Review: Long term advocates of JD Twitch's selecting skills will be very happy to see the appearance of this 10" featuring the Optimo man's edit of Amadou & Mariam. Originally made back in 2008, this edit has been a staple of JD Twitch sets and was intended to be released as part of the third volume of the superb charity focused Autonomous Africa series that was issued earlier this year. Licensing issues put the kibosh on those plans, but with the edit having belatedly been granted permission Twitch elected to issue it as one off 10" instead of waiting for volume 4 in 2015. As with the best edits, Twitch's amendments to the original version of "Ce N'est Pas Bon" are subtle and understated, adding little rhythmic elements that make it easier to slip into a DJ set and hypnotise minds. All proceeds will once again go to the Mtandika mission in Tanzania.
Review: On his previous albums for Favorite, Brazilian Lucas Arruda has proved adept at adapting a range of vintage sounds from his home country - most notably 1970s MPB, jazz-funk and jazz-fusion, as well as 1980s boogie - into tasty new songs. He's at it again on "Onda Nova", his first album for four years. This time round, he's added a little blue-eyed soul, AOR and West Coast jazz-rock flavour into the mix alongside his usual breezy blend of ear-catching Brazilian style (check, for example, the Michael McDonald-ish vibes of English language cut "What I'd Do For Love" and the guitar solo-laden smoothness of "Heaven's In Your Arms"). It's a blend that guarantees glassy-eyed and loved-up thrills throughout.
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: More Eddie Bo material in straight repress format from the Bo Sound vaults! It's another scorcher from 1970 right here, except that Eddie is joined by The Soul Finders across two parts of the majestic "We're Doing It (Thang)". The first cut is funky, laid-back and complete with a rolling guitar riff; the second joint sparks to life after a sublime entrance of broken percussion to form a deep and vibrant funk bomb with true grit.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !
Review: Theo Parrish's Wildheart imprint has seriously impressed since its first release last year. The label's aesthetic is simple: good music. While the previous two releases have featured established artists such as Tony Allen and Dego, this latest EP comes from Living Proof-member, Budgie. Having established himself as an eclectic selector up until now - his boogie-centred sets causing quite a stir on the dancefloor each time we've seen him play out - he comes through with his debut productions for the London-Detroit label. There's no real way to describe this release, where shreds of funk, hip-hop and soul are mashed up so tightly that they've grown a life of their own. In fact, when you hear it through, it almost sounds like one full track; a vibrant and grooving mass of crunchy beats, mesmerising harmonics and devious little samples. We're certainly looking forward to hearing Budgie's upcoming blends of neo-soul. Heartily recommended to fans of most cuts on Stones Throw or PPU.
Review: Another jewel for all the deep diggers out there produced by Calvin Arnold aka Billy Byrd - soul and funk singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer from Georgia, USA. "Lost In The Crowd" is a solid funk workout, featuring an intense rhythm and a powerful vocal. On the flip, there is a more chilled-out soul jam titled "Silly Kind Of Love" for the connoisseurs out there. Reissued due to public demand here on a nice great-sounding 45" by Vienna's always reliable Record Shack.
Review: Southern Italian sort Giovanni Damico has been in a good run of form of late, as anyone who picked up his recent EP on Lumberjacks in Hell with confirm. This retro-futurist three-track excursion is rather fine, too, with the White Rabbit Recordings founder brilliantly joining the dots between jaunty Afrobeat, rubbery boogie and spacey electrofunk. All three tracks boast classic Afro-funk guitars, with killer A-side "To Fela's People (featuring Villy)" also boasting punchy horns, tactile synth bass and some life-affirming hip-hop rhymes. Over on the flip, "Baba" is a more traditional Afrobeat workout - albeit with the addition of some mind-altering analogue bass and vintage synth flourishes - while "Afro Stomp" is a bouncy, Baldelli-inspired chunk of Afro-cosmic disco.