Review: Banderas are that most rare of beasts: an eleven-piece salsa band from Japan. While they've been active for a while, their recorded output has been limited, to say the least. The two tracks featured on this tasty 7" were first featured on the band's 2016 debut release, which was never released outside of Japan. It's undoubtedly great that they're finally available to a wider audience, because both are potent dancefloor workouts. With its atmospheric, "barrio atmosphere" opening, jaunty piano build-up, punchy horns, sing-along Cuban style vocals and scorching salsa rhythms, A-side "Tema De Banderas" is particularly effective. That said, bustling B-side "Banderas Mambo", with its heavier rhythms and rousing mambo horn lines, is also pretty darn hot.
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: Matasuna Records' latest release offers up two sought-after tracks from Bossa 70, a relatively short-lived Peruvian band whose ultra-limited 1970 releases (a total of 400 copies were pressed of their sole single and eponymous debut album) brilliantly joined the dots between jazz, bossa, soul and funk. Listening to these cuts for the first time, it's easy to see why Matasuna has gone to the trouble of licensing them: A-side "Si Voce Pensa" is an inspired Peruvian funk cover of a 1968 Roberto Carlos track rich in bustling breakbeats, punchy horns and confident female vocals. Just as potent is the band's flipside cover of Baden Powell's "Berimbau", which puts a funk-soul twist on a certified bossa-nova classic.
Review: David Hanke has only just started releasing music under the Dem Juju Poets moniker, and already he's managed to instil a very clear direction in terms of sound aesthetic and creative direction. This new two-tracker for the emergent Matasuna label is full of joie de vivre, with the opening tune "Barabara" managing to blend the best elements of funk, high-life, afrobeat, and generally coming up with a tune that's just so damn easy to dance to. "People's Republic", the flipside track, is a horn-led groover, another slice of worldly funk back by a bumpy, positive tribalistic tone that we instantly associate to the dance floor. Excellent stuff - let's keep it coming!
Review: David Hanke is a man known for his wild and illustrious array of aliases. Through the years, he's appeared under the names Black Soyls, Madball Scientists, Mankoora and Rengades Of Jazz, among many others. Dem Juju Poets is his latest creation and, needless to say, it is perhaps his most accomplished and mature project to date. We don't want to take anything away from his previous productions but there's just something utterly fluid about this latest reincarnation. Matasuna is the new label to launch this new Liberated Thoughts LP, and we're sure this will go down a storm with all the jazz-funk crew, particularly the followers of Giles Peterson's DJ sound. Hanke's approach is playful and diverse, branching out into all sorts of jazzy vibrations that are tied together by funky, off-kilter outernational vibes. Plenty of breaks, bass bumps, and party moves for all sorts of vinyl playaz - oh boy, check those horns on the masterful "People's Republic"!
Review: Matasuna's latest must-have release comes courtesy of Dubben, an artist whose tasty, dub-fired mid-2000s reworks of Afro-Cuban and Latin tracks remain some of G.A.M.M.'s most potent moments. This is the producer's first release of any sort for nearly five years and continues in a similar vein. Check first A-side "Jesus Boogie", a samba-soaked, dub-funk fuelled revision of what sounds like a mid-1970s Brazilian MPB workout. Sweatier flavours are provided on B-side cut "Cachaca", where he dubs out and tools up a punchy affair that boasts a killer horn part reminiscent of The Champs classic "Tequila".
Review: For their latest release, Matasuna Records has put away their re-editing scalpel and instead decided to serve up two obscure old gems by Peru-based Argentine artist Enrique Lynch. Both tracks were recorded in the early 1970s and have become sought-after items amongst the Afro-Tropical collecting community. Having been re-mastered from the original master tapes, A-side "African Bump" - a jazzy, sun-soaked affair notable for its fantastic use of wah-wah guitar, Blaxploitation grooves and high-register horn solos - sounds better than ever before. The same could be said for Lynch's brilliant cover of The Nite-Liters' funk classic "K-Jee", which adds a little South American sunshine to the familiar grooves and celebrated horn lines.
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: Founded in 1967 by singer/producer Carlos Oliva and other Cuban immigrants to the United States, Los Sobrinos del Juez were briefly one of the leading protagonists of the turn-of-the-'70s "Miami Sound" - a humid and intoxicating fusion of blues, rock, funk and dancefloor-focused Latin sounds. Their 1974 debut single "Harina De Maiz" - here reissued for the first time since - is a perfect example of that short lived style, offering up a mixture of wah-wah-guitar and psychedelic organ-powered Latin funk grooves and righteous Cuban vocals. On this edition it comes backed by the previously unheard "Corned Beef Hash", a swinging Latin-jazz number rich in vibraphone solos, jaunty piano riffs and plenty of hip-wiggling percussion.
Review: Having previously excelled at crafting party-starting bootleg funk remixes and composing revivalist soul slammers, Mr Bird has now decided to turn his attention to Afro-disco, Afro-funk and Afro-soul. Typically, the results are impressive, particularly "Dance Away", a hybrid Afro-disco/Afro-soul workout featuring the fine vocals of Chief Commander Yaaba. Elsewhere, he lays down a subtly housed-up take on Clavinet-happy Afro-funk (the superb, jazz-funk tinged "Floating Funk"), brilliantly breaks up the beats on the woozy, groovy and bustling "Carnival Beat", and lays blissful vocal harmonies over a sumptuous deep house beat on "The Sasquatch".
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.