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SOUNDWAY

The mighty Soundway Records keep their relentless release schedule right on wallet emptying track this week with the debut solo album from the ever-energetic Diron Animal, lead singer of the band Throes + The Shine. "Alone" offers infectiously rhythmic dance music from the Angolan streets, fusing electronic production with traditional music.  Born and raised in the Angolan ghetto of Cazenga, the now Portuguese-based instrumentalist’s new record is a melting pot of musical styles and cultures. “I come from tribal music” says Diron. “I had a traditional music group, then I moved to a Capoeira group where I was a main corrido and I played batuque. Around that time I also started introducing Hip Hop and Kuduro styles. Then I mixed Kuduro with Hip Hop and Kuduro with Rock. Now I am making music for all people and all ages.” With a foot firmly set in his ghetto roots, the album is a personal exploration: “Cazenga is a place where a lot of the Angolan dances were invented, where children roam around barefoot and have no food but can transform their struggles into creativity”, says Diron.
This movement and struggle is at the core of the new record. Traditional African styles blended with Portugal’s frenetic electronic music style, culminate in a vibrant, energetic and rhythmic record that deals in both adversity and positivity. Furthermore, spell-binding rhythms, bass hooks and original lyrics abound, spanning Portuguese, Kimbundu and English. On “NCrazy”, he teams up with celebrated South African rapper Spoek Mathambo to portray life in the ghetto - a place where children may roam around barefoot and food is scarce - but where a positive attitude could be the difference between breaking free or not.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Diron Animal trades in genre mashing magic born out of the Angolan ghetto. Alive with the rhythmic guitars of Africa, rapid fire vocals of grime and the tough rhythms and blaring synths of Batida, “Alone” should find favour with any fans of the Principe Discos crew.

Hotline

You Are Mine

    Classic disco LP from Nigeria, reissued by Soundway on 180g vinyl with tip-on sleeve.

    This very rare Nigerian disco classic LP, originally released in 1986, is the only known recorded album by Hotline and features the track 'Fella's Doing It In Lagos', which gave its name to our recent 'Doing It In Lagos' compilation.

    Nigerian boogie funk record, with a heavy Synth moog sound. All tracks killer. The most incredible thing about this group is that they had a very unique sound. This Nigerian group were miles ahead of their time.

    Various Artists

    Heads Records - South African Disco-Dub Edits

      Off the back of the recent Gumba Fire compilation, Soundway selects more sure-fire disco burners: a 4-track, dancefloor-orientated EP drawing from the Heads label out of South Africa.

      The Heads label lasted a brief two years between 1982 and 1984. Started and run by the late South African producer and singer Emil Zoghby, it released only a handful of records before folding.

      The early 1980s in the country was a time when disco was starting to fade into what was becoming known as Bubblegum: pop music aimed at the black population of South Africa.

      William Mthethwa and his backing band the Young Five started off in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s Mthethwa became a big star not only within his native Sotho community but all over South Africa. As with many of his releases, “You Turn Me On” was produced by the renowned engineer and producer Peter Moticoe. This was a big, meaty, classic early 80s disco jam that appeared on a 12” only, featuring a long instrumental dub version on the B-side. New York’s JKriv takes elements of the vocal and dub and reworks them into a condensed dancefloor winner.

      Adaye were a Heads studio outfit featuring Tom Dollar on vocals, and selected here is their typically 1980s track “Turn it Up” which saw some success in the charts. The Manyane cut “Thabong” fuses traditional Sotho music with electronics, synths and drum machines - a popular style at the time.

      Sofrito’s Frankie Francis gives both the Adaye and Manyane tracks the cut-up treatment focussing heavily on the spaced-out weirdness of the dub versions but adding nothing other than a fine ear for an edit.

      To complete the set we include “Picnic”, another in-demand track from the Heads archives that was originally the flip side to the track “Picnicing” (featured on Gumba Fire) by the mostly instrumental studio outfit Starlight. They recorded one album and a series of 12s that included classic covers of American and Italian disco cuts.

