In March 2014 I moved in a new flat , and ALL my records got mixed up in the process. What seemed like a disaster at the time actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as once I decided to listen each and every one of them I got quickly addicted to rediscover my collection. I was literally digging in my own house. It took me about 18 months to go through everything, filing every record on the shelves and in the discogs database (6007 and counting), getting rid of a few hundreds (only keeping the ones I love 100%), and more often than not taking a trip down memory lane.
Obviously though, in the midst of all that, it’s not like I stopped buying new music…au contraire! Discogs tells me I’ve acquired 269 (!) new records this year, meaning records that were released in 2015 (old or new, whatever format)! If I were to add all the second hand records I also bought on top of that while digging and do a bit of math, I believe I would come up to a scary amount of ££$$€€¥¥ spent exclusively on wax…a number which I’d rather not know to be honest! The vinyl junkie is indeed an addict – but a healthy one bien sûr.
2015 will not only be remembered as the year Beauty & the Beat celebrated its 10 years of spreading musical love across London, but also the year we took a step forward with our first piece of wax, and entered the scene with a bang. Ain’t no stopping us now, you’ve heard it here 🙂
It seems like every year we are told that vinyls are back on the scene (I for one haven’t noticed them going anywhere!); one sure thing is that there is some (very) good music released on a weekly basis, as good as ever. Take Soundspecies’ Balafon Jam for example, BATB’s very first release. We’ve pressed 500 copies (+ 30 TPs) and they were gone in a couple weeks. Like hotcakes. Obviously this was the best release of the year, and I could have included all 3 versions on my list below, but as we all know this already (Cosmo played Breakplus‘ version at the Loft, the Wolf Müller remix is being played by pretty much everyone, and Alex From Tokyo just put the original version on a forthcoming mix) I refrained from doing so.
Last but not least my love affair with Japan has continued to grow exponentially, with a stretch of 6 parties in 8 days back in September to be remembered. Yes you can party in style on a Monday night till 6am and end up a couple of hours later in Shinjuku’s station in the midst of morning rush hour on our way to bed…unreal. Unforgettable scenes out there, it’s a blessing to be invited every year, big up to Kei, Masuo, Ryota and all my Japanese family, and to Silvia and Evren for dancing with me, eating raw chicken liver with me, dancing some more, eating soba,…Music is love.
So, the best of 2015 in music…here we go.
If I had to choose a top 5, it could look like this (not in order of preference but in an order that makes sense if listening back to back). Note that there is only one survivor from the top 5 I did for Test Pressing a few weeks ago 😉
– Mark Barrott – Bush Society (NB: there was a lovely video on youtube that unfortunately doesn’t seem to be available anymore)
Mark Barrott has become the embodiement of everything balearic, and this epic tropical jungle house tune might well be his masterpiece yet. The perfect soundtrack to your trip down the amazon in search of the yakruna flower (a reference to my favourite film of the year, Embrace of the Serpent). “Saviours Or Savages?” on the B side is equally sublime, as is the whole of the Sketches From an Island 3 EP.
– Baptiste & Pierre Colleu – Virage
The journey through the jungle continues with this deep and mellow afro tinged tropical workout. The whole EP’s a winner, with also the Deep 88’s remix of Guam, a true gem reminiscing of Dream2Science.
– Dele Sosimi Afrobeat Orchestra – Too Much Information (Mr. Raoul K Transformation)
This one is a dance-floor bomb, an epic remix of Dele Sosimi’s Fela Tribute, 12 minutes of afro electronic groove during which Mr K intersperses the original horns and vocals with his deep electronics, taking you to a whole new plane of consciousness. Played at the right time, like it has been at the Loft and BATB, this is as uplifting as can be. On a less upfront but still full on afro tip, see also Mr Raoul K ‘s Break Your Chains And Return To Botswana, also out in 2015
– Mutado Pintado Presents Sworn Virgins – Michelle (Acid Arab Mix ft Shanbehzadeh Ensemble)
We’re getting seriously deep on this one, an afro electronic psychotropic trip released on Ivan Smagghe’s Les Disques de la Mort. I don’t know much about either Mutado Pintado or Acid Arab, but this certainly was one of the maddest records to come out last year. One for the heads.
