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: Disco Dub Band's "For The Love of Money", a one-off collaboration between producer Davitt Sigerson and reggae musician Mike Dorane, has long been considered something of a classic by those who like their disco to come with a big dose of dub-wise flavour. Here the instrumental O'Jays cover, which originally appeared on the Movers label in 1976, is given the remix treatment by long-time fans Mr Bongo. The superb A-side, in which Dorane's instrumental talents take centre stage, naturally comes accompanied by the frequently played Dub interpretation, a typically wild and bass-heavy affair that sounds like it was mixed "live" in one take in true Lee Perry/King Tubby style. If it's not already in your collection, it should be.
Andrew Weatherall's A Shrub From Outer Space (8:06)
I See You In The Shrubs (Donald Dust Other Thumper) (5:50)
Review: Eyes of Others is an Edinburgh-based producer who claims to make "post pub, couldn't get in the club music". Having previously released on chugging psych-disco specialists Nein, "I See You In The Shrubs" marks the producer's first outing on Paradise Palms. On the A-side you'll find his 12" Mix, where half spoken/half sung, Arab Strap style vocals drift across a trippy soundscape built around lo-fi drum machine rhythms, bubbly analogue synth-bass and just the right amount of blazed, out-there electronic noises. The top revision comes from the mighty Andrew Weatherall, who reaches for the heavy dub bass, languid live drums and exotic, cascading electronic melodies. To complete the package, Donald Dust re-imagines "I See You In The Shrubs" as an Italo-disco influenced nu-disco throb-job.
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
Review: Four years deep into its disco, beatdown and edit adventures, Smokecloud's status is nigh-on impeccable. Here we find them uniting four of their most creative craftsmen for four straight-up dancefloor pacifiers. Highlights include the sludgy slo-mo Edwin Starr on acid flavoured "Caught Up" and the Diana Ross homage that is the sun-skanked reggae party jam "CC Tribute" by VinylAddicted & SMQ. Instant smiles.
Review: Timmy Thomas, sometimes known as The Magician, frequently regarded as one of the most sampled men beyond the Brown franchise, he's been referenced by everyone from Drake to Dilla to MC Hammer. Here we find two of his most well known cuts, both taken from his 1972 album, Why Can't We Live Together. There's a wry cosmic sheen weaving and shimmering in the background of the soaking wet Afrofunk groove of "Africano" while the keys of "Why Can't We Live Together" instantly hit with a soul you've heard, felt and loved in so many contexts. Certified classic.
Review: Isle Of Jura's latest must-have reissue isn't a slept-on Balearic gem, but rather a turn-of-the-'80s disco-boogie classic from sadly departed Nigerian musician Harry Mosco. Many may know the breezy Afro/disco/funk fusion of opener "Sexy Dancer" and the hazy disco-funk genius of "Step On" (both have been reissued in the past), yet it's the lesser-known cuts - particularly the lolloping, Clavinet-heavy dub disco of "Peace & Harmony", spaced-out "Peaceful Dub" and sumptuous jazz-funk slow jam "Do It Together" - that really set the pulse racing. The reissue sounds superb, too, thanks to a killer re-mastering job, so it's no stretch to suggest that it's worth picking this version up rather than tracking down an original pressing.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: As far as collaborative delights go, this really takes the cake. Miami boogie wildcard Noel Williams, aka King Sporty, throwing it down heavy with legendary Jamaican reggae axe man Ernest Ranglin - as you might expect, the results are incendiary. "Soft Touch" has a hint of the cosmic about it as it romps through insanely catchy chorus chants, stirring brass stabs and Ranglin's sweet licks. "Keep On Dancing" has a more uptempo feel, "In The Rain" slips into a laid back reggae skank and "Be What You Want To Be" turns the vintage disco heat back up. Throughout this wonderful mini LP, the duo switch between each other's strengths and bring out the best in each other, like all good collaborations should.