      Soundway Records presents “Down In The Basement”, the debut EP from The Mauskovic Dance Band - a heady, tropical blend of cumbia, Afro- Caribbean rhythms and space disco, resulting in a vibrant hypnotic groove destined for bustling dancefloors. The Mauskovic Dance Band is the brainchild of the Amsterdam-based producer and musician, Nicola Mauskovic. A seasoned drummer, he finds himself constantly in demand - as part of Turkish psychedelic outfit Altin Gun, a recent tour with the revival of Zambian legends W.I.T.C.H., and a worldwide tour with psych-pop artist Jacco Gardner, with whom he then went on to form the dance-oriented duo Bruxas (released on Dekmantel).

      Throughout this hectic schedule Nic still found time to begin studio experiments that would eventually lead to several 7” singles, released on Swiss label Bongo Joe Records in 2017 under the name “The Mauskovic Dance Band”. Following this, he tapped long-time collaborators Donnie Mauskovic (vocals, keys, effects), Em Nix Mauskovic (guitar, synth, percussion), and Mano Mauskovic (bass) to make the jump from record to stage. Soon they caught the ear of fabled underground Cumbia producer Juan Hundred, who left his home on a Caribbean island to join the band on drums.

      With each band member of varying heritage, the group draws inspiration from diverse genres: primarily Afro-Colombian styles such as champeta, palenque, cumbia and the pic soundsystem culture, as well as the Afro-Disco and No-Wave scenes in their current base of Amsterdam. The city’s hotbed of underground producers has also brought an electronic edge to the band, with vintage drum machines and synthesizers effortlessly melding with Afro-Latin rhythms and slick guitar riffs to create a contemporary sound rich with cultural influence.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: The Mauskovic Dance Band providing all the tropical disco grooves, bright and zesty this is the exact sort of twelve inch to get the Summer vibes in full swing. Take a listen and float to a faraway island of your choice, ahhhhh.

      Various Artists

      Gumba Fire: Bubblegum Soul & Synth Boogie In 1980s South Africa

        Compilers Miles Cleret (Soundway) and DJ Okapi (Afrosynth Records) present a selection of 18 rare, handpicked 1980s cuts that highlight the period that nestles in between the ‘70s (where American-influenced jazz, funk and soul bumped shoulders with local Mbaqanga) and the ‘90s when Kwaito and eventually house-music ruled the dancefloors of urban South Africa.
        In 1980s black South Africa a local form of pop music evolved as the disco boom died down and slowly mutated. It was often ubiquitously described as Bubblegum - usually stripped-down and lo-fi with a predominance of synths, keyboards and drum-machines and overlaid with the kind of deeply soulful trademark vocals and harmonies that South African music is famous for. Alongside French-Caribbean Zouk this kind of music has slowly been making its way into the DJ sets of many of the most open minded selectors around the world. This compilation is in many ways a sister release to the hugely popular compilation of Nigerian boogie and disco that Soundway released in late 2016 : “Doing it In Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980s Nigeria”.
        The album takes its name from the band Ashiko’s track of the same name Gumba Fire that features on the compilation. The term is derived from gumba gumba, the term given to the booming speakers of the old spacegram radios that broadcast music into South Africa’s townships and villages. The phrase later evolved into Gumba Fire to refer to a hot party. Put this record on and feel the heat!


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: As we seem to have reached the end of the great Afro disco excavation (I joke, I hear a new banger every two weeks), things jump forward from the disco era to the time of boogie and proto house with this mega collection of bubble gum bangers selected by Soundway and Afrosynth boss DJ Okapi. Everything on here is excellent, but Condry Ziqubu's "She's Impossible" is way in demand, and this is your only chance to get it without breaking the bank.

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        3xLP Info: 3LP comes in high gloss gatefold sleeve with 8mm-thick spine, and detailed sleeve notes and images of the original album covers.

        Brand new signing XOA maintains a foundation in broken beat and house music, while drawing from classic afrobeat, funk and jazz - making this release more right-now than a fake news feed about Kim Jong Un. Headed up by multi-instrumentalist (and Gentleman’s Dub Club member) Nick Tyson, XOA fuses golden era 1970s afrobeat with deep grooves and contemporary electronic productions sizzling with analogue synths, guitars and percussive rhythms. Collaboration has always been at the heart of the project, with an emphasis on live instrumentation, crucial to transmitting a rich energy on the tracks.

        Hailing from London, Tyson has been building a keen following with his live gigs and DJ sets, including a sell-out live show at the Jazz Cafe featuring Eva Lazarus and Dele Sosimi on vocals. The new release on Soundway reflects his steady progression towards sophisticated production and collaborative processes, as well as his ability to effortlessly cross multiple genres.