– Maalem Mahmoud Ghania* & James Holden – Bania
As much as I like the -more straightforward- Floating Points production on the other side, the James Holden one was the real highlight of this 12″. The perfect mix of two parallel musical evolutions, original gnawa percussive trance music and modular synths improvisations, this was for me the freshest record of the year. To be heard on Klipshorns to get the full magic.
On top of those personal favorites, there was no Shaka Bundu or Corre Rimba this year, but still quite a few memorable ones as you can see in the list below, which includes a few edits though not many. Again compiled in a way that makes sense when listened back to back.
– Les Crocodiles – Tropique Ambi Sunrise
Both main cuts on this 12″ are great tributes to our favourite 90s Italo House records via Mr Fingers, especially the Acid Dub version, but I just love this ambient sunrise mix, which is the perfect soundtrack to, well, a sunrise on a tropical beach. No lying here. And a great opener for a long session ahead too.
– Shannon Harris – Kinetic Energy (Elektrix mix)
The sun has just about risen and we as well, warming up blissfully to the spacey sounds of Shannon Harris’ Elektrix mix, an update of his 2007 classic “Kinetic Energy”. We’re rolling from now on.
– Jacob Gurevitsch – Mapa De Soledad (Len Leise remix)
We’re staying in the tropics but more towards Colombia, with this little beauty by J. Gurevitsch, unearthed by the ever reliable Music for Dreams. Remixed by “man of the year” and balearic Oz don Len Leise (dig also “Asmat Images (Ambient Mix)” on Aficionado), this is a dream you won’t want to wake up from. “Mexican Margarita” on the flip is also majestic.
– 33.10.3402 – OM (A2)
Nenad Marković was already on top of my charts last year with the masterpiece “Weather”, and is now back under his 33.10.3402 alias, having released a serious EP of dreamy, percussive instrumentals that could have been in my top 5 easily. It took me a few listens to take it all in, but once I got it there was no way back. All tracks are favorites, but we’re staying in the tropics for now and entering the jungle, with Nenad as the shaman.
– Auntie Flo – “Waiting For A (Woman)” (feat Anbuley)
Our favourite Auntie is waiting for a woman and we’ll take a break too, while being hypnotised by Anbuley’s vocals and the oh so subtle arrangement and production of this tune, possibly his best ever.
– Zentash Gigawatt – Lost In The Jungle
Unsurprisingly we are lost but that is often the best way to make new discoveries – like this dub steppas nugget for instance. Found In The Desert on the B side of this lovely 10″ is also a treat .
– Lord Echo – Bohemian Idol (DJ Day‘s Chair-Bro remix)
Still skanking with this electro reggae soul remix of a Lord Echo’s classic from last year, where the delay runs wild. I’ve played this one a lot this year, as well as Lord Echo‘s own remix of Dj Day’s Land Of A Thousand Chances on the B side of this split 12″.
– Jose Padilla – Oceans Of The Moon (Wolf Müller Donkey Kong Beach Dub)
We’re back on the beach and still moving at a cool pace with the man called Jan Schulte who has been on a roll for a few years now. On top of turning out a fab remix of Balafon Jam, this was one one of the highlights of the year for me, a slo-mo afro balearic piece that is nothing short of a masterpiece.
– No Zu – Medusa Beat
Getting loose on some fun percussive grooves now, from Melbourne-based band leader Nicolaas Oogjes and his crew dedicated to the celebration of global rhythms and percussion. This EP, inspired by his recent marriage into a Greek family (his wife contributes spoken word to two tracks, including this one) and championed by Michael Ozone is packed with fun, well put-together percussive grooves that must be quite a treat hearing live. Hopefully around these shores soon!
