Best Record Italy presents a reissue of Model 11-29’s “Wot Times,” a particularly inspired work by the legendary Sangy that transforms “Rapper’s Delight” into a slice of Italo-balearic ecstasy. On the vocal version, drums sit between disco and electro as they boogie down to a breakdance beat, with greasy funk basslines slapping and sliding in support. Solar dub chords pulsate through anthemic pattens, pads blow across the mix like a warming ocean breeze, synth leads sparkle in coral colorations, and those classic Sugar Hill Gang lyrical flows are reconfigured into an ebullient spoken word rap, which is then morphed by futuristic fx and interspersed with shouts, grunts, and call-and-response chants. On the flip, the instrumental version walks with more of a sexual disco strut, resulting in a summertime seaside cruiser overflowing with dazzling synthesizer displays, as organ chords generate mirage visions, gemstone leads shimmer through swells of tropical mist, and acid-laced Italo pulsations work the spirit into euphoric beach dance hypnosis.
Athens Of The North get themselves in party mode with a fourth EP from East Coast Love Affair. There is some series fun to be had in these tracks, with side one. ‘Confrontations,’ being a rebuild of a rare disco funk 45 by Homegrown Syndrome. On the backside is ‘Shake’ which goes deeper but still has plenty of dance floor appear. It has tropical perc and whirring electronics that just scream ‘dance’ while the actual screaming vocal reminds of Moby classic ‘Go!’ These are hefty tunes, rare as you like, but immediately accessible and high impact.
First Word Records presents a brand new album from Kaidi Tatham. On ‘An Insight To All Minds’, Kaidi says it’s ”not about a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going. Nothing in this world can torment you as much as your own thoughts… We are all going through it. We can all feel what the next person is feeling, believe it or not. It’s learning how to tap into it”. The album is comprised of an assortment of Kaidi’s unique flavours – uptempo jazz-funk bruk, laced with rhodes, flutes, live bass and delicious percussion. Using that blueprint he moves effortlessly through latin and samba, half-step, deep afro house and a sprinkle of curveballs, all presented in Kaidi’s inimitable way.
Two and a half frenetic minutes that sound like Aphex Twin and The Incredible Bongo Band dancing Capoeira in the early hours of an illegal rave, somewhere in the deep amazon forest. After the success of his first solo 45, Alex Figueira comes back to the aesthetics of the early Fumaça Preta, with an utterly bonkers 45 that can only be described as an “in-your-face acid macumba techno breakbeat funk freakout.
After a long lockdown break, Delights label returns with a 7inch debut by Sapria – a spontaneous meeting of creative minds from Berlin and Jerusalem: Sun Ra Bullock (X.A. Cute/Edelfaul Records) and Markey Funk (Group Modular/Delights) – on keys, Itai Anker (Hynom/Andarta/Raash Records) – on bass, and Yadin Katz (The Turbans/YMKA) – on drums. Captured in their only studio session back in late 2018 – and finalized by Markey Funk two years later, the collective’s first release is an edgy drum-heavy horror-funk double-sider, largely inspired by classic late 70’s video nasties.
Sci-Fi and library funk specialists Eleven76 return with an otherworldly breakdance double-sider. Their debut album ‘Space Voyage’ for Warner’s music library covered extra-terrestrial spheres and found its way into many films, TV programmes and documentaries. The scarce promo vinyl copies on Mocambo Records are already priced collector’s items among DJs. This 45s contains two hot slices of insect-themed outernational grooves with tropical and arabian flavours. Vintage synthesizers and hot tape-recorded drums continue to lead Eleven76’s mystique travels through unknown funk territories, all while frenzied percussion-heavy break beats keep b-girls and b-boys moving on the floor.
Kaymany & Asestar hail from Rome, a city where many musicians spend most of their days producing sounds for the television industry and even shopping malls. That’s part of the reason the country has such a reparation for great jazz-funk sounds and now adding to that cannon are Kaymany & Asestar. ‘Effimera’ is glossy and feel good disco with retro future chords, while ‘Digressione’ has a Bob James style energy to it with its high speed funky bass and incidental chords. ‘Capao’ closes in Latin fashion with manic keys and more plucked and funky bass slaps making you shake every limb.
By the late 1960s, drummer Roy Porter had already worked with some of jazz’s true greats (Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie included), spent time in prison and weened himself off heavy drugs. It was at this point that he founded Roy Porter Sound Machine, a heavyweight jazz-funk combo with a penchant for raw rhythm and blues. The band’s 1971 debut LP, Jessica, is one of the most magnificent sets in his vast discography. Featuring sweaty, floor-ready rhythms from Porter, beefy bass, wild electric piano licks, fuzzy guitars and some fine brass arrangements, the album is as good a collection of jazz-funk/funk fusion tracks as you’re ever likely to hear.
Medical Records return to Italy to present the newest full-length album by Filippo Diana (alter ego of Joe Drive). Where as Joe Drive’s output is in the vein of techno, electro and house, Filippo Diana veers more in the direction of mutated library/soundtrack nu-disco. Consisting of eight tracks, join us on a journey as equally suited for progressive dance floors or the soundtrack to the deep recesses of the mind.
Late 70s italo rare groove reissued by Groovin Recordings.
Wamono A to Z Vol. II: Japanese Funk 1970-1977, selected by DJ Yoshizawa Dynamite & Chintam. Following the highly acclaimed Volume I, dig further into the Wamono sound – the cream of the Japanese jazz, funk, soul, rare groove and disco music developed throughout the years since the end of the sixties in Japan. Fully licensed Nippon Columbia and Victor Japan masters available for the first time outside of Japan, featuring rarities from Jiro Inagaki & Soul Media, Hiroshi Sato, Bread & Butter, Hatsumi Shibata, Fujio Tokita and more.
