gallic funk, dream pop, Ramsey Lewis style excursions (see Hand's brilliant "Shifting Leads") and slightly kitsch instrumental workouts guaranteed to put smiles on faces.
Review: For the latest volume in their ongoing Brazil 45s series, Mr Bongo has decided to change tack. The two tracks showcased here are from the golden age of Brazilian boogie. On the A-side you'll find Marcos Valle's "A Paraiba Nao E Chicago", a largely overlooked cut from his 1981 full-length Vontade De Rever Voce. While not as instantly as infectious as some of his better-known singles, it's still superb; a breezy, blue-eyed soul cut full of rising horns and sweet Portuguese vocals. On the B-side, you'll find Don Beto's 1978 disco-funk jam "Nao Quero Mais", a superb track that was seemingly inspired by the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running".
Review: Steve Bug is back with a brilliant release to close 2007. In between A&Ring three labels, mixing and promoting two high profile club mix compilations, ('Fuse Presents Steve Bug' earlier this year and the 37th edition of Fabric's 'Prestigious Mix' series, released in November) we are glad he has found some studio time. 'A World Without' on the a-side is what we love Steve Bug for - his analogue warm sound and his simple understated fashion but unhurried ability to bring in slowly burning intensity, taking things to a different level and his talent in using minimal elements for maximum effects. The track kicks off with a subtle groovy beat plus Steve's vocal sample and shows him adding layer over layer of nifty sounds, building up to a hypnotic groove, after which the ever-increasing, stomach-punching synth kicks in - he then strips things back to the nude again in exactly the right moment. The track has something magical to it from the very first beats, a sure dancefloor winner that will captivate dancers and listeners at both peaktime and after hour sets. 'Cru Sauvage' on the b-side is based on a bubbly, bleepy melody, a collage of deep and twisted effects grooving around the beats, heavy offbeat snares and unexpected house chords. An impeccable production and the perfect flipside to Steve's last release in 2007.
Review: Speak to anyone who lived through them about the glory days of IDM and German producer Arovane (aka Uwe Zahn) is probably one of the first names they will happily reel off. Between the late '90s and his apparent retirement in 2004, Zahn was responsible for birthing a clutch of classic IDM longplayers like Tides and Lillies, the 2004 LP for City Centre Offices that seemed to signal his withdrawl from music. However, the production bug bit him again in 2013 and there has been a steady stream of Arovane output leading up to this Aarlenpeers EP. Issued on the Touchin' Bass label operated by self professed Arovan fan Andrea Parker, these two cuts bristle and pulse with abstracted electronic life in a manner one expects from Zahn. "Il_Eth" is quite epic.
Review: Sydneysiders represent for the third edition of New South Wales based imprint Post Pluto, who dedicate this release to one of the city's most lively streets. Starting out with Swedish expat Adam Stromstedt, who is on fire at the moment with releases on Bristol's Banoffee Pies and his own Lyssna imprint. Here he presents the dusty uptempo groove of "NTHNG" featuring sombre orchestral strings that create a sombre backdrop for his skittering rhythms and rolling bassline. Next up, t.hanks presents the jacking NYC house stylings of "Reschs", the title dedicated to another Sydney icon; in this case it's best brand of beer! On the flip is Subaske with the woozy and hypnotic broken beat house of "Moving Between Worlds".
Review: At the third release on their deep house division Basic Channel keeps introducing new singers. Paul St Hilaire brings in a refreshing reggae flavour to the rather classic deep house set-up. The main vocal mix one A-side is allied with an instrumental on the B-side that reminiscent of Maurizio or Basic Channel releases.
Review: Following up some great releases of late on REKIDS, 17 Steps and his own Hope Works imprint, Sheffield's Liam O'Shea returns to DEXT Recordings: a London based label floating around in a world somewhere between techno, house, UK bass and rave. Indeed the sound of "Activation" exists at the interzone of all the above, tying the styles together wonderfully much like the work of German legend Rene Pawlowitz. On the flip, Lo Shea takes on the brooding and mentalist sounds of late '90s drum 'n' bass - albeit significantly pitched down on the breakbeat science experiment "Pressure".