– Tapes Meets The Drums Of Wareika Hill Sounds – Datura Mystic (dub
No rules apply and all limbs go wild on this intense nyabinghi dub, the result of the meeting of a typical deep roots grounation drumming session in Wareika Hill, Kingston, Jamaica, and producer Tapes from London…Thanks Honest Jon, pure dopeness!
– Africaine 808 – Rhythm Is All You Can Dance
The hips have now warmed up and we follow Africaine 808 with their best record yet, a modern afro electro monster straight outta…Berlin! Also a dope afro acid Wolf Müller remix on the flip. It’s a fact that no end-of-the-year chart would be complete without a Golf Channel release or two.
– Sergio Rizzolo‘s “Balearic Generation”
A bit of an interlude with this Balearic anthem, kids singing in Swedish about the joy of music apparently, discovered by the Wild Life crew in a Malmo flea market (so the story goes) and edited by Sergo Rizzolo. Released on the vol 8 of the Balearic Blah Blah series, this will put a smile on anyone’s face (ask Evren!)
– Rune Lindbæk – Norsk Trippin edits (Isogalsa)
This collection of edits was released late in the year, just on time to turn a few heads courtesy of this awesome Swahili jam, complete with tribal drums and mantra like chants. Super fresh, as always with Mr Lindbaek.
– Paraíso – Teu Sorriso (56 mix)
Time for a breather with this light and refreshing samba groove, the project of Ant Harrison (of Rhythm Plate fame, who would have thought?!), the 50th release of Paul Murphy’s Claremont 56. Here’s to the next 50!
– Elizio De Buzios – Tamanqueiro (Selvagem Edit)
Still in Brazil with possibly my most played record of the year, the irresistible Brazilian funk tune that is Tamanquiero, here slightly extended by Selvagem (and also by Mike Burns on the Legalize Lambada 12″ – see below). Edit not exactly needed, but at least this allowed us to own the tune, a sure fire party anthem.
– Convertion Feat. Leroy Burgess – Let’s Do It (A Louie Vega Interpretation)
Stuck on the floor with this Louie Vega re-recording of the Leroy Burgess boogie classic. François K played the equally great Dance Ritual version when Silvia and I saw him towards the end of March, a time when I was just about recovering from paratyphoid and still weak as an elderly, but boogieing down nonetheless. “Puttin’ my lovin’ where you are” (ma jolie) 😉
– Various – Eros 01x (Track 2)
The floor is getting crazy with this perfect (unidentified) disco edit, done the way it should be. A banger, simple.
– Voilaaa / Spies Are Watching Me
And onto one of the most fun tunes of the year, the afro disco project of veteran producer Patchworks. Anthem already. The B side of the 12″ is also a killer, and so I’m told about the album, out on Favorite Records, a label that keeps on giving.
– Jimi BAZZOUKA – So So Ye
Played just after midnight @ BATB on NYE (after Breakplus‘ remix of Balafon Jam), this is a killer edit of Amadou & Mariam – Se Te Djon Ye by Joakim under his Jimi Bazzouka moniker. Guaranteed to stay in my bag for a long long while!
– Dego & Kaidi – Moths in Wallets
On a jazzy pitched down breakbeat tip with west London heroes Dego & Kaidi, on their first release on Theo Parrish‘s Sound Signature. this is dance music in its purest form, such a pleasure to dance to. Big memories of watching Silvia get down to this as I played it for the first time in a Tourbillon.
– Admin – Flute Loops
Keeping it jazz, loose and jittery with Bristol’s producer Admin, which somehow reminds me of a KDJ production. One to watch!
– Mr Beatnik – Obsedian Morning
One of the original BATB alumni, my man of many talents Nick Wilson has released his more overtly dance-floor orientated 12″ this year, with the moody broken groove of Obsedian Morning being the highlight, peak time Co-Op business. After the refined deep house of the Synthetes trilogy, let’s see what comes out next from the Beatnick repertoire.