        Meridian Brothers

        Donde Estas Maria

        Boundary-pushing Colombian group The Meridian Brothers return to Soundway with another unique album of dreamy psych-folk, blending traditional Latin rock with tropicalia, and lush string and choral arrangements.
        Led by composer Eblis Alvarez, a pioneer of the alternative music scene in Bogot , the band continuously explores and experiments with alternative ways of playing instruments and electronic media. Drawing from traditional Latin rock (including Colombian, Argentinian and Mexican) as well as Brazilian tropicalia, for this new album Alvarez incorporates string instruments - in particular the cello, both bowed and plucked - a timbre rarely used in his previous works. Lead track and first single “ Donde Estas Maria?” is a proclamation of love for an enigmatic and spiritual poetess - and a taste of the dreamy psych-folk journey on which the album embarks. Mellow vocals and delicate cello riffs put a light spring in the step, while fuzzy bass and the gentle thump of the percussion and bells drive the song at an excitable pace.


        Rarely heard Tanzanian gogo music meets slick electronic production, for a borderless but powerful fusion sound. Tanzania’s Msafiri Zawose has been one of the biggest slept-on musical forces from the region, but all that is about to change with the imminent arrival of a new album that will redefine the boundaries of gogo music. The Wagogo people are Msafiri’s traditionally nomadic tribe from the center of the Tanzania, known for their musicality and made famous by Hukwe Zawose - Msafiri’s father, who toured the world as a part of Peter Gabriel’s Real World roster in the 80s and 90s. The album has been produced in collaboration with Sam Jones from Sound Thread, whose recent works with Orlando Julius and remixes for Mugwisa International and Sarabi have been rapturously received.
        The tracks remain profoundly ‘gogo’ with traditional instruments and singing, but are infused with an organic electronic aesthetic. This is an afro-futurist journey that takes in dub, Balearic, ambient and electronic vibrations alongside Zawose’s hypnotic playing and emotive, plaintive vocals.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: Hypnotic, percussive and trance inducing grooves from Msafiri Zawose here. Fusing traditional rhythms and melodies with buzzing synth bass, off kilter mallets and fx abuse, the Tanzanian musician has created a killer LP which should find favour with the more exotic fringes of the disco/Balearic communities.

        The Heliocentrics

        A World Of Masks

        The Heliocentrics are a group for which genres are meaningless and boundaries invisible. Since first appearing on DJ Shadow’s 2006 album "The Outsider" the group have gone on to release a string of records that float through jazz, hip-hop, psych, krautrock, and musique concrete whilst collaborating with numerous genre heavyweights from Mulatu Astake to Gaslamp Killer and picking up prestigious fans along the way, such as Madlib and the recently departed David Axelrod.
        The primarily instrumental group, who operate out of their vintage analogue studio in East London called the Quatermass Sound Lab, bring in a new singer on album number four - a young Slovakian singer called Barbora Patkova. The result is an album that takes the band, already solidified in ever-expanding grooves and rhythms into new previously unexplored dimensions.
        The group’s deep-set ability to craft music intuitively and impulsively stems from a desire to avoid typical processes or generic structures. Since its conception, the band's music has mainly been created from live improvisation. This musical approach gives the band its own sound and identity -"for anything to happen it must be at that time from the people in the room, and on the spot". A decade of such sonic adventures has resulted in a tightly knit bond that the group refer to as “almost a form of telepathy” with “musical changes that otherwise would be near impossible to write."

        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: Interdimensional groove machine The Heliocentrics open up a sonic portal and speed straight through the swirl on this heady LP of genre-blending, boundary pushing madness. Funky and psychedelic, it's the kind of thing you could only imagine making with a Ouija-board and Norman Whitfield's spirit.