Official replica re-issue of a South African jazz-funk rarity from Teaspoon & The Waves. Released in 1977 on Soul Jazz Pop, a subsidiary label of Mavuthela Music Company / Gallo, Teaspoon & The Waves’ self-titled album is an absolute masterpiece. Best known for the song ‘Oh Yeh Soweto’, which is an astonishing adaptation of Lamont Dozier’s anthem ‘Going Back to My Roots’, this track has become a contemporary underground club classic in recent times and has been featured in sets from a cross-section of DJs. ‘Saturday Express’ is a jazz-funk/disco stomper which will soon be lighting up dancefloors again. ‘Wind and Fire’ is true afro-jazz-funk excellence, with great spacey synths and reggae-inspired guitar grooves riding throughout. The opener, ‘Friday Night’, also has a slightly reggae-tinged tropical groove, whilst ‘Got Me Tight’ finishes off the session with a feel-good jazz-funk workout that features cool, quirky, Patrick Adams-esque synths.
backtotheparty, focused on restructuring and representing, without compromising the original spirit. Three cuts as versatile as they are captivating, from a crunching acid-laden powerhouse to a jazz funk bomb, rounded off with a hip house flecked, percussive groover.
The German duo, First Touch, are back with a new 7′ release. The A Side features the banger ”You Got It Baby”, a revamped & boosted interpretation of the original version, previously released only on CD in 2009, and available for the 1st time on vinyl. This song really established the ”Modern Funk” sound, and solidified First Touch as pioneers of the movement. The B Side ”Crampjuice” oscillates between Funk & Electro vibes, with thumping drums and the classic First Touch aesthetics; refined and sophisticated grooves.
If Scan 7 rhymes with both Techno and House music, it’s on the deep and groovy side of this second genre that the artists decided to express themselves on House Of Underground. As It Should Be EP is composed of 4 tracks in a solar mood, which will undoubtedly move the dancefloor this summer.
Transient Visitor are Alex Cargill and Martin Jensen. Formed in March 2020 when most of Europe was deep in lockdown due to Covid-19, Alex and Martin decided that the music should still flow, thus forming Transient Visitor and setting out on a mission to record a collaborative album together-apart in Kent, UK, and Luxembourg on the continent. TV1 is the first instalment from this process. Eight tracks unlocked and now being released into an uncertain world in the humble hope that it might help bring smiles to ears. TV1 is dedicated to Ray Cargill (1951-2020), Alex’s father who sadly fell victim to Covid-19 and passed away earlier in the year.
For their first outing, new London-based reissue label Foam On A Wave resurface the remarkable debut album from one of the UK’s foremost artists of ‘ambient techno’, Ultramarine’s ‘Folk’. Like the surrealist collage of the sleeve designed by Benoît Hennebert, Ultramarine weave together unique instrumentation and sonic influences into rich, ethereal soundscapes, now fully remastered for its 30th anniversary. Conceived at a time when technology began reshaping the process of recording and production, the band’s interest in fusing the organic and the electronic is apparent, and one that has remained with them throughout their career. ‘Folk’ both sits apart from and serves as a precursor to the ‘pastoral techno’ sound Ultramarine went on to pioneer.
The Badge Époque Ensemble group came out with a surprise album on Telephone Explosion Records, the fittingly titled “Future, Past & Present”. A compilation of sorts, the album collects instrumental, alternate mix versions of all BÉE songs which originally featured guest vocalists. In practice this results in a pseudo-greatest-hits survey of the Ensemble’s catalogue to-date, touching on highlights from all three releases while emphasizing the group’s strength as versatile mood-conjurors. Where these songs once featured vocal heavyweights like Meg Remy, Jennifer Castle, James Baley and Dorothea Paas, they are now strung together instrumentally in a sequence which represents the purest distillation of BÉE’s collective musical chemistry to date.
Created in Brussels in 2015, Azmari is a weaving musical odyssey that expertly fuses ethiogroove, dub, psychfunk and eastern sounds. Azmari, literally “one who praises” in Amharic, is an Ethiopian singer-musician, comparable to the European bard or the West African griot often accompanied with a masenqo – one-stringed fiddle or krar – lyre, two traditional ethiopian instruments. The nine tracks that make up debut album ‘Sama’i’, released via Sdban UItra, is a deeply hypnotic experience where mesmerising rhythms and winding improvisations send the listener in to a higher state of consciousness. From the magical sax of album opener ‘Zegiyitwali’, to the dubby template of ‘Cosmic Masadani’ and joyous horns of ‘Kugler’, Azmari seamlessly blend African and oriental melodies with effortless precision, providing a fresh take on the ethiojazz sound. Elsewhere, the heavy, rhythmic sounds of ‘Tariq Al Sahara’ and the mystical and cosmological ‘Azalai’ continue our sacred journey full of raging saxes and wig-out percussion, while the free-spirited, trippy ‘Kadikoy’ coming in at nine minutes in duration, lends a trance-like quality to proceedings where psychedelic jazz meets afro-funk.
Spaced out Disco on the mutant offshoot from the Talking Drums crew. This inaugural edition comes from Basso, a Hamburg homie whose digging expertise is rivalled only by his scalpel skills and superb silliness. Dipping into the darkest corners of his ever-Growing Bins, Basso shines up a quartet of rediscovered delights for an edit EP which oozes grooves and off balance moves.