Review: In the early 1970s, a new musical art form emerged on the streets of Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago from the social unrest of the time. A group of young guys started to combine poetry with drumming and created the musical art form that is known today as Rapso. Lutalo 'Brother Resistance' Masimba was one of the pioneers of this movement and his 1987 anthem "Tonight Is de Night" receives a much-needed reissue here on Cree. There's much to enjoy on this 12" - we're particularly loving the groovy "Rapso Space Dub" and funky steel drum riddims of "Crucial Decision ('92 Version)". This is total spiritual life music.
Review: George and Glen Miller are undoubtedly best known for their West End Records released 1982 boogie-soul classic "Touch Your Life". They released plenty of other records that flitted between soca, reggae, disco, and - in the latter stages of their career - electrofunk. "Easing", which appeared at some point at the turn of the '80s on London label Third World, remains one of their most potent releases - and, in its original form at least, formidably hard to find. This Soundway reissue wisely replicates the track list of the original release, beginning with the title track - a deliciously percussive, musically intricate chunk of peak-time disco smothered in sharp, Afro-funk style horns and George and Glen Miller's lilting reggae-soul style vocals. The flipside "Version" strips out the vocals, allowing listeners to hear in greater detail the pair's impeccable arrangements and instrumentations (particularly the fine orchestration and rich groove).
Review: When Congolese musician Albert Siassia moved to Paris in the early 1980s, it wasn't long before he joined forces with a local reggae band that he re-christened Tokobina ("Let's Dance" in the Lingala language, fact fans). Together, they released a handful of inspired but now notoriously hard-to-find records, from which two of the tracks here are taken. There's "Mama Africa", an unashamedly positive dancefloor workout full of glistening, South African style guitars, dub disco grooves, bustling, rumba-influenced percussion and Siassia's headline-grabbing vocals, and "Pointe Noire", a superb chunk of new wave/Afro-disco fusion that's arguably even better than the EP's title track. The other two tracks have never before seen the light of day on any format, having been rescued from long forgotten demo cassettes. Of these, it's the Congolese reggae sweetness of "Sangi (Demo Mix)" that hits home hardest.A killer first release from a new label brought to you by one of the Sofrito Crew Hugo Mendes
Cooking Ugali (feat Oren Gerlitz, Blinky Bill & Iso)
Fica Atento! (feat Ikonoklasta)
La Vai Maria (feat Ikonoklasta)
Chat With Mr Ochieng (feat Nelly Ochieng)
Ceu (feat Francois & The Atlas Mountains)
Review: Soundway fans should be more than familiar with Pedro Coquenao's Batida project, with the Lisbon-based Kuduro fusionist dropping a killer self-titled LP on the label in 2012. Supplemented by several 12" releases, this has laid down the groundwork of a relationship between Coquenao and Soundway which was always likely to result in further releases, such as the album. Dois is a fourth Batida LP overall and find Coquenao at his most confident, retaining the feel of previous albums but widening the stylistic remit, working with guests and utilising more live instrumentation. Afro house, benga, semba are thrown into the mix along with Kuduro, whilst Coquenao slips in the odd Clash sample as well as referencing his heritage with Angolan movies and afro-beat tracks plundered for usage.
Review: From their Jeri Jeri roots, Hard Wax maverick Ernestus's Senegalese drum ensemble work elevated to Ndagga Rhythm Force in early 2015. Sprinkling our collections with beautiful cosmic dub tech ever since, the troupe bring the 12"s together for a full album adventure. From the instantly distinctive percussive layers and thin glimmers of highlife guitars on "Lamb Ji" to the intense rolling drums and yearning vocals of "Jigeen", climaxing with the hi-hat-snapping "Yermande", the detail, soul and richness of this project is near matchless.
Ruby Andrews - "You Made A Believer (Out Of Me)" (2:39)
Kalyanji Anandji - "Back Ground Music" (2:29)
Jake Wade & The Soul Searchers - "Searching For Soul" (part 1) (2:40)
Hot Butter & Soul - "ABC" (4:43)
Dick Walter - "Spooky Do" (1:33)
Roy Head - "She's About A Mover" (3:13)
Hot City Bump Band - "It's Just Begun" (2:53)
Val Merrall's Orchestra - "The Horse" (3:45)
Frank Pleyer Big Band - "Sally" (3:24)
Art & Ron - "Can't Stop Talkin" (2:55)
Johnny Griffith Inc - "Love Is Just A Word" (3:23)
The Generation Gap - "Family Affair" (2:40)
Tinga Stewart - "The Message" (2:55)
Jerzy Milian Orkiestra - "Gacek" (2:19)
John L Watson - "Rockin' Chair" (with White Mouse) (3:19)
The Alan Tew Orchestra - "Pink Panther" (3:39)
The Rias Orchestra Conducted By Helmuth Brandenburg - "Pru Urebu" (4:55)
Oscar Harris & The Twinkle Stars - "Twinkle Stars Boo Galoo" (live) (3:54)
Review: Magic happens when Mr Thing hits the crates. His ability to unearth recordings you're guaranteed to never have heard before, and join the dots in ways you'd never have thought before, his "Strange Breaks" series is legendary. Long since off-press, to celebrate their 20th anniversary BBE have repressed this seminal 2009 sophomore. From the turbo blues fusion of Roy Head and the speeding Mancini feels of Val Marrall's Orchestra to the more sedate, slinky funk of Johnny Griffith and sunny-side roots of Tinga Stewart, Mr Thing's odyssey remains as inciteful, intriguing and as full of treasure as it did seven years ago.
Florian Pellissier Quintet - "Valse Pour Helene" (3:58)
Robert Aaron - "Flow Like A River" (4:10)
Patchworks - "RIP With John Coltrane" (4:05)
DopeGems - "Journey To The Shore" (4:52)
Jacaranda Muse - "September Sun" (3:16)
The Rongetz Foundation - "Sam's Intro" (5:21)
Blundetto - "Voices" (feat Hindi Zahra) (3:14)
Baron Retif & Concepcion Perez - "Where's My Soul?" (4:28)
Anthony Joseph - "Our History" (6:01)
Guts - "Want It Back" (feat Patrice) (3:30)
Sly Johnson - "Womenarium" (4:43)
Tagi - "NT" (feat Geogia Anne Muldrow) (4:34)
Leron Thomas - "Don't You Know" (6:38)
Review: A decade of free-spirited jazz, soul, funk and all things in between, Parisian selectors Heavenly Sweetness bring together some of their favourite friends and most talented individuals for an all-out fusion session. Highlights include Anne Wirz's octave bending dulcets on "Mother Of The Future", the roaming trumpet and loose shuffle of Florian Pellissier Quintet's "Valse Pour Helene", Jacaranda Muse's barbed lament "September Sun" and the schoolyard sing-along hip-hop "Want It Back" from the hot-to-trot Guts. Here's to another 10 years...