        This post-modern African soundtrack follows London producer Jesse Hackett’s heady musical journey into the heart of Uganda - recording with chief collaborator, multi instrumentalist and singer Albert Ssempeke and featuring assorted vocal legends from the north of the country. The music blends a fully electronic sensibility with unusual, hand-crafted, African one-string fiddles, a 200-year-old harp and an enormous, group-played xylophone. It mixes traditional Ugandan folk songs and modern pop forms into a new vision. Hackett is influenced as much by the music of the African continent as he is by European electronic compositions and soundtrack scores. The sounds of hauntingly-dark vocoded vocals, crushed electronics, and poly-rhythmic drum machines sit alongside chiming African fiddles, rippling harps and children's laughter. He is a member of Owiny Sigoma band having sung on and co-written a lot of their work spanning three albums. He is also touring keyboard player for the Gorillaz and has released records on Stones Throw, Honest Jon’s and DEEK Recordings, to name a few. Albert Ssempeke is the son of a prestigious royal court musician who played in the days of the old Buganda kingdom – one of more than twenty five musical siblings, Albert is simultaneously an educator, performer and preservationist of this intricate and complex traditional form of music. Here he plays over ten traditional Ugandan instruments including Amadinda (xylophone), Ngindidi (fiddle), Endongo (harp), Ennanga (flute) and many more.

        Lord Echo

        Melodies

          Much loved by our most stylish customer (none other than Pasta Paul), Lord Echo's fusion of disco, dub, Afrobeat and funk has found plenty of fans recently, so this is the perfect time for a lavish double vinyl reissue of the classic Lord Echo debut "Melodies". Alongside his huge version of Sister Sledge's "Thinking Of You", we get plenty of smooth grooves, analogue sounds and humid textures perfect for a midsummer's smoke sesh. Previously only available in Japan, this peach of a debut LP is essential listening for the recent converts.

          Vanishing Twin

          Dream By Numbers EP

            THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2017 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

            Limited Edition RSD pressing with individually numbered sleeves and pressed on red vinyl. This E.P. includes 5 brand new tracks and 1 album track that didn't make the LP.

            Vanishing Twin present a limited edition 10" EP of oblique psychedelia invoking strange visions and surreal states. Built around a series of improvisations, each piece soundtracks your adventures in dreamland.

            Recorded by Syd Kemp at RIP Studios. Co-produced with and mixed by Malcolm Catto.

            "Harmonies" is the new long player from underground super-producer Lord Echo. While his growing legion of fans clamoured for new material, Lord Echo descended into obscurity in the industrial backwaters of New Zealand where he lived alone and went completely insane trying to complete the record.  The new album solidifies his already distinctive mutations of reggae and rock steady with disco, African soul, techno and spiritual jazz. In other words, the Lord has returned from the wilderness with a bounty for his followers. Eat of the bread of life and enjoy access to his crazy World of Sound.
            “I generally only work with people I know quite well personally - so this included Tony Laing (Fat Freddy's Drop), who is a long time friend and collaborator, Leila Adu - a fantastically versatile composer and songwriter, the excellent singer and producer Mara TK (Electric Wire Hustle) who I was living with at the time and of course the fabulous Lisa Tomlins, whose rendition of Thinking Of You by Sister Sledge was such a hit off the last record.”

            FORMAT INFORMATION

            2xLtd LP Info: Double vinyl DJ friendly edition.

            Various Artists

            Doing It In Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco In 1980s Nigeria

              Keeping their unbeaten record intact, Soundway Records present a new compilation of twenty rare and mostly unavailable tracks from the slick and sassy world of Nigerian pop music and club culture of the early 1980s. Buoyed by an explosive oil boom and a return to democracy after a series of military dictatorships, Nigeria's economy in the years of the early '80's was mirrored by its recording industry as countless young artists and groups hit the airwaves and dancefloors of the capital and beyond. It was a glossy, brash new form of pop music born out of ashes of late 1970s disco and funk and, just as in America, was the soundtrack to a new generation for whom money, style and flirtation trumped the overblown psychedelia of the previous decade. Eager to sound as American as possible with no hint of the fervor for afro-beat, afro-rock and afrocentric thinking that the 1970s had thrown up, a new generation of young artists and performers turned their backs on their cultural roots in music and sought a new kind of stardom and fame firmly connected to the glossy, snazzy world of the 1980s that was erupting in the USA and Europe. The 1970s flares and cuban heels began to disappear, in their place came sleek suits, rolled-up sleeves, bow-ties, jumpsuits, leather jackets, greased hair and a firm nod in the stylistic direction of Michael Jackson.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Patrick says: It's 2016 and by now you've heard your fair share of African disco comps. You haven't however, heard an official set featuring remastered versions of Steve Monite's 'Only You', Oby Onyioha's 'Enjoy Your Life' and Livy Ekemezie's stunning 'Holiday Action'. It's worth the entry fee for those three tracks alone, so with SEVENTEEN (!) other killers on here, you should snap a copy up.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              3xLP Info: Includes full colour insert and Bonus 7"!

