Here`s my pick of 2017`s musical flight tickets to Africa and The Caribbean.
Blackbush Orchestra – Famiglia E.P. – Beauty & The Beat
The second release on Beauty & The Beat featured an genuine orchestra of players involved in raw, hypnotic grooves and near a cappella ambience. Kay Suzuki`s remix took them – via Detroit – into outer space.
Makadem & Behr – Nyako – On The Corner
Just one of many to pick from On The Corner. A truly unique label that fosters new talent. Supporting and releasing music that exists on on the boundaries of past / future, world / Jazz. Victoria Topping`s accompanying artwork is always amazing. Here Makadem`s traditional Benga Nyatiti refrain gets versioned for discerning modern dancers.
Senyaka – Don`t Judge Me Bad – Rush Hour
South African House-Not-House originally released on cassette in 1993. Both sides of this are great, and I`ve had a whole lot of fun this year, toying with EQs, bolstering their Rock guitar solos for busy dance floors. The hook on Don`t Judge Me Bad had me wondering if it was the inspiration for Voilaaa`s smash from last year, Spies Are Watching Me.
Burnin Beat – Searchin – Afrosynth
A Harvey-endorsed slow-burner from 1979. A combination of (appropriately) crazy synths, great guitars, rolling pianos, and obsessive vocals. “Desire, you`re driving me mad.”
Larry Maluma & Kalimba – Kamusale – Spacetalk
Just one of the tunes I rinsed from Jeremy Spellacy`s Crown Ruler Sound compilation. See also Brother Resistance`s Can I Get A witness, Feladey`s Forest Music, and Legacy`s Monday Blues. This track was originally released in 1990, and only in Australia (I think). Big with the Red Light Massive and my old mate, Qpchan.
Eko Roosevelt – Bowa’a Mba Ngèbè – Africa Seven
Taken from another great Afro compilation, Africa Seven`s Africa Airways Four: Disco Funk Touchdown 1976-1983. This is my favourite – bright and optimistic – but again also check Charly Kingson`s synth-y Nimele Bolo, and Kemayo`s arms-in-air, Lamont Dozier piano vamp, Biram.
Om Alec Khaoli – Say You Love Me – Awesome Tapes From Africa
An infectious, Gospel-tinged, south african Pop sing-a-long, originally from 1985.
Bro Valentino – Stay Up Zimbabwe – Analog Africa
A silk-screened limited repress from 1978. Where smart lyrics and extended arrangements stir up revolution in the neighbourhood-news-broadcasting tradition of Calypso.
Siassia & Tokobina – Pointe Noire – Nouvelle Ambiance
A Congolese highlife veteran teams up with a Roots band in Paris and launches Sofrito`s new off-shoot.
Robert Helms – Feet On The Ground – Betino`s Records
A super funky short reissued from 1980, that`s worked for me in Tokyo every time I`ve played it. On the flip there`s the extended Afro Disco of Sekele I Like It (A Leo Mas favourite).
Shina Williams & His African Percussionists – Agboju Logun – Strut
An essential reissue initially released by Rough Trade in 1984. This has to be one of THE top ten Afro grooves. With that nagging, hypnotic guitar riff, it`s instantly irresistible. It suffers, perhaps from having appeared on quite a few comps, and having been boot-ed a number of times, but the legit Strut 12 includes the African Dances LP version. Which I`d never heard before.