Next comes a funky little revision from Pangaea Disco resident Takao. He’s taken Bell’a Njoh’s masterpiece and made it into a bit of a monster by tightening it up with some thumping drums and letting the chorus really shine. Some proper club ready, feel good action coming at you from Cameroon.
We like to think that Ziad Rahbani, Lebanese composer and playwright, once stumbled across a Genie Lamp and one of his three wishes was, to one day compose a masterpiece that fused Western jazz and funk sounds with authentic Eastern melodies. Unlikely, you’re probably thinking. Nevertheless, in 1978 amidst the harsh Lebanese Civil War, Ziad travelled with his orchestra to Greece to record and press the magical “Abu Ali” with local drummers and guitarists. Ziad didn’t shy away from adding a sobering and truthful dimension to the finger-clicking groove of the first half of the track; the Middle Eastern flute (ney) cries out occasionally, reminding us of the pain and brutality subjected to Lebanon. The keys, synth, and sax combined with the bass guitar and buzuq really inject the jazz and funk into this joyful, political and innovative piece.
If you’re an Italo Disco addict already or if you don’t know much about it yet, then you’re in for a treat. This short Boiler Room documentary will give you a raw insight to where this beautiful genre originated, how it developed and how crucial it was for the birth of the pumping Chicago House scene. Cue up Shazam, there are a few hidden gems inside!
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride…
Ooooooh, this be nasty. From the opening drum break you expect this track to get you going and it doesn’t disappoint. The eruption into the guitar solo is 80s rock heaven, and these guitar licks have got more bite than a gecko with rabies. The drum break half-way through the track is accompanied by some phenomenal slap bass work – perhaps signifying a change, or some sort of mysterious progression in the song?
WRONG. Even more guitar solo. Rock on Tatsuro.
We fly far away from the grey grips of London to the sunny songs of Hawaii for this track. Aura, a family band consisting of eight siblings at its core, bring some absolutely gorgeous beach tones to the sound of soul. The songs is carried for the most part by the sad breakup lyrics, but are nicely juxtaposed with the funky bassline and huge trumpet stabs. And just you wait for the outro: pure, hawaiian, jazzy bliss.
The Apagaya Showband, and boy they used to show. Originating from Ghana, these guys brought to the fore their own blend of jazz, funk and highlife, with most of their releases including this one signed to the Essiebons imprint. The track itself was released in 1974, a huge precussion roller punctuated with an awesome Sax line played by Ebo Dadson. Listen out for the awesome keys and sax solos around the two minute mark. This one gets us every time.
God we’re loving the African vibes right now! Yéké Yéké is an absolute classic! It was released in 1987 as a 7” single from the Guinean singer’s third album. Not only did this tuneful delight explode across Africa, it became a European number-one the following year. It was the FIRST EVER African single to sell over a million copies! Get ready for some unbelievably catchy vocals and just listen to that kora harp.
Edit master The Reflex branches out a bit with some Ivory Coast action. This is a lively track. If it’s got one thing it’s EN-ER-GY. Like all of The Reflex’s revisions, this is mixed to perfection: gritty and packing a punch. It has some soulful saxophone and a mean bassline, but the percussion is really what drives the track along. Incessant hi-hats and some outstanding fills means this is a rollercoaster ride from start to finish. There are some nice climaxes as well when the production lets the saxophone wash out a bit and things get a bit dubby. One for the peak time.
This tune is alluring, enchanting, uplifting. Tropical marimba sounds accompany a laid-back beat, while the jazzy bass pushes this number forward. Smooth as hell, Letta’s soulful voice comfortingly echoes ‘down by the river’ amid an array of other soothing vocals. Press play, close your eyes, and sway yourself down to South Africa…
If you haven’t heard of Alma Negra, you’re in for a treat. The Swiss trio have been making some serious moves, gaining support from the likes of Nightmares on Wax, Gilles Peterson and Ben UFO to name but a few. This edit on Sofrito’s Sound of Capa Verde is a stand out to me with its upbeat Latin vibes. When that rip-roaring synth line comes in around the 30 second mark, things immediately heat up. No doubt, if you can get your hands on a copy, this record will set dance-floors on fire.