Various Artists - Republicafrobeat Vol. 2Love Monk
Compiled by DJ Floro, 'Republicafrobeat Vol. 2' further explores the sound of modern Afro-beat. From it's West African roots this music has truly spread worldwide particularly during the past decade and this disc draws together fine examples from Spain, France, US, UK and of course the motherland. 'Elephants' by Karl Denson & Tiny Universe featuring Fred Wesley, Raw Deal's 'Afro Rainbow', the Hi-Perspective Remix of Franck Biyong's 'Power Brain' featuring Wunmi and Bukky Leo's take on Timmy Thomas' 'Why Can't We Live Together' all hit the spot. Al Green is not a name you would normally associate with Afro-beat, but the rare 1989 Bwana Mix of his 1975 cut 'Love Ritual' works perfectly. This album is worth the purchase price for this track alone.
Andy Allen, 07/06
Various Artists - Revolucion! Original Cuban Funk Grooves 1967-1978Freestyle Records
One can only imagine the wealth of Cuban recordings that have been isolated from the rest of the world but thanks to Australian DJ and Cuban record collector Tom Wieland we now have a window to what lies within that rich musical culture. “Revolucion!” contains 12 hip shaking funky grooves known as Los Van Van that represent post revolutionary Cuban music. Los Van Van was created by bass player Juan Formell and it is known as fusing pre Castro charanga with soul and funk and the mixture is highly combustible to one’s nervous system. Translated, you’ll find it very difficult not to move your feet and shimying your hips. “Recital En Descarga” is bursting with lively percussion, funky horns and simple but enchanting chords. “Cuando Liego a Mi Casa” starts out with Juan formell’s killer bass riff, creating plenty of space for the congas and the lush string section. “Baila Guiro son Wambari” is a high octane dance floor filler that will have you breaking out in a sweat long before the song’s conclusion. With quality recordings such as these, one wonders how many other gems Juan composed that are buried in the vaults. Until we find out, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to some of the finest music you never heard of before. You won’t soon forget it.
Reg Dancy, 11/09
Various Artists - Romanian JazzSonar Kollektiv
One of the great joys of collecting records is getting time to sift through piles of records in places you've never been before. Far too often I've spent time planning what record shops are in a city, well before working out what sights and places to visit. Romania isn't one place I would have thought of for hunting jazz but Stephan Steigleder and members of Jazzanova have beaten us to it and found some true gems. The ten tracks here are the kind of music people would pay hundreds of pounds for, even though I've heard of none of the artists featured. This is certainly the start of something really interesting and I hope we all get chance to find out more about these artists and maybe even see a re-release of the full albums over time.
Simon Harrison, 03/07
Various Artists - Ron Trent & Jerome Sydenham Present Need 2 Soul Vol.01Need2Soul Music
Need 2 Soul brings together two of house music’s premier DJ’s, Ron Trent & Jerome Sydenham. Ron Trent needs no introduction. He has crafted his niche by emphasizing percussion in his house music productions, thereby giving his compositions warmth and richness. He has selected house tracks of the highest quality like the uplifting “Across The Universe” by Indigenous Space People. The blaze remix of Sunshine Anderson’s “Force Of Nature” is another highlight. The disc wraps up with the beautiful “Manzana De Mi Vida” by Glenn Underground. Jerome Sydenham takes over on disc 2. His selections are more into the deep house dish, with some tracks venturing into techno but wonderful selections nonetheless. Francois Dubois “I Try” is a wonderful keyboard laden stomper. “Atmospheric System” has a fierce pulsating groove with an enticing organ work. “Let The Sun Shine Out” by Flora Cruze is the only vocal track on disc 2. Flora’s powerful vocals and the thumpin’ funky house rhythms bring this disc to a rousing finale. Need 2 Soul have been blessing us with wonderful compilations for years. This fabulous work by two of house music’s premier DJs is no exception.
Reg Dancy, 07/08
Various Artists - Rough Guide To Colombian Street PartyWorld Music Network
Rough Guide once more exel with their mix of old and new, try these to give you a snapshot of where they are coming from: Joe Arroyo y La Verdad, Radio Cumbia, LA-33, Colombiafrica, Mojarra Electrica and Grupo Saboreo. 15 tracks in all and they all have one vision, dance and party until you drop. Very good.
Graham Radley, 12/08
Various Artists - Rough Guide To Latin Street PartyWorld Music Network
15 tracks across the board from the opening track of Jesus Pagan y su Orquesta’s salsa dura to the salsa meets rap and reggaeton of Magic Juan feat. Puerto Rican Power, plenty more keeping the party flowing including Los De Abajo, Sidestepper, Ricardo Lemvo and a great take on Bill Withers ‘Use Me’ by Alex Wilson feat. Lauren Dalrymple. Great.
Graham Radley, 10/08
Various Artists - Rough Guide To The Music of JapanWorld Music Network
18 tracks which bring a whole wealth and diversity of Japanese music to life but often take it off into unexpected directions which we like a lot. my picks would have to be Oki Dub Ainu Band’s ‘East Of Kunashri’ and Shibusashirazu’s ‘Akkan’, oh and make sure you listen to Takeharu Kunimoto & The Last Frontier’s ‘Appalchian Shamisen. Superb.
Graham Radley, 08/08
Various Artists - Rough Guide to the music of North African CafeWorld Music Network
Brilliant start with Algeria's Akli D's 'Barman' with 13 further tracks that also take us through Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt. Some great names and music with Maurice El Medioni, El Tanbura, Les Orientales and Adel Gadir Salim amongst those featured. Pick out tracks are Smadj presents S.O.S Project's 'Hat' and Cheb Balowski's 'El Dia'. Excellent.
Graham Radley, 08/07
Various Artists - Rough Guide to the music of SalsaWorld Music Network
13 tracks that includes salsa heavyweights like Jimmy Bosch and Wayne Gorbea, African influenced son from Kekele and Ricardo Lemva, contemporary beat influences from Alex Wilson and full on dance floor from Fruko Y Sus Tesos. Tracks also from Macolla, Cubanoson, Sonora Carruseles, Angel Melendez, Grupo Caribe, Yumuri Y Sus Hermanos and Bio Ritmo. Good collection.
Graham Radley, 08/07
Various Artists - Rough Guide to the music of VietnamWorld Music Network
A lot of new music to me here and so very varied including Huong Thanh who gently infuses jazz into Vietnamees traditional music while Thanh Quy keeps it traditional with a quan ho song illustrating Vietnam’s oldest singing tradition. Taking us in an entirely different direction is Blue Asia, featuring dan bao player Thuy Hanh getting down and dirty with the blues - wonderful and the truly wild closing track - a live version of Ghost Riders In The Sky by Dan Bao Vietnam (remember when you listen to this that the dan bao only has one string!). Highly recommended.
Graham Radley, 08/07