– Stump Valley – Oceans Refuse No River
Congas, machine funk, Italo house bassline and melodic pads come next with this magnifico release from the Italian duo’s double EP Magica Movida, apparently a tribute to cosmic original DJ Peppe. See also the balearic/adriatic beauty of Sunshine Hotel (same EP) and Caruso (from an ealier release).
– Jose Padilla – Lollipop (Dream2Science remix)
We’re entering deep house heaven with the master that is Dream2Science. Classic early 90s golden era sounds, I’ve played this everywhere. 2nd remix of a Jose Padilla tune in this list too.
– Hot Chip – Atomic Bomb (John Talabot remix)
Talabot has been rather quiet this year, but his remix of Hot Chip’s cover of William Onyeabor has been one of the tunes of the summer. Quite a bomb indeed.
– Ebo Taylor / Pat Thomas / Henrik Schwarz – Ene Nyame ‘A’ Mensuro
I’d lost track of H. Schwarz over the last couple of years, but here he’s back with a superb remix of Ebo Taylor, perfect material for him to play around with and already a BATB classic.
– Esa – Sabela De Cuba (Afro Synth Mix)
Still on a 4/4 beat with this ’88 reminiscing Balearic house cut from the Cuban chapter of Highlife World Series project by Auntie Flo and Esa. Sunny, tropical goodness, and always in my bag.
– Lauer – Gammelan
I am a sucker for the sound of gamelan in electronic music (see also Young Marco) and Lauer has been using it marvelously on this tech house gem, mysteriously hidden on his so so LP “Borndom“. Deep and hypnotic, just how we like it. Also out this year I loved Lauer’s remix of Khidja’s Looki.
– Dude Energy – Renee Running
Released at the beginning of January, this was the highlight of one of my tourbillons (yes I do listen back to them quite a lot) but somehow I always forget to play it out. Having just been reminded of it (this topped up up a few end-of-the-year charts) I will make sure this get corrected 😉
– Mogollar Cigrik (FOC Edits Rework)
Now onto one of my secret weapons (sic) of the year, a Turkish (nu) disco edit that builds and builds and turns heads everywhere. Killer.
– MMT – Sevmek Istiyorum
Staying on the same theme, this was huge in the summer and rightly so. The pressing is not great unfortunately, but when a groove is that good you gotta play it!
– Unknown Artist – Pedra Fala! ( Riccio Resturacao)
This seems to have surprisingly gone under the radar, but again this had summer written all over it and even in January it hasn’t left my bag yet. Brazilian motorik nu disco goodness!
– Beard In Dust – Karnaval
And since we’re in Brazil…it’s carnival time! Another one that was criminally slept over, but not by me. Massive weapon right there 😉
– Øyvind Morken – Jungelerotikk
It’s hot, humid, tropical and erotic, it’s got marimbas, it comes from Norway (!) and we can’t get enough of this lil’ 7″.
– Vangelis Katsoulis – Enigma (Young Marco Remix)
I loved the ethnic ambient original by Katsoulis, already released by Into The Light in 2014, and now Young Marco has added delicate drum patterns while keeping the psychedelic vibes and stunning melodies. An early morning favorite that blends perfectly with Jungelerotikk.
– Sombrero Galaxy – The Edge Of Space
We are now dancing with the planets, can’t be more cosmic than that! When Jonny Nash and Tako Reyenga decide to make music together (sadly only once every 5 years), this is what happens. More of that, please!
– Achterbahn D’Amour – Passagen (Convextion remix)
Convextion brings us into his trademark Basic Channel/Chain Reaction territory with this beautiful remix, an atmospheric electro dub remix of the Acid Test mainstays, perfect for the magic hours.
– Cherry Garcia – Vine Of Souls
Nicely high on love, music and apricots we are ready for the psychotropic meanderings of Vine of Souls (an obvious reference to ayahuasca), a tune that sounds like nothing else and a big coup (once again!) for Phil South’s Golf Channel. Both other cuts are equally fresh, a must have!