Review: Beating Heart has shared the late Hugh Tracey's archive at the International Library of African Music (ILAM) with contemporary producers and keeping in line with Tracey's vision, all proceeds will be used to assist people in the areas where the music was originally recorded. This time, Warp Records and all round UK electronica legend Luke Vibert gives us the delightful oddball groove that is "Africable", Italian DJ Clap! Clap! Gives us the African polyrhythms via Detroit high-tech soul on "Kulira" while Los Angeles duo With You give us the sublime "No Resistance". Each 1500 albums sold will feed a school of 500 forever! Support a great cause and feed your ears with some wonderful music while you're at it.
Review: As it approaches the end of its' first decade, Claremont 56 continues to lead the way when it comes to atmospheric, sun-kissed Balearica. This latest chunk of horizontal goodness comes courtesy of Essex-based Statues, a trio who caught label boss Paul 'Mudd' Murphy's attention after submitting a string of impressive demos. "Alaula" is a softly spun delight, with Grant Carruthers' impassioned vocals weaving themselves around alluring acoustic guitars, rich bass, twinkling Rhodes lines, and Robin Lee's immaculate cello parts. Murphy delivers the obligatory flipside remix, serving up a delay-laden dub built around intricate percussion, life-affirming pianos, and Lee's wonderful strings.
Review: Fresh from '78: Brazilian funk lothario Marcelo's first big single (which was never out on a 45 before)- and a peak track from his debut eponymous album from the same year - gets a timely revisit from the Steven J's reissue/edit imprint Pepite. With its subtle piano striking Q&A, wild bass runs and clam-tight guitar/drum groove, Marcelo calls his way through the jam as if everything is a chorus. With its layered vocals, it's gutsy call to action for any dancefloor. Steven's edit stretches out the instrumental bars and brings out focus on the staccato vocal hook with a rising sense of momentum. Two great sides, one dope 45.
Review: 'All Depends On You' is an intimate eight-and-a-half-minutes of yearning and pleading, generously dosed with the vocal styling's of the original Night Nurse himself. 'I Put My Trust' swaps religious for amorous devotion: musically it is more characteristically Wackies, reverberating but as crisp as a biscuit, stepping but spaced-out. Neither track appears on the LP.
Review: German house abstractionist Isolee makes a welcome return, surfacing on Pampa with his first new material since dropping his album Well Spent Youth on Koze's label back in 2011. Creative batteries recharged, Isolee is in familiar form on the three track Allowance 12"; the title track adopts his trademark bare bone approach with soothing lines of melodic intoxicants gently pulsing with intent over the soft edged house groove. This hypnotic opener hogs the A Side, leaving the chiming minimalist rhythmics of "You Could Do Your Memories" to duel for your attentions with the far too playful "Wobble".
Review: Originally prolific in the late 90s and back with a renewed sense of vigour in the past few years, Dan Piu's classic, widescreen vision of hardware techno captures the verve of the original Detroit blueprint while bringing a fresh, welcome energy to the genre. This drop on Common Dreams brims with the same head-swirling magic, especially on vividly rendered lead track "Halo City". "Falling Framework" has a more mellow veneer, but there's still so much playful detail bringing the track to life. "Akira 2171" has an old-skool sci fi quality balanced out by its linear sense of progression, and "Ilipsyon" takes things deeper into a wistful jack reminiscent of the spookiest Trax output.
Review: London's Soul Brother unit has been out of the picture for a little while, but you can always rest assured that the mythical Putney-based shop will come up with some solid reissue goodness. This time, the gold comes through a resurrection of Bill Harris' material, a legendary jazz trombonist who started his trade way back in the late 1950's. There's two versions of "Am I Hot Am I Cold" here, a short version for the dance, and a long version that delves deeper into the percussion, goes heavier on the drum breaks and lifts the track to higher grounds thanks to those prophetic vocals. A certified jazz-funk monster.
Das Ding - "Life Is A Tool In The Hands Of Strangers" (4:04)
DJ Overdose - "I See No Stars At Night" (4:16)
DJ Overdose - "Potje Freaken" (4:55)
Review: The Go Finger label has been digging into the undergrowth of synthwave sounds and deviant electro for a few years now, more recently graduating from the tape scene to put out EPs of leftfield electronic adventures on wax. This EP in particular is quite something, calling on the vintage talents of Das Ding in all their eerie, warped, pulsing, analogue refinement. "Conun Drum" is a curiously playful trip through noirish cityscapes by way of strobing lead lines and militaristic machine beats, while "Life Is A Tool In The Hands Of Strangers" takes a more uptempo approach without losing the bombast of their melodic arrangements. Dutch electro champ DJ Overdose steps up for the B side, dropping the overcast and creeping "I See No Stars At Night" and the dishevelled robot beatdown "Potje Freaken".
