Review: For a brief period between 1968 and 1975, Peruvian band Black Sugar recorded some seriously heavy fusions of soul, rock and jazz. It's because of this that both of their self-titled albums now exchange hands for eye-watering sums online, as does their 1971 debut single "Viajecito". Helpfully, Matasuna Records has done a deal to reissue the latter. The track itself remains a rare treat; a gloriously sunny, horn-heavy fusion of Latin jazz rhythms, spacey sounds, jaunty group vocals and twinkling pianos. B-side "Too Late", a sumptuous, boogaloo-sounding soul number in which the group sings in English over a Blackbyrds-esque backing track, is similarly impressive.
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: Matsuna Records' latest batch of Afro-Tropical reworks come courtesy of Kill Emil, a sometime hip-hop producer from Athens who has been delivering killer cuts for the best part of a decade. First up is "Matata", a mid-tempo Afro-Latin stepper in which our Greek hero wraps breezy, delay-laden vocal snippets, ear-catching horn lines and rhythmical guitar riffs around his own punchy, off-kilter MPC beats. Over on side B, Kill Emil gets even more tropical, brilliantly fusing chopped and looped sections of a vintage NYC salsa jam with toe-tapping, head-nodding hip-hop style beats fresh from his trusted beat-box. Like all good salsa jams, it comes complete with some seriously heavy brass.
Review: Sangre Joven were a Peruvian band operating mainly throughout the 70s and, along with plenty of their own original material, the outfit also worked on versions of American funk classics, such as this reinterpretation, from 1975, of Elkin & Nelson's "Samba Samba". "Zamba Zamba" adds more flavor and percussion to the already tropical groove, making it an ansolutely addictive rhythm to own and play out on the dancefloor! The Matasuna imprint have gone above and beyond with this reissue, however, as Voodoocuts gets an edit in - it becomes more dance-centric and beat-heavy compared to the original cut. A quintessentially unmissable funk belter!
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.