– Unloved – Guilty Of Love (Andrew Weatherall Vocal Mix)
It’s getting late and Andrew Weatherall drops the tempo with this stunning end-of-the-night dreamy electro pop remix. We’ve been very guilty indeed.
– Ryota OPP – Rain Jazz
OPP is my man from Tokyo, we’ve played together and hit it off in Japan before I invited him to stay with me in London. We both seem to enjoy the after party more, and Rain Jazz is a good reflection of that, deep, subtle and trippy. Released on Nick Williams’ Meda Fury.
– Linkwood – Ignorance Is Bliss (Healing Force Project remix)
Time for one more space jazz odyssey before going horizontal, with this incredible piece on Lindsay Todd’s ever excellent Firecracker label. Jazz on Mars!
– Studio Paradiso – Samurai Dreams
After the dance, lost in a samurai’s dream.
– Jonny Nash – Phantom Actors
Floating. Jonny is a modern ambient master and we never want to wake up.
I haven’t bought many albums this year, but here are the ones that stuck with me.
– Vakula – A Voyage To Arcturus
Vakula is a genius and everything he does deserves to be listened to properly. This album project is apparently inspired by David Lindsay’s 1920 sci-fi book of the same name. This is not one for the club, it’s more of a cosmic cinematic journey to Actarus through Vakula’s mind. Kraut-rock, psychedelia, ambient, psycho-active house, the man can do it all. It’s a trip that everyone should take; in fact the word “journey” seems to have been invented for Vakula.
– Lifted – 1 (Bell Slide)
Max D of Beautiful Swimmers called on some highly talented friends to contribute to this debut Lifted album, including Gigi Masin and Jordan GCZ amongst others. No rules apply to this project, it’s a freeform collaboration between idiosyncratic styles, sounding fresh and futuristic. As it’s quite experimental it might take a few listens, but it is really worth it. Best enjoyed at night with a couple of spliffs 😉
– Jaakko Eino Kalevi – Jaakko Eino Kalevi (Deeper Shadows and Double Talk)
Straight outta Finland comes this very accomplished first effort. As with the two LPs reviewed above, this music is extremely original and imaginative, and cannot be described easily. It’s got some indie pop influences but goes way beyond the genre. It’s dreamy and cosmic at the same time, a great listen from start to finish. Plus there is a bonus 7″ included in the package 🙂
– Various – W&LL Folk Vol. 1 (Tommy Awards – “Skogen Bortom” and Vaage Wasserfall – “7-Mils Stovler“)
From Finland to Sweden. I picked this one up quite randomly after a quick listen, and once at home I was fascinated by the depth and coherence of the whole album. Apparently the idea was for Woodsmen & Lady Log to let a few of their favorite artists interpret Swedish folk music. The result is stunning!
– Hama: Torodi
Electro synth from Niger anyone? Yes please! Who would have thought? Thanks Sahel Sounds once again for unearthing this gem (after Mamman Sani the previous year). Hama makes his hypnotic music at night after work on a Yamaha keyboard and the result is a masterpiece of electronic African music. Go dig!
– St Germain – St Germain
L’enfant prodige de la house à la française has come out of a 12 year hiatus (!). After the seminal deep house of “Boulevard” and jazzy house of “Tourist” and “Memento”, Ludovic Navarre has gone all Malian, directing a host of musicians and singers from the Paris diaspora. The production is superb, the album is a winner from start to finish (though “Family Tree” and “How Dare You” are the ones for me), clearly a labour of love.
– DJ Sotofett – Drippin’ For A Tripp
Already topping my charts last year (with his remix of Denaji‘s Wuhti), Sotofett is back with this time a full LP of goodness. From balearic ambient to afro house to percussive dub, everything he does is top quality. One of my most listened to records of the year, always in my bag, with especially Nondo doing some damage every time I play it. And, again, what a year for Honest Jon!