Review: Following rock solid entries from Ben Sims, Markus Suckut and Alan Fitzpatrick, Mosaic's Red Series continues apace in 2017 with a firing three-tracker from German scene stalwart Andre Kronert. "A Track Called Jinx" is a slow and nervy slice of bleepy techno that says a lot with the barest of ingredients. "The Bottom Line" is a more feisty concern, raising the tempo and the intensity without losing that loopy quality that shoots straight into the dark heart of the night. "Pressure Dub" represents the more experimental side of Kronert's output, using sparse materials to create a minimalist megalith.
Review: On their third album, Tiger & Woods have decided to flip the script a little, paying tribute to Italy's remote, rural clubs of the early 1980s. To do this, they've sampled up a wealth of material from Rome's boogie-inspired, Italo-disco era Full Time and Goodymusic labels and turned it into slow motion and mid-tempo gold. As a result, the album's eight tracks are altogether more sun-kissed and Balearic in feel than their electrofunk-inspired club jams of old, though this is no bad thing. In fact, there's an argument to suggest that "AOD" (it stands for Adult Oriented Dance apparently) is their most enjoyable and listenable album to date, with less reliance on heavyweight loop jams and more intricate musical touches. However you spin it, "AOD" is a glassy-eyed, loved up triumph.
Review: While Pheek may have been in operation for as long as anyone can remember within minimal house and techno, Cleymoore has been most productive more recently thanks to his Pluie/Noir label. Following on from last year's Seikou single on Xquisite, here Cleymoore and Pheek link up to deliver some densely packed, production rich jams that keep the spirit of mid-00s clicks and cuts alive. The beats themselves may be slender slices that carry the energy of the tracks, but it's all in the infinitesimal details in between that the true magic of this music comes alive.
Review: By now every vinyl enthusiast must be familiar with the Appointment crew. Founded by hardware enthusiasts Marieu, EMG, John Swing and Lucretio in early 2010, the four artists have been unleashing occasional live jams whenever they could meet up in the same city to thrash them out. To celebrate the Appointment label's tenth release, the team decided to issue their own individual versions of a single group production. Lucretio opts to transform it into stomping slowed-down gabber-rave, while Marieu takes an approach that's half broken beat, half ghetto house. John Swing's is possibly the most forthright of the lot, with a hip-house inspired version that slams hard, while EMG trades speed for sheer density, with a crunchy techno version that ploughs through all in its path.
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series continues its consistently rich vein of form with two more beautifully contrasting - and previously difficult to track down - Brazilian soul jazz fusions from the 70s. Side A is inhabited by one of the era's most interesting individuals. Infamously censored and eventually exiled, Taiguara's chaotic flute, guitar and piano arrangement is a tight weave of melodies, counter melodies and start dynamics. Flip for the classically soul-oriented "Deixa Eu Te Amar" will bright horns, brash drums and a bold vocal from Marisa Rossi. Pow.
Review: Emerging London artist Rommek has been steadily honing in on his own sound, as well as carving his way into the current techno scene. His extensive interest in sound design is embedded within the atmospheric, dynamic and textured tracks he produces. His debut on the London based label Weekend Circuit established his position on the scene. Since then, various releases have showcased his appeal 'through the combination of the energetic, gritty UK sound coalesced with deep and transcendental aspects.' Fall deep into the vortex on the powerful and tunneling "Arcane" (featuring classical violinist Aimee Mullen) the brooding and broken darkwave techno of "Forbidden" calls to mind British Murder Boys or Ancient Methods while "Archetype" goes for something more heady and hypnotic.
Review: Tom 'Dam Mantle' Marshallsay and Rich McMaster from Golden Teacher were first granted an outlet as General Ludd through Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter's Mister Saturday Night last year with the breathless pair of house burners that made up the Woo Ha 12". Since then the General has brought the Luddite house sound to Clan Destine, 10 Thousand Yen and Autonomous Africa among others and now lands back on the Mister for the keenly anticipated Are You Losing My Hearing? Another two-track exercise in 12" dynamism, the title cut finds GL in sprightly house mood with a rubbery feel not too dissimilar to Gerd's Geeeman output. Flip it over and "Moneychangers" veers off into more dystopian, heads down territory with some killer modular squiggles throughout.
