Winter is officially over but the Spring equinox was all but an afterthought amid this week’s unrelentingly grey drizzle. Help pacify those soggy ambitions for a sun-filled summer with some new wax courtesy of Jaxon, James and Josh, three of our most opinionated scribblers. This month’s selections include dusted-down afrobeat classics, Japanese cosmic funk re-issues and some killer dancefloor-ready gospel music.
Tony Allen & Africa 70 – Afro Disco Beat: Disco Afro Re-Edit Vol. 2 [Comet France]
Released: 08 March ’17
“Without Tony Allen, there would be no afrobeat.” Even all those years ago, Fela Kuti was certainly right! At 76 years of age, drumming legend Tony Allen shows no sign of slowing down. Currently residing in Paris, the Nigerian pioneer and previous leader of Fela Kuti’s Africa 70 has not ceased in adding to his gleaming discography. Increasingly aware of his own popularity on modern dancefloors, Allen has enjoyed a resurgence over the last few years with recent collaborators including Jeff Mills, Africaine 808 and a Boiler Room lecture with the MOBO award winning, Moses Boyd.
Out on Comet Records, the 12” release marks the second in a series that sees Allen’s classic cuts re-edited by contemporary electronic music producers. Hitting Allen’s seminal ‘Afro Disco Beat’, that can be found on the A-side, with some seriously spacey Moog sounds, Africaine 808 brings a modern aesthetic to an afrobeat classic.
Karizma & Marcel Vogel – The Deadpool EP [Lumberjacks in Hell]
Released: 20 March ’17
This one has been SLAYING dancefloors across the world for the last few months. Without dipping into EDM-esque “bro” language…this is is a real fist pumper. With a gospel sample that’s choppier than a sous chef on speed, Karizma’s 5-minute long ‘Work It Out’ is not only described as an ode to his “childhood and faith,” it is also guaranteed to add energy to any party and is without doubt a real DJ “get out of jail card.”
Marcel Vogel’s equally sample-heavy B-side also draws upon elements of Gospel as his 6-minute ‘I Got Jesus’ offers a more refined take on the congregational vocal aesthetic. Karizma then hits Vogel’s track with a heavy dub that doesn’t hold back on an added thump to bring it right back to the dancefloor.
Out on Lumberjacks In Hell, this 140 gram 12” vinyl is a must to keep the feet moving when the clock has struck past 12 bells.
Haruomi Hosono, Shigeru Suzuki & Tatsuro Yamashita – Pacific [Victory]
Released: 08 March ’17
Ride on a cosmic wave around the Pacific with Honsono, Suzuki and Yamashita! A highly sought after record getting a much needed repress, picture a funky 1978 Japanese Mac DeMarco crossed with a spaced-out Grover Washington Jr!
Music you can get utterly immersed in, the trio’s smooth funk explorations have found much acclaim among the YouTube diggers of today. Where this record would once have been confined to the dusty collections of those “in the know,” the popularity of digging through data files rather than record crates has thankfully introduced this LP to a whole new generation of music fans. At almost 40 years old, the 40-minute long album stands as a testament to some of the finest Japanese jazz-funk musicians to ever do it!
Project Pablo – Scented Trip [Spring Theory]
Release Date: 15 March ’17
With notable alumni including Avalon Emerson and Keito Sano, San Francisco-based label Spring Theory brings us some brand new Project Pablo.
The EP has the distinguishable feel of a Project Pablo production (say that 5 times faster). The opening track ‘Morning Shift’ showcases his signature percussion, along with soft horns reminiscent of his track ‘Closer’ if not the Zelda: Ocarina of Time Soundtrack. On the B-Side we have two harder hitting numbers ‘Jup Jup’ and ‘Smudge’, while both have techno undertones and are somewhat uncharacteristically pounding for Project Pablo tunes, they are nonetheless dancefloor treats.
Eli Escobar – Nightshade Edits Vol. 1 [Night People NYC]
Release Date: 09 March ’17
Native New Yorker Eli Escobar is back with his first release of the year on hometown label, Night People NYC. Eli has previously proven himself on labels such as Razor N Tape, and house heavyweights Nervous Records, and his newest release is of equally high quality. The release contains the usual array of Escobar tipped disco edits, with the opening track being an edit of Cher’s ‘Take Me Home’. The other four tracks each provide a strong, feel-good disco vibe, finely tuned for the discerning dancefloor.