– Len Leise – Lingua Franca
Part of the mini album series initiated by International Feel boss Mark Barrott (with no less than Gatto Fritto, CFCF and Jan Schulte to follow!), Australian Leise weaves liquid tabla, shimmering bells, fluid bass and breathy sax around the metallic staccato of marimba and stiff drum machines. Organic, earthy pan global sound and polyrhythmic, multi-layered beauty, this could be one of the many possible definitions of Balearic 😉
As with previous years there was an impressive amount of quality reissues in 2015, more often than not lovingly packaged and properly remastered, and who am I to complain?
- Gigi Masin – Wind
Since the release of the “Talk to the Sea” retrospective on Music From Memory last year (topping my charts already), Gigi has been rightly celebrated as one of the original ambient masters. An original copy of his seminal album, “Wind” (which was never commercially available) was previously one of the most expensive records to be found on discogs; thankfully now the record has been remastered and reissued on his very own The Bear On The Moon Records for everyone to enjoy. I played it in its entirety at the end of a 10 hour session recently and it sounded absolutely mind blowing.
- Michal Turtle – Astral Decoy
Talking about Music From Memory, they have continued with their impeccable curating, starting with this super 12″ feat two masterpieces. “Astral Decoy” especially , a mix of electronics, xylophone, live percussion and quasi hip hop beats, reminds me of Larry Heard circa “Flight of the Cosmos“. That good! On the same label this year, seek also the Joel Graham release, again a lost electronic masterpiece from the early 80s.
- Tribo Massáhi – Estrelando Embaixador
One of the holy grail of Afro-Brazilian music (whose original copies fetched even more than the aforementioned Gigi album), this is a record that could be the very definition of what Beauty & the Beat stands for. Psychedelic party music of the highest order. Absolutely essential.
- Amara Touré – 1973 – 1980
The musical interaction between Cuba and West Africa has been well documented already with compilations like Congo to Cuba or The Latinization of West Africa, and artists like Gnonnas Pedro being the best examples coming to mind. The ever excellent reissue label Analog Africa has once again struck gold with this selection of singles from Guinean artist Amara Touré. The first record especially, which compiles singles released between 1973 and 1980 is faultless. Irresistible.
- Martin Dumas Jr – Attitude, Belief & Determination
Massive anthem alert! Soul music specialist and all round top man Zaf (of Reckless and Love Vinyl fame) managed one of the big coups of the year with the reissue of this forgotten Loft classic (that is how it sounds to my ears) on BBE. A little overplayed perhaps (it seems every single DJ coming to Brilliant Corners was playing this at some point, a bit like that Michael Boothman‘s What You Won’t Do For Love a couple years back) but the excitement is understandable. If played at the right time, the reaction of the crowd is a sight to behold, and it feels like we could listen to this for half an hour without getting bored (it is already 10min long)!
As with the new releases, I will list the rest of my fave reissues in an order not preferential, but which makes sense when listened back to back.
– Sam Carty / Lee Perry & The Upsetters – Milte Hi Ankhen / Happy Root
An essential Lee Perry production from the Return of the Super Ape sessions, now released for a first time in an alternate version on a fat 10″ by Black Art. No need to say more, this is absolutely essential for any discerning reggae roots lover out there.
– Maki Asakawa – Maki Asakawa
I am once again full of praise for Honest Jon for this fantastic retrospective of the Japanese singer Maki Asakawa (previously unknown to me). Exceptional material taken from a career of one of Japan’s finest singers that started in 1970. She had a cool, spine-tingling voice and a unique style, whose guiding desire “was to explore the possibilities of the slow blues in the late 20th century”. What a discovery.
– Savant – Artificial Dance
Again, this compilation of Seattle based Kerry Leimer’s music as Savant is all new to me, and all the better for it. “Savant would have no fixed lineup and often musicians would be asked to play instruments far outside their forté,” RVNG say. “Leimer would however give loose rhythmic direction for the musicians to develop spontaneously against click-tracks. When the performance locked in with Leimer listening at the controls, he’d capture it to tape.” Sonically, you can expect a sound collage style reminiscent of Brian Eno and David Byrne‘s My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts, so you know you’re in good hands!
