Paraphrasing the Soul Sonic Force and sorting through today`s releases for tunes that could have graced Alfie & Leo`s Amnesia dance floor.
Focussing first on the new music, Andrea Benini`s Bacio Rubato, from his Drumphilia long-player on Agogo, has his percussion combine the Electro-Africa of Zazou / Bikaye / CY1 with the Psychedelic Africa of ON-U Sound.
There`s a final teaser from Flamingo Flame`s Simmer 12 – released on July 20th on Rogue Cat Sounds – the day before Rogue Cat`s Mind Fair hold their fourth annual garden party. The epic T-Kutt Dub emphasising both the track`s 80s Pop elements, and its debt to fellow Brummies, and local House legends, Electribe 101.
House proper comes in the form of Parkway Rhythm`s Broad St. Pressure. Music of chanted vocals, moody synths, and a solid TR-707, that harks after timeless dance floor fillers like Cultural Vibe`s Ma Foom Bey, and Visual`s The Music Got Me. Sides on Easy Street and Prelude that Tony Humphries might have spun at New Jersey`s Zanzibar. Tribal Pressure introduces Mediterranean piano and bass line. While Deep Pressure features the legend that was / is Boyd Jarvis. Parkway had made the track with Boyd in mind, and sent him the demo. Boyd responded by generously supplying some of his fancy finger work. The hypnotic interplay between the chants and Jarvis has class running all the way through it. Pressure Keys starts with a thunder clap and simply lets the master take the spotlight. Which he does with emotional aplomb. Made all the more poignant by his recent, premature passing.
The standout track on Juan Laya & Jorge Montiel`s Electropical E.P., Crie Sua Realidade, rides a mellower 4 / 4 into Cantoma / Copenema territory. Assisted by Barry White baritone, and fantastic Flamenco-esque picking.
Robin “Faze Action” Lee`s Groundwork E.P., under new alias, Shogone Deep, also sounds like its had a few heady “Noches Espanola”. Getting Giallo modular synths and Emperor Machines dancing to 1989 pianos. Again in the manner of one of Phil Mison`s recent Second Summer Of Love Tributes.
Phil and Robin will coincidently be joining Max Essa for Okinawa`s “Balearic Weekend”, on July 20-21. An event hosted in part by DJ Mizu-Ki, of Okinawa Delays, who was a guest of Ban Ban Ton Ton and The Remedy a little while ago.
Miskotom`s tumbling, sax-y, Hyena`s Laugh, finally hits shops – Ban Ban Ton Ton first covered the E.P. back last November – on Kenny Wisdom`s Pleasure Unit off-shoot, Pleasure Wave.
It was Kenny who tipped me off to the reissue of Chevalier Yannick`s Ecoute Le Son Du Soleil on Best Record Italy. The work of a Frenchman maybe not quite so eccentric as J.P. Masseria, but, on this evidence, close. As he raps with harmonised smurphs to suitably sunny Pop-Jazz backing. Known mainly for albums of jingles and sound effects, the instrumental mix here is almost Proto-House. Stripped-back and percussive, with a fine piano solo. Which leads me into the rest of this month`s new “old” music.
Similar in feel to Lithuania`s Miskotom is Karya`s Muz Ze Skla on Smiling C. A 12” restoration of a 45 from former Czechoslovakia. Its original 1991 release marked the dissolution of Communist rule, and state-run labels, such as Supraphon, relinquishing of control of the country`s music industry. In its remixed version it`s all romance. And cowbells.
Dominating my re-released and rescued selections this time out, though, are Mr. Bongo. Licensing the sophomore album from Los Angeles` The Sylvers. The Watts-based band consisting of nine family members, appearing on Soul Train, and topping the Billboard Top 100, in the wake of “Jacksonmania”. Their Sylvers II holds a host of favourites, of which We Can Make It If We Try, is just one, that vied for turntable space with the likes of I Want You Back and I Believe In Miracles at London`s 80s Soul & Funk revival nights. Their songs were written by eldest son, Leon, who was around twenty at the time, and went on to be an in-house producer for Solar Records. Polishing gems by The Whispers and Shalamar. While youngest son, Foster`s solo LP boasts the Dr. Dre-sampled, Rare Groove classic, Misdemeanour. Which even found its way on to Leo Mas` Amnesia play-lists.
Mr. Bongo also journey to Africa. First with Super Elcados` Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture. Party music from Nigeria, that like that Randolph Baker release on Kalita, brings its own crowd. Whooping and cheering and banging their tambourines. Its rhythms pre-dating, and predicting, modern Broken-beat Funk. Its horns aligning it with the no nonsense grooves of Maceo & The Macks. Guitar lines on its downtempo duets echoing Marvin Gaye`s Let`s Get It On. The record features a tribute to Murtala Mohammed, the country`s military leader, who was assassinated, after six months in power, in 1976. The year Togetherness Is Always A Good Venture was originally released.
Also from Nigeria is Tunde Mabadu`s Viva Disco. Which despite its cash-in title is really a set of Afro-Jazz. The title track in particular sporting damn fine bass line and brass.
Staying with Africa, but moving from West to South, DJ Okapi`s AfroSynth have a mini-compilation of songs by Ntombi Ndaba. Six hits of Bubblegum, from three of her four late `80s / early `90s LPs.
And African, by way of the musical melting pot that was `80s Paris, is Don Cherry`s impossibly funky, I Walk. A Disco-Not-Disco classic that I first heard nearly twenty years ago on Sean P and Dave Lee`s genre-defining compilation for Strut.
Wewantsounds have an expanded edition of its source LP, Sister Out Home Boy, in shops. A collaboration between Cherry, Parisian New Wavers, Ramuntcho Matta, and Elli Medeiros, and William Burroughs companion during his stay at The Beat Hotel – 9 Rue Gît-le-Cœur – Brion Gysin. Taping into street and Hip Hop culture, similar in spirit to Bill Laswell`s Celluloid imprint.
Foster Sylvers – Misdemeanor – Mr Bongo
The Sylvers – We Can Make It If We Try – Mr Bongo
Emilio Santiago – Bananeira – Far Out Recordings
Andrea Benini – Bacio Rubato – Agogo
Orquesta De Las Nubes – Ella No Ileva Gafas – Music From Memory
Flamingo Flame – Simmer (T-Kutt Dub) – Rogue Cat Sounds
Karya – Muz Ze Skla (Remix) – Smiling C
Miskotom – Hyena`s Laugh – Pleasure Unit
Tunde Mabadu – Viva Disco – Mr Bongo
Parkway Rhythm – Broad Street Pressure – Parkway
Chevalier Yannick – Ecoute Le Son Du Soleil (Dub) – Best Record Italy
Juan Laya & Jorge Montiel – Crie Sua Realidade – Imagenes
Ntombi Ndaba – Tomorrow – Afrosynth
Don Cherry – I Walk – Wewantsounds
Super Elcados – Tambourine Party – Mr Bongo
Shogone Deep – Groundwork – Faze Action Records