Lucky Charmz – Seaside Greeting EP [Moody Germany]
Released: 15 March ’17
Possibly best know for appearing on the B-Side of the hugely hyped (…and frankly overplayed) ‘If Only I Could’ by Liem on Lehult Recordings, Lucky Charmz gives us a solo EP on Moody Records, Germany for their second release. Beginning on a house tip with ‘Ola Do Mar’, the EP moves through disco vibes with ‘Sweepy Hollow’, before dipping into some more downtempo electronic with ‘Got Away Clean’. The final two tracks of the EP are relaxing, slow burners combining cut up soul samples with hip-hop and down tempo vibes. All together the EP shows the versatility of Lucky Charmz in delivering dancefloor killers as well as slow relaxing grooves.
Talaboman (John Talabot & Axel Boman) The Night Land [R&S Records]
Released: 06 March ’17
Rich synth motifs and vivid, afro-infused drum programming have previously inspired the collaborative work of these two heavyweight producers. Boman’s Family Vacation, out on Studio Barnhus is a personal favourite in the Melodic Distraction studio and Talabot’s chugging house mixes have often found their way into our ears after one too many coffees and a spot of late night writing. Teaming up for their debut LP, after the release of their critically-acclaimed Sidereal EP, Talaboman deliver this 8-tracker tinged with warmth and patient sonic architecture.
‘Safe Changes’, the record’s lead single is a bold 5-minute burner that builds slowly with little regard for anything but its own meanderings. Soft pads and a shimmering synth tie it all together as the track swells and dissipates into a final vocal sample from 1982’s cult-classic Android. Vivid in its sound, The Night Land has been described by the pair as “two persons meeting and playing music, a Catalan and a Swede talking blip blop until we felt that we had something worth saying.” Worth it, it certainly was…
Bosq ft. Megan Doherty and Nicole Willis – Can’t Seem to Hide / Take Me There 12″ [Ubiquity]
Released: 17 March ’17
Ubiquity Records is one of those “instant-cop” labels. Anything that comes out of the California-based imprint is a guaranteed mover. From a record store on San Francisco’s infamous Haight Street out to the world, Ubiquity is one of the finest purveyors of soul-jazz, deep groove and breakbeats around. Having previously released two full-lengthers on the label; Bosq Y Orquesta de Madera (2013) & Celestial Strut (2015), Bosq returns with this smashing two-track EP. Receiving a straight 10/10 from Mixmag this release, featuring the ever-soulful Megan Doherty, has all the elements of a pure disco classic.
Catch this one being played out by the likes of Gilles Peterson, Craig Charles and many more!
Brian Bennett – Voyage: A Journey into Discoid Funk *Reissue* (Isle of Jura)
Blade Runner meets deep funk on this 1978 classic by The Shadows’, Brian Bennett. A highly-sought-after LP, Bennett’s near 40-minute long synth explorations are lauded by collectors, diggers and deejays far and wide. Remastered from the original tape recordings by Matt Colton, Bennett cites works such as George Lucas’ original Star Wars series and the music of Brian Eno as holding a powerful influence over his output during this time.
With the concept of astral travel in mind, Bennett set out to create a soundscape that he felt could accompany a journey from earth to an alien planet. Released during the height of the Punk era, the album was slammed by critics. Now revered as a classic work, light-years ahead of its time, Voyage masterfully combines rock, funk, disco and a galaxy of library sounds to create something that sounds just as fresh in 2017 as it did almost 40 years ago.
Tenorio Jr – Embalo *Reissue* [Mr Bongo]
Released: 24 March ’17
Another highly-sought-after cult classic getting a much needed repress; happy days! You will have undoubtedly head this record in your lifetime. Whether rare Brazilian piano jazz is your thing or you’re simply a fan of; Kaytranada, Floating Points or Gilles Peterson, you can all listen in the faith that this masterful pianist’s sounds will have touched your ears at some point in your musical lifetime. Known best for his frenzied yet wickedly short ‘Nebulosa’, Tenorio Jr. left just one album behind before he mysteriously vanished at the tender age of just 34. While on tour in Argentina, Tenorio left his hotel room to buy a pack of cigarettes and was never to be seen again. Touring during the first year of Jorge Rafael Videla dictatorship, it is considered that the musician fell victim to a case of mistaken identity – having been identified as a guerrilla fighter and kidnapped…presumed dead.
Nevertheless, his legacy has endured on the turntables of some iconic clubs, even getting a spin from Four Tet at the final ever Plastic People party. For any musical historian, this one is a must buy!