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Genre pick of the week Cover of Kwaito EP by Various Artists.
The four tracks on this EP represent an excellent example of early Kwaito, originally released between 1990-1994. Now available as a limited edition EP only.

Kwaito can be considered an authentic South African phenomenon. A new urban genre developed in the 1980s, an Afro-dance pop, mainly influenced by mbaqanga and African-American popular styles like hip hop and house. The development of kwaito began at the pinnacle of bubblegum music and when the apartheid era in South Africa was drawing to an end in 1994. Within the new democracy Kwaito soon became The Sound of Young South Africa.

Kwaito instrumentals are usually made entirely of synthesised sound. The tracks are constructed using a fusion of slowed down house music tracks (normally 100 and 120 beats per minute) and African percussion, which forms the core of the rhythmic pattern.

The lyrics in kwaito are normally not sung, but recited in rhythmic speech, usually in Isicamtho or any of the South African official languages.

The origin of the word kwaito comes from the Isicamtho word amakwaitosi (which means gangster). Amakwaitosi derives from the Afrikaans ‘kwaai’, which means strict or angry. The association of kwaito with gangsters is because kwaito in itself is all about black ghetto music. To kwaito musicians and their fans alike, the term simply implies that the tracks are ‘hot and kicking’. 

In 1949, Luzmila Carpio was born in the rural town of Qala Qala, Bolivia. It was there that her earliest musical experiences -  and the genesis of her unique voice - shaped her decades-long career writing and performing Quechua music. In Bolivia, though more than 36 indigenous languages are spoken by nearly 40 percent of the population, the only officially recognized language of state was Spanish until September of 2000. The social, political and economic stigma that came with identifying as Quechua was keenly felt throughout Luzmila’s formative years, though the tide began to shift in the late 1960s. At age 15, Luzmila joined the group Los Provincianos and has continued to make music ever since. Her distinctive musical style comes from her impossibly high upper register that oftentimes mingles so closely with the timbre of a quena flute: “In my community, among us, we sing like that - very high. It’s the tradition in our area that I further developed while trying other styles or ranges as my voice allowed. In October of 1992, Luzmila began working with UNICEF on the Yuyay Jap’ina campaign for adult literacy. The designers of the Yuyay Jap’ina project commissioned recordings by Luzmila. that featured local musicians performing both traditional Quechua songs and those specially composed by Luzmila. Many of the songs take a pedagogical approach; they testify to the importance of clean drinking water (Ch’uwa yaku kawsaypuni, “Crystal Clear Water Is Life”), the self-actualizing power of literacy (Riqsisqa kasunchik, “We Will Be Recognized”), and the self-assertion of women (Warmikuna yupay-chasqapuni kasunchik, “Women, We Have To Be Respected”). But looking at the Yuyay Jap’ina tapes as a set of instructional songs would be only the narrowest interpretation. Taken in context, the songs are a bold celebration of language and culture. Luzmila Carpio currently lives in Paris and continues to write and perform her songs around the world.

Africa Seven present the third in their series of Manu Dibango re-issues. For your delight this time is 'Home Made', a four tracker of epic African musicianship. Recorded in 1979 the album's bedrock of rhythms was recorded in Nigeria. This creates an infectious and addictive afro-beat / afro-disco groove for the album. Overdubs and mix downs were then carried out in Paris adding layers of sheen and expansive jazz groove. 

Ebony Cuts

Carrie On / Oba Chule

Hamburg's mastering maestro and edit extraordinaire returns to Kojak Giant Sounds, following up his 2013 Roy Ayres edit with this swinging two tracker of groove based delights. On the A-side "Carrie On" bursts out the blocks with tough additional drums and a replayed buzzing synth bassline before settling into a swinging jazz influenced groove complete with rasping sax, off kilter piano chords and warm vibraphone licks. Perfect for the warm up, cool down or simply to switch things up a little, this cut perfectly marries the club friendly bottom end thump with sophisticated melodies. On the B-side, the title track plunges us into the psychedelic swirl of an ancient tribal ritual. Ever changing polyrhythms bump, thump and rattle and the additional synth bass throbs through the subs, feeding the dancefloor frenzy while raucous brass and group vocal chants put you slap bang in the middle of the action. Top notch!

Afro-cosmic originator Beppe Loda returns to the Oscillator imprint for the second volume of his "Obscure Cuts" series. While the great man is currently a resident at Berlin's Oscillator imprint, the four obscure edits on this weird wax were favourites on the floor at the legendary Typhoon club. Raiding his archives for a quartet of Eastern influenced Italian disco tracks, Loda hits us with a truly mindwarping selection of space age sounds. First up "Arabian Dance" sees solar winds whoosh over a menacing bassline while scratchy guitars tell of 1001 Arabian Nights. This desert disco banger merges ancient folk sounds born out of the sand with the sci fi sounds of the future to create a jam so otherworldy it could have leap out of the Stargate. "Music Maker" gallops into view on horseback like the bastard child of Harry Thumann, Ennio Morricone and Nese Karabocek and the forefather of Lindstrom and Prins Thomas' "Turkish Delight". The sequenced bassline takes us into the cosmos before the swooping strings and accoustic guitar turn things into a galactic spaghetti western. On the flipside, "Mustafa" grows from a psychedelic flute melody to a funked up concoction of clav, bass and beats topped by chanted vocals and growls. Proper afro-cosmic madness! Last but not least, the Instrumental Edit of "Sandstorm" utilises a hypnotic bassline to lock the dancefloor into a trance, before opening out into an organic disco groove complete with an expansive and cinematic orchestral arrangement. Grandiose and slightly unhinged, this is yet more evidence why Loda and Baldelli were wy ahead of their time.

Various Artists

Peru Boom - Bass, Bleeps And Bumps From Peru's Electronic Underground

This bass heavy and potent collection features the key Peruvian producers and DJs that have helped build Lima’s reputation as ‘jewel in the crown’ of South America’s rave and party scenes. Tropical bass artists like Dengue Dengue Dengue, DJ Chakruna, Animal Chuki and Deltatron have long been guided by the roots of chicha and Peruvian cumbia. This sees them reshape and digitally render the original sounds fashioning new cuts inspired by dubstep, techno, trap, grime, house and electronica all aimed squarely at the dancefloor.

Detroit has techno, Chicago has house, and Peru’s DJs and producers consider Lima as the home of tropical bass. A global and amorphous style of music that has producers, DJs and flag-bearers from various corners of the world from South Africa and Angola’s Kudoro scenes to the Baile Funk parties of Brazil, international DJs like Diplo, Switch and labels like Mad Decent have long been absorbing and redefining the sound.

Electronic music made in Peru is often influenced by the national music style, cumbia, a slow and syncopated style of music full of complex rhythms. Lima is the central meeting point for all of Peru’s Andean, African and European cultures and this is reflected by the varied music blaring out from speakers around the city. With an admirable respect for labels like Infopesa, the most influential label in ‘60s & ‘70s Peru for chicha and Peruvian Cumbia, the artists of today bring traditional and once popular sounds bang up to date, creating a new history influenced by urban Lima.

Various Artists

Psycho Brazil - CD Mix By Dom Thomas

Dom Thomas' NN Tapes goes digital with a series of strictly limited CD versions of his previously cassette-only compilations. Limited to just 20 copies for the World!

The "Musical Dr Frankenstein" Dom Thomas is back with a psyched out journey through the lucid tones of the Tropicalia movement mangled with the pre cursing Jovem Guarda rock and soul music.

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