Review: Sex Tags Mania chief Sotofett has had an ongoing friendship with Sydneysider Carlos Zarate, since appearing on the latter's Thug imprint with their collaborative Planetary Involvement EP back in 2016. Much like their previous outing, Arjun is another brazen tribute to the classic sounds of Detroit techno. From the classic hi-tech soul aesthetic of the title track with its celestial pads backed by bombastic electro-bass beats, plus sleazy G-funk leads. Speaking of which, the intergalactic funk of "Afroz" likewise gets its bass-heavy boom on, with melancholic strings and a wonky synth bass that's reminiscent of the Motor City's first wave - in particular Derrick May's Rhythim Is Rhythim releases.
Review: Two and a half years after the first mysterious Arktapes earth landing comes another from the unknown. Once again fully anonymous. Once again no title tracks included. Once again denting the techno landscape with its mischievous, hissing, jittering off-beat dubby playfulness. A total trip from the opening dubby ripples and funky Detroitian hi-hat twists of "Track 1" to the final shimmering echoes of the beatless wonder that is "Track 4".
Review: Chonk Mob familia Koma joins the gang at White Peach with this far-out four-piece that showcases his broadest and most considered range. "Arrival" sets the scene with big cinematic pads, arpeggiated pipes and a mood that gets deeper and darker the more you stride into it. "Missing Amsterdam", meanwhile, shows a calmer Koma as we mooch to poignant chimes in the most contemplative way. Finally, the bashy steel drum twister "Tasteful" plays the consummate pudding course as Koma and fellow Chonkster Rygby serve up the final course of this exceptional feast. Koma back soon.
Review: Another weighty slab of Ethiopian music history from Mr Bongo... First up is the hugely influential fusionist Mulatu Astatke with the Latin-meets-Afro jam "Assiyo Bellema". Loaded with frenetic guitars and mesmerising drum work from Frank Holder, this was actually recorded during Mulatu's time in London. Flip for an equally influential force in Ethiopian music: Soul Ekos Band affiliate Teshome Meteku with a more traditional local sound, Teshome's yearning insistent vocals wrap around the horns and tight drums like fog around a mountain. Captivating.
Review: Italian tech house producer Thomas Feriero aka Avatism presents his sixth outing for Vakant, which follows up the terrific Bad Summer EP for close comrades Clockwork on their Parachute imprint. The Milan based producer's sound has changed considerably from what he was doing a few years back, as heard on the sludgy and broken beats of "Ate-Up" and its brazen UK influence, while the industrial edged warehouse stomp of "Crisis Engine" lunges straight for the jugular. On the flip, Feriero dons his Maenad Veyl alias again for the snarling junglist stepper "Alex, Why?".
Review: Since announcing their debut album on UK institution Ninja Tune earlier this year, Irish duo Bicep present the first single from the album in the form of title track "Aura". Said to have been created via a series of accidents while experimenting with a new studio setup, the track finally came together through trial and error and here is the wonderful result. A dark and sexy serving of dancefloor drama featuring 'hands in the air' style vintage synth melodies, life affirming strings and immaculate drum programming. It is sure to be one of 'those' tracks you're going to be hearing a lot of in the latter part of 2017 and beyond.
Review: Boddhi Satva's highly tribalistic strain of house music has been at the top of our minds for a while, and riding high on our digging radars. This is because the artist has managed to tell his own story and detach himself from momentary scenes or fashions. Instead, tracks like "Ngnari Konon" use the house formula only as a backing rhythm, and with the help of Africa's Oumou Sangare, Satva produces what is more of a world music piece. The same goes for "Nankoumandjan", but "Benefit" strays closer to something like UK bassline thanks to its jump-up beat and r&b-style vocals by Omar, while "Fighting Spirit" is what you would call a classic 'bass house' joint, filled with gargling low-ends and plenty of sweet tribalism. Sick.
Review: Part of a series of releases on the legendary Basement, Shadow Cartel pay homage with a two part suite dedicated to the Blue Note school. Steppy, stark, spacious and icy, all attention is on the sub, moody atmosphere and minimal rhythmic elements working together. Pay attention: part two is where the drums perform magic tricks before your very ears.
