“Best thing I’ve put on the stereo in some time” – Marco Werman
The self-titled album from Ghanaian legend Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band is something of a reunion, re-uniting Thomas with past collaborators that include Ebo Taylor and Tony Allen. Brimming with authentic West African highlife and afro funk, the album highlight “Me Ho Asem” is streaming below.
From the album’s liner notes:
An “Africo” crossover style typical of early 1970s Accra in the style of Osibisa and Alhaji K Frimpong. It’s one of the most funky tracks on the album and features some superb harmonic and melodic touches. Thomas’s lyrics are defiant: “This is my life, my turn. You can talk about all my problems and dance in my misery. But it’s not going to be like that forever. You can talk all you want but things will always get better for me.”
The track features a yearning trumpet solo from another Ghanaian legend, Osei Tutu. Osei was a member of Hedzolleh Sounds and also played alongside Ebo and Pat in the Sweet Beans.
Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band is released June 16th on Strut. Pre-orders are available on iTunes, Amazon & the Strut Store.
Chicago’s Dance Mania Records set the standard for the lightning fast, hyper funky, sexualized strain of dance music known as Ghetto House in the 1990s. See DJ Deeon’s 1996 track “The Freaks” for an example of just how effective this combination can be for making a timeless dance floor weapon. If this one doesn’t get you out of your seat, you might need your pulse checked.
Our return to the Dance Mania vaults, Ghetto Madness is out January 26th on CD, 2LP, digital download, and streaming services.
iTunes • Amazon • Boomkat • Rough Trade
As the release of the Spirit Of Malombo release approaches (it’s not next week!) we have another track for you to hear, via Wax Poetics. ‘Abbey’s Body’ appeared on the 1966 Malompo Jazz LP. After the departure of Tabane, Cindi had taken on compositional duties for the group and all the tracks on Malompo Jazz were penned by the flautist.
Spirit of Malombo is out October 20th 2014. Pre-orders are available on iTunes, and the Strut Store.
Legendary Detroit house producer Mike Huckaby has already established his skill for editing classic Sun Ra material. With our compilation In The Orbit Of Ra out now, Huckaby has generously offered a new edit of one of the songs included on the collection. Here is take on “The Lady With The Golden Stockings” below.
Huckaby’s thoughts on his work with Sun Ra’s music:
As a Sun Ra fan, it has been a pleasure to be able to do an edit of Sun Ra material. Sometimes its more of a restoration project, than it is an opportunity to do an edit. In any case, the goal is always to preserve the original integrity, and direction of the song, while somehow making it appealing to an new and emerging fan base of listeners from the traditional school, and emerging electronic market. Sun Ra’s fan base, and listeners might be changing and expanding, but you can always expect the end result of my work to highly respect the integrity of the original version. My version emphasizes the flute and percussive parts in this song.
In the Orbit Of Ra is available now in your favorite record shop, as well as iTunes, Amazon, and the Strut Store.
Nigerian saxophone legend Orlando Julius’ collaboration with UK psychedelic jazz outfit The Heliocentrics is one of the most satisfying and progressive Afrobeat projects to come along in a while. The full album is due September 8th, but you can hear the lead track “Buje Buje” below.
The Jaiyede Afro album can be pre-ordered now on iTunes, with the track “Buje Buje” available instantly.
Orlando Julius on “Buje Buje:”
“My parents used to tell us stories, folk tales and there were a lot of different stories involving tortoises – they often made tortoises sound like human beings. There was one about a tortoise who had a farm and I always thought, ‘how could a tortoise have a farm?!’ This tortoise is working on his farm and a pretty lady is passing by. So, he cuts his foot with his cutlass and pretends that he is injured so that he can get her attention. The lady comes over and tries to help him and he says, ‘I can’t work with this cut. Could I climb on your back to go to get help?’ She agrees, he climbs on her back and she starts to walk. He says, ‘I’m too far up, could you push me further down your back?’ Finally, the lady realises that he is up to no good, she is very unhappy and tells him to find his own way. Once she has left, the tortoise continues to play this trick on other women.
“I made the story into a song and brought human nature into it – good people and bad people. The song teaches us not to copy something that is bad, fake or deceptive.”
