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INVISIBLE CITY EDITIONS

Those scholarly diggers at Invisible City Editions make their first foray into the world of the long player with this beautifully put together reissue of Witch's most diverse record. 'Movin' On' was released after the Zamrock heyday, when the music of 80s Zambia came to be influenced by disco and rhumba from neighboring Congo. Bands that didn’t adapt sounded outdated. Thus even Zamrock’s greatest band, Witch, splintered, with a skeleton crew of core members embracing younger musicians to record and release two albums that found the band replacing fuzz guitars with whirling synthesizers and trying their hand at soul, disco and boogie. The LP explodes into action with the title track, an uptempo groover driven on by Gedion Mulenga’s heavy duty bass playing and set alight by Christine Jackson’s cut glass vocals. “Movin On” is swiftly joined on the dancefloor by the James Mason styled funk of “I’m Coming Back” and the powerhouse disco of “It Feels So Good”, a psychedelic disco bomb propelled into orbit by Patrick Mwondela’s swirling synths, which would undoubtedly been sampled by those French robots had they known about it. Elsewhere, Witch inject traces of the Carpenters (“It Was You Boy”), the Doobie Brothers (“You Are My Sunshine”) and Ned Doheny (“Let’s Get Together”). On paper this should be a disaster; at a push one could imagine an afro-psyche group managing a half decent disco-funk record, but the soft rock stylings of America’s west coast are surely a step to far. But in reality, the planets aligned and circumstances fell perfectly into place, as the combination of a band of talented musicians, at the height of their creative powers wrote eight perfect songs, each a snapshot of that era, but completely unlike anything else around.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: Repress in new artwork

Invisible City Editions return wance-agin, Tommy Mandel providing the good stuff on the latest outing of everyone's favourite reissue series with a compilation of personal, synth-laden pop songs created between 1980-87 in NYC. 

His professional work as a keyboardist and vocalist found him on stage and in the studio with many of the 80s greats from the Clash, Todd Rundgren, B-52s, Violent Femmes, The Ramones, Tina Turner, Mark Ronson, Dire Straits and Bryan Adams. While offstage and out of the major studio sessions, Tommy wrote in little books, made animation films and hooked up a massive amount of synthesizers, sequencers,microphones and recorded songs like diary entries. He self released almost 20 CDs, cassettes and one self titled 12” EP. Each song selected here is stunningly simple, lush, desperate, playful, and harmonic, touching on disparate trangents like Brian Wilson, Egyptian Lover, Michael Shrieve,Holger Czukay, Ariel Pink, YMO, AOR FM West Coast Rock, Arthur Russell, Martin Denny, Peter Gordon, Drexciya, Prince and private issued new age boogie. Tommy recently jokingly coined his music 'corporate ambient' and it shouldn’t entirely work; but somehow he manages to effortlessly make each song a Tommy Mandel song - DIY, homespun, personal, stunning, and not too serious. This is perfect pop - very charming, sincere, infectious and the work of a humble, good hearted, romantic savant. 

These Eyes

Soca Hustle / Let Me Love

One of the most mysterious and outsider 'Soca' 45s out there by HM 'These Eyes' Timothy.

The A-side 'Let Me Love' sounds like doo wop recorded with Oluko Imo's gear. And the B-side 'Soca Hustle' sounds like the Residents jamming a Marvin Whoremonger song with Augustus Pablo. The original 45 is so obscure that even his siblings didn't know that he made music. And rumour has it that, frustrated by its lack of success, Michael threw most of the copies of the 45 in the valley beside his family's house in the hills just outside Port Of Spain. 

FORMAT INFORMATION

7" Info: 2017 repress, New Artwork

This crew don't do things by half! Following the insanely nice Michael Boothman record a few months back - Invisible City Editions descend to even further depths and give us a fully re-mastered issue of this mythical treasure!

For many this is the ultimate 'Disco Illusion'; a record that should have been epoch making in its day, something that would have been a staple for David Mancuso, Larry Levan and Ron Hardy had it ever gotten distribution when it was originally released 34 years ago. Somehow time passed it by and it was only re-discovered in a warehouse in Trinidad last year. Since then it has been gaining momentum fast, with DJ support from Moodymann, MCDE, Floating Points and Kon, as well as original copies selling for four-digit sums. Part of the illusion is in the structure of the record. The A-side begins with beautiful, but relatively normal disco song, but suddenly an Egyptian sounding bridge turns the things inside out and the song opens up into a proto-house jam complete with bubbling Sun Ra synths and Black Ark tape delay action. Then there’s the b-side, which sounds like Bob James after he had a taste of callaloo, with deep electronics and a mind-melting steel pan solo. Finally, thanks to Invisible City this record is getting the life it has always deserved.


If "Movin' On" is Witch's "Rumours" then "Kuomboka" is their "Tusk". A remarkable follow-up to a timeless album that shows the band taking greater risks in songwriting and playfully experimenting with production techniques. This album is Witch's stunning swansong before the fast-changing music industry and political environment in Zambia took its toll on the group. Although once again inspired by American FM radio, from soft rock ballads to boogie, this album sees the group embrace their Zambian roots to a greater degree, resulting in fluid rhythms and sweet melodies. This time around Patrick Mwondela pushes his synth work and electronic production to a whole other level, especially on the bombastic "Erotic Delight" and low slung "More Sweat Than Sweet". "Kuomboka" is the unforgettable last voyage of this legendary band.

After taking a few months off to work their magic on the world's best festivals, Invisible City returns with the hotly anticipated reissue of "Amajovi Jovi" by Durban’s O.G. kwaito giant, Sandy B. Originally self-released on cassette and a white label 12”, rumour has it Sandy had to remake the tracks from memory because even he couldn’t find a copy.
In its original post-apartheid context, "Amajovi Jovi" was a sign of youthful subversiveness, rebellious creativity and a neck snapping rejection to the fascist groove of a silenced nation. While the Pantsulla hustler nods to house legends like Jamie Principle and Pal Joey, its hip hop breaks and interludes show a clear affection for Snoop Dogg’s "Doggystyle". At its slowed down tempo however, this low-fi kwaito masterpiece turns away from its American influence and looks towards Baldelli and his cosmos. Best of all are Sandy’s vocals - deep, melodic Zulu rap, sung flippantly- the way that only a true gangster could. It now stands as one of the finest glimpses of 90s party music to ever be blasted at the underground parties of the South African townships.  A huge fave of Jamie Tiller, Tako and all the forward thinking jocks, now's your chance to grab a copy of this kwaito classic, remastered and restored from the original cassette tape.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Landing bang on trend, Invisible City's latest reissue spectacular is this full on floor filler from kwaito legend Sandy B. Fusing the fat booty of US house, g-funk's lascivious vibe and the slow tempo which was synonymous with kwaito, this holy grail is well deserving of its legendary status. Don't miss out!

Beverly Glenn-Copeland is already known amongst collectors and music heads for two sought after albums of folky jazz in the key of Joni. It was this album, originally self-released on cassette in 1986 that caught the label's attention. The album, entirely recorded on DX-7 and TR-707, lies somewhere between digital new-age and (accidentally) early Detroit techno experiments. The inimitable style of BGC here is both peaceful and meditative while simultaneously rhythmic and bass heavy. The album was recorded in the northern Canadian town of Huntsville where BGC was living at the time and is a beautiful fusion of personal vision, technology and place. Issued here for the first time on vinyl, with a full restoration and re-master. 


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