Review: The Bahnsteig 23 crew are flying towards the end of the year with a salvo of essential wares from their established crew and new faces alike. Sweden's Albion Venables has been doing the business on labels such as Ambassador's Reception and Macadam Mambo for the past seven years, and his first turn on Bahnsteig doesn't disappoint. In a flurry of eclecticism, the mood veers from the bubbling kosmische tones of "En Trance" through to the schlocky funk of "Schwarzen Mer", mixing live band dynamics with quirky electronics and keeping the groove delightfully authentic. The diversity maintains on the flip as "City People" taps up a moody New York flavour and "Die Marinette Der Zeit" strikes a more classic funk note.
Review: In the space of a year Bahnsteig 23 has positioned itself as a label of note with a strong run of 12"s that draw on a rich spread of influences from cosmic disco to world music to provide a little more spice in your dancefloor selections. Portland's Elliot Thomas takes his Etbonz alias out for its first proper outing here after a split 7" with Dro Carey some years back. This single-sided jam serves to raise the intrigue around the project further still with its dense, organically enhanced production and dreamy atmosphere, keeping the tempo slow and simmering for the early part of the party.
Review: Aussie breaksmith oft spotted lurking under the alias Sean Thomas or T McAlister, Cop Envy brings the broken heat to Cry Baby for the label's second release. Two sides, two stories; "Balanced" is a woozy aquatic halftime affair with big blunderbuss drums and rich abyssal textures while "Leisure" brings the tempo down for a groove that digs right into the genus of the hardcore continuum. Rolling, iced but not without its machine funk warmth. Nothing to cry about here at all...
Review: Colonel Faat aka Rocky Dawuni is one of Ghana's few reggae artists to have made a name for themselves since the 90s. He is particularly hard to come by these days, but Austria's Agogo imprint clearly know how to get their links form around the globe, and this new tune is a peaceful ballad for purely positive vibes. "Balantije" is one of those tunes you can slap on in just about any scenario, spreading love and good will wherever and whenever, guided by a subtle ska off-beat; Mankoora's remix takes it to more danceable territories, adding in a layer of percussion and just the right amount of funk. Yes.
Review: Balearic disco maestro Max Essa has named his latest EP in honour of "Barkhan Dunes" - those wind created, crescent shaped sand dunes often found in deserts. Quite how this fits with the music on offer isn't explained, though the Balearic-minded music offered up is excellent. Check first "The Price You Pay (For Loving That Way)", an arpeggio-driven slab of sun-kissed nu-disco/Balearic house fusion rich in life-affirming Rhodes chords, twinkling synth lines and delay-laden saxophone solos. "Kites At Nemoto Beach" is a gently unfurling ambient soundscape full of drowsy vocal harmonies, while closing cut "Sundowning" sees Essa wrap glistening guitars and thickset synth bass around a bubbly mid-tempo drum machine rhythm.
Review: Those with a deep knowledge of Berlin's Ghanaian ex-pat "burger-highlife" scene may already be familiar with Lee Dodou, a singer who recorded a number of classic singles and albums during the 1980s as part of bands Georg Darko and Kantata. He retired from music in 1991, but has been persuaded to return to action by the Philophon team. This comeback single is pretty impressive all told, with A-side "Basa Basa" - a triumphantly celebratory chunk of 1960s "concert party" highlife rich in punchy horn lines and Dodou's full-throated vocals - being joined on the flipside by the slower, synth-laden "Sahara Akwantou". Brilliantly, the label describes this as "kraut-life" due to its unique (and rather good) fusion of highlife and German kosmiche.
Review: The 3rd Generation Band hail from Ghana, recording only six tracks in their time together, all for the Essiebons label and now Mr Bongo reissue these two super rare tracks. The life affirming Afro Rhythm & Blues of "Because Of Money" was also featured on Soundway's Ghana Soundz compilation previously. It was compiled by Andrew Edwards. The band was formed in the late 70's by leader Rockson, a soldier at the time. The original record is extremely rare and this reissue is a replica 7", including the original picture paper sleeve that was carefully restored by Andrew Edwards. B side track "Obi Ye Saa Wui" is African style soul-funk, very influenced by James Brown.