Review: Tribal, physical, psychedelic: Joe Claussell's Bolla project is one of his finest creative accomplishments for many fans, and his album Afrikan Basement: Makussa is the gift that keeps on giving. Having previously leaked limited 12"s, Joe's label Sacred Rhythm does it again with another super-limited, one-sided press. Hooky, insistent and far-out for the full 10 minutes, this is shaman material right here. Do not sleep.
Review: LA 12-piece Jungle Fire live up to their name, being dedicated to the roots. The band's fusion of firesome Afrobeat and blisteringly tight traditional funk is wholly authentic, fully physical and ultimately arresting. From the gradual development and cinematic narrative of the title track to heavier, sweaty jams such as their Fela cover "Comencemos" via more laid back introspective funk such as "Chalupa" and "Snake Pit", this is what a band who know exactly what they're doing sounds like. And it sounds amazing.
Review: There's a slightly different feel to the latest instalment of the fantastic "Africa Airways" compilation series. While previous instalments have largely focused on heavy Afro-funk and Afro-soul, this fifth edition showcases material recorded during the disco and boogie era (1976-82). The ten included tracks are superb, with highlights including the fuzzy, Clavinet-driven thrills of "Sweet Sidney (Edit)" by Black Bells Group, the heavy grooves and dancing synth lines of Gyedu Blay Ambolley's "Highlife", the spacey Afro-boogie badness of Fotso's "French Girl" and the flash-fried disco-funk celebration that is Jide Obe's spacey, Moog-sporting "Too Young". As the old cliche goes, this is all killer and no filler.
Review: This official reissue of Arthur Verocai's classic self-titled album from 1972 sounds very much like the epitome of a labour of love for Mr Bongo. The press release states the Brighton-based jazz funk archivalists have had this album on top of their reissue hitlist and with the permission of Sir Arthur himself have come through with this official vinyl reissue in newly remastered form from the original Continental master tapes. Do we need to set the scene for this masterclass in long players from Verocai? The ten tracks bristle with sonic fusion, transcending genre to become something more than Brazilian jazz funk across its sublime 29 minutes. Alongside contributing musicians, Verocai invites the listener on a journey through Bossa nova, samba, jazz, MPB, psychedelics and funk. Tip!