Every year it seems there is more previously unheard of music from the late Patrick Cowley coming out. Forever associated with pioneering the euro disco sound of his association with Sylvester and Donna Summer, Cowley was living and breathing music and always experimenting with new equipment and ideas. After “School Daze” in 2013, Dark Entries & Honey Sound System have now released “Muscle Up” featuring material recorded for a number of different pornographic films (as always the packaging is X-rated) which show how eclectic his musical output actually was (listen to “The Jungle Dream” to get an idea!). And what a cosmic (demo) version of “Somebody to Love Tonight”!
– Ishinohana – Lucia
Chuggy aka Stuart Leath is a man on a mission, with no less than 3 labels under his direction, and impeccable tastes as always. Ishinohana was an offshoot of Finis Africae and Javier Bergia, and this album (“La Flor De Piedra“) is a beauty from start to finish. Percussions, guitars and easter melodies, balearic heaven. Can’t wait to hear what Stuart comes up with next (see also Carl and Carol Jacobs‘ Robot Jam as well as Laurel Aitken‘s Sexy Boogie, both reissued by Emotional Rescue in 2015)
– Heidy Tamme – Suvi ei jää
“Suivi” means summer in Estonian. All northern people long for summer during most of the year. But “summer doesn’t stay” (“suivi ei jää”). It’s all too brief, we’ve got to make the most of it.
– Super Mama Djombo – Pansau Na Isna
Guinea Bissau’s Mama Djombo have always been big favorites of BATB, what with Dissan Na M’Bera being one of the historical anthems of the party. After the reissue of “Festival” last year, here comes “Super Mama Djombo” from 1980, which contains the killer afro trance tune that is Pansau Na Isna.
– Nappy Mayers – Nappy Music Man
This compilation of Trinidadian musician, composer, arranger, producer and singer Nappy Mayers should fill a gap or two in quite a few wantlists, if only for the inclusion of Nadie La Fond‘s Hot For Your Love. Tropical funk goodness!
– Mike Lundy – The Rhythm Of Life
More tropical funk now, Hawaïan more precisely, with this lovely lil’ 7″ released by Aloha Got Soul. Guaranteed to bring joy to any discerning dance-floor.
– Marcos Valle – Estrelar
Onto some Brazilian funk with one of my most played tunes of the year. I’ve been after this Marcos Valle classic for many years but sadly the price of an original copy was too prohibitive. Luckily Mr Bongo came to the rescue (I bought 2 copies, just to make sure), continuing their essential series of Brazil 7″s in style (see also Plastic People’s Balance classic Azymuth’s Manhã, as well as Pete Dunaway‘s Supermercado)
– Jo Tongo – Piani
Tongo’s Afro Funk classic Piani was also a bit of a holy grail amongst connoisseurs, and we can all be grateful to Africa Seven for reissuing his first album (“Untitled”) where this is taken from. A bona fide sure fire!
– G. G. And Company – Thinking About You
From Afro to Electro but we’re still in (P)funk territory, of the highest order I must add. Peoples Potential Unlimited have been on a roll for a while, unearthing mainly 80s boogie/soul/funk nuggets, here remastered from the original tapes and sounding wholly fresh.
– Jeancy – U Turn Me On
Some Canadian disco sleaze from 1983 to follow, courtesy of the trend setters that are the Invisible City Edition boys (who did also a smashing gig at Brilliant Corners in the spring). I’ve played this a fair bit, anything sleazy I like 😉
– Junei – Let’s Ride
Another gem from PPU, I adore this late night soul, sensual boogie track.
– Miro – Safari of Love
Archeo Recordings, on a mission to reissue lost Italian disco/balearic classics, described “Safari of love” as “bloody unique, a true visionary oddity, filled with strange breaks, sound design, mumbling voices, crazy pre-acid echoes bouncing everywhere, and majestic, typically italian-OST strings and keyboards.” That is exactly what it is, full points!