One of the most interesting aspects of the music and time period covered on our Haiti Direct release is the sheer number of stylistic fusions that characterize Haiti’s music of the 60’s and 70’s. “Pile Ou Face,” by Les Loups Noirs, stands out with the notable influence of American soul music, and the lightly psychedelic elements of the guitar and organ make it especially unique.
From the liner notes:
Led by charismatic singer Gardner Lalanne, Les Loups Noirs (The Black Wolves) were extremely popular in the ’70s, touring extensively and recording across the Caribbean and in New York and Paris. “Pile Ou Face” (heads or tails) is an uncharacteristically experimental instrumental that layers saxophones and swirling organ over a rolling compas beat – a great demonstration of the way that the timbales and percussion sections of the big bands were being replaced by stripped-back cowbell and kick drum at the beginning of the ‘70s.
Haiti Direct, compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito, is out today (tomorrow in the US). Pick it up at fine music stores worldwide, or via the links below:
iTunes • Amazon • Strut Store
Super Jazz des Jeunes are an institution of Haitian music. Headed by saxophonist and arranger Réné St. Aude, they developed what they termed ‘Voudou Jazz’, blending traditional folk songs and rhythms with big band arrangements – something also promoted by the more uptown orchestra of Issa el Saieh. First coming together in the early 1940s, the Jazz des Jeunes were 20-year veterans when “Coté Moune Yo” was recorded and represent a side of Haitian music that pre-dates – and at the time opposed – the compas explosion.
Sung by Gerard Dupervil, “Coté Moune Yo” is a big band setting of a traditional Haitian folk song, adding the traditional vaksin to the line-up.
Haiti Direct: Big Band, Mini Jazz & Twoubadou Sounds, 1960-1978 comes out January 27th: Pre-order at iTunes • Amazon • Strut Store
The distinctive synth sound that kicks off DJ Funk’s “Original Video Clash: Vlideo Clash II” should be immediately familiar to fans of classic house music. They’ve been sampled, mixed, and remixed countless times. DJ Funk’s 1995 version is build from Lil’ Louis’ 1988 track “The Original Video Clash” (also released on Dance Mania) though a debate over Louis’ involvement in the original production continues to be fought on blogs and YouTube comment sections. We’re happy just to dance to Funk’s faster, bass’d up take on a true Chicago house classic.
Pre-Order Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1977 (Out February 10th):
The Caribbean is responsible for so much incredible music, it can be difficult to stay on top of it all. Haitian music in particular seems to have been broadly overlooked on a global scale. Our collection Haiti Direct (compiled by Hugo Mendez of Sofrito and out in January 2014) aims to offer an entry point to Haiti’s musical output of the 1960’s and 70’s, covering a variety of musical styles and interesting fusions. “Panno Caye Nan Bois Chêne,” by Les Fantaisistes de Carrefour, offers a glimpse at some of the music included in the collection.
From the album’s liner notes:
Founded by saxophonist Carmin Bichotte in the summer of 1967 in the Carrefour suburb of Port au Prince, Les Fantaisistes celebrated their more egalitarian roots and promoted themselves in opposition to the more uptown milieu of groups like Les Shleu Shleu, scoring numerous hits with lead singer Ricot Mazarin. The spaced-out “Panno Caye Nan Bois Chêne” – with vocals by Haitian singer and poet Ansy Derose – is taken from an album recorded whilst on tour in Guadeloupe in the early 70s and riffs on the local biguine rhythm to haunting effect.
Brenmar is one of the members of today’s vanguard of electronic music who makes sure to represent Chicago to the fullest. Though he’s currently based in Brooklyn, his Chicago roots show clearly in his productions, mixes and collaborations. He’s worked with DJ Rashad, remixed a DJ Deeon classic, and his mixes and live sets are heavy on Chicago sounds, from house to footwork to the drill rap scene.
On his latest mix for FACT, Brenmar traces the evolution of Chicago electronic music, and of course there’s a healthy portion of classics from the Dance Mania camp. The whole mix is a fantastic listen. Turn it up, and jack your big booty.
Our Dance Mania retrospective Hardcore Traxx will be available February 11th 2014.