LET’S DO THE DISCO HI-LIFE!!
Yes, Mr Julius. Yes we will. That’s because this tune is exactly what us at Pangaea Disco are all about. Bass line smoother than butter? CHECK. Trumpets so glorious they could herald in the messiah? CHECK. Decent sax solo in the outro? NO YOU IGNORANT FOOL! This solo climaxes to head melting points and is definitely worth listening to the complete track for it. Of course, this is all accompanied by Orlando Julius’ soulful voice and some absolutely contagious backing vocals. A classic.
We would have loved to have seen this record being made. A massive group of Colombian musicians joined forces with the legendary Quantic to create a 42 strong assembly of players including everything from young hip-hop stars to 80 year old pianists. The result was Ondatropica, an album that never ceases to amaze in its variety and enjoyability. Fusing everything from funk, soul, dub, hip-hop and salsa – it even includes a Black Sabbath cover. With soaring horns, latin percussion and a dancing piano line, opener Tiene Sabor, Tiene Sazon will transport you to Colombia and have you shouting things you don’t understand in Spanish.
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.