– T.P.O. – Punk Inc. (Hiroshi’s Dub)
It’s been quite a year for early underground 90s Japanese house (!), with a couple of lovely and essential compilations of the little known scene. First we have the “Once Upon A Time In Japan” comp on the French label Les Disques Mystiques, where you can find a nectar of deep grooves and blissful melodies that form the blueprint of the Japanese house sound. Expect legends like Soichi Terada or Yukihiro Fukutomi as well as unsung heroes like Takecha, Magic Ware or Katsumi Hidano. Superb packaging as well.
– Soichi Terada – Do It Again
Japanese house legend Soichi Terada had his own retrospective on Rush Hour‘s Sounds From the Far East. The overall sound is very much inspired by early nineties US deep house; compiled with love by Hunee.
– DJ Rasoul – Let Me Love You
Simply one of my favorite vocal house cut of all time, I was so grateful for this repress as my original copy had been worn to death!
– Braden Schlager – On The Moon
From Japan to Australia but still in underground deep house mode we find Braden Schlager’s smooth and summery balearic vibe. Tip!
– Letta Mbulu – Normalizo
Yet another holy grail has finally seen the light of a proper reissue courtesy of the London based label Be With Records. The 1983 LP In the Music The Village Never Ends features a few nice cuts, but none as big as Normalizo. Again a tad overplayed but there’s no denying the class of this tune. No need to play the DJ Kent edit no more 😉
– Thundder – Moove Everything You’ve Got
We’re on the home straight and onto some early morning P-funk with this lil’ banger (previously unknown to me)
– Larry Young – Turn Off The Lights
And we will conclude the night with this all time favorite, a Larry Young masterpiece, Plastic People classic, now available on a 7″ thanks to soul/funk reissue specialists Athens of the North. Phew!
Every year there are a few records that I seem to be obsessed with, even records that I’ve known and played for a long time, and here are some of them:
- Codona – Mumakata
I’ve known and played this tune for years, but tried it once in an after party at home on Silvia’s request and we were all like “wow”. It quickly became known as “that Don Cherry tune” The space in the music! A collective improvisation led by Colin Walcott’s hammered dulcimer and Nana Vasconcelos’ hand percussion, with the master Don Cherry on the (heavenly!) trumpet coming in later on, this is trance music to send you straight to heaven.
- Sebastiao Tapajos / Pedro Dos Santos – Munganga
As soon I got hold of a copy (I’d been after one for years), arriving perfectly in sync with the beginning of the summer, this quickly became my most played record of the year. The whole album is a treat, but Munganga is the highlight, taking you totally by surprise after the jungle introduction, with its delicate acoustic guitar and percussion, and vocals and melodies to die for. I will never get tired of this.
- George Theodorakis – The Rules of the Game
This came out last year on a superb Into the Light reissue, and it’s been lingering in my head ever since. Makes me wanna go on a road trip across the Greek hills and valleys with this on a loop. This will happen! Also made me realise that I can sing in Greek perfectly 😉
- Dubtribe Sound System – No Puedo Estar Despierto
At Kieth Flack in Fukuoka, where I played for the 2nd time in September, DJ Nob dropped this bomb and we all wondered what happened! Gotta go to Japan to be schooled about Dubtribe! I’ve played it pretty much every time since, and people always ask about it. The definition of a banger.
- Marcel Vogel feat Milos & Gianna Tam – Doin’ It (Noema‘s Dirty Dubbing remix)
Classic Silvia Gin record right there, we’re both obsessed by it but nobody else seems to have noticed it when it came out in 2014 (apart from DJ Klas). Sounded big everywhere I played it, from Level 5 in Kanto, Japan, to the after hours lock-ins at Brilliant Corners. It’s a very well done (dirty dubbing indeed!) cover of a big disco fave of mine, Gwen McCrae’s Doin It