              This week sees gruesomely named London ensemble Vanishing Twin release their debut album "Choose Your Own Adventure" via Soundway Records. The band enlisted the help of producer Malcolm Catto (Heliocentrics, DJ Shadow, The Gaslamp Killer) and began work at his London studio, Quatermass Sound Lab, last spring. Recording the basis for eight tracks, they blended structure and improvisation in pop songs that describe a personal mythology through the adventures of Lucas' vanished twin. Formed in 2015, Vanishing Twin came together to make an exploratory record that marries oblique English pop with a palette of arkestral sounds. Having previously released a string of conceptual cassettes under the name Orlando, founder Cathy Lucas (Innerspace Orchestra) named the group after her vanishing twin, an identical sister absorbed in utero, when they were both still a cluster of cells. Drawing on sounds outside of the usual pop vocabulary, the group used forgotten drum machines, home-made electronics, vibraphones, tablas, and harp to invoke the esoteric psychedelia of lost soundtracks, radiophonic experiments and minimal music orchestras. In a studio that Catto built for maximum atmosphere and minimum interfere, and crammed with obscure vintage equipment, he brought his own distinctive sonics to the table, informed by outsider jazz, Italian library music and ethnographic field recordings. Vanishing Twin is made up of singer Cathy Lucas (Fanfarlo, The Oscillation) drummer Valentina Magaletti (Raime, Tomaga, Uuuu, Neon Neon), bassist Susumu Mukai (Zongamin, Floating Points), library music head Phil M.F.U. (Man From Uranus, Broadcast) on strange sounds, and film maker and visual artist Elliott Arndt on flute and percussion. 

              Me And My Friends

              Hide Your Way

              The sound of English folk colliding head-on with the golden-era music of 1970s West Africa and the West Indies.

              Second album from British quintet Me and My Friends. Towering vocal harmonies, soaring cello and clarinet lines, colossal basslines and drum patterns combine on an exquisite rollercoaster-ride of the emotions from euphoria to melancholia and back again.

              Bound by a mutual love of the sun-drenched vintage sounds of afrobeat, soukous, highlife and roots reggae, the UK-based five-piece re-invent these influences around the instantly recognisable voice and finger-style guitar of songwriter and singer Nick Rasle. The band's sound involves a meeting of diverse musical backgrounds: Fred Harper's gospel-influenced drumming and James Grunwell's deep basslines provide the bed for Sam Murray's growling clarinet tone and Emma Coleman's strident cello and flawless ear for vocal harmony. 'Hide Your Way' sees the band embarking on a deeper exploration of the playfulness and rhythmic agility which has come to define their sound. A rich and varied pool of musical ideas sits alongside a plaintive lyricism, as the songs tell tales of regret, corruption, loss and deceit. The result is something fresh and original, marrying the emotional vocal power of folk music with early jazz and delta-blues singing and the driving rhythms of West-Africa's golden era and the heart and soul of the great roots-reggae songwriters.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              LP includes MP3 Download Code.

              Flamingods are set to return with 'Majesty', the band's third album and debut release on Soundway Records. 

              With this new album the five-piece have taken their sound in a new direction with a rich and multi-layered album brimming with diverse influences that reflect their multi-cultural backgrounds.

              The shimmering 10-track album crosses blissful psychedelia with a rich spectrum of the band's sonic inspirations.

              'Majesty' was written and arranged with a conceptual narrative, cohesive both musically and lyrically, following the story of protagonist Yuka on his journey of enlightenment. The record is split in two, morning / light / good (tracks 1-5) and evening / dark / evil (tracks 6-10) that unravels track-by-track as the record plays out.

              STAFF COMMENTS

              Patrick says: Possibly Bahrain's best known (or only) musical export, Flamingods have cooked up three albums in as many years, all without the most fleeting appearance on my radar. That is, until my girlfriend played me the stunning 'Anya', a subtropical sibling to Jonathan Wilson's 'Desert Raven' which blew my mind wide open. Gently psychedelic, totally musical and wonderfully exotic, 'Majesty' is a trip from start to finish.

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              LP Info: Indies only red vinyl edition.

              LP includes MP3 Download Code.

              Fumaça Preta

              Impuros Fanaticos

              Having made a name for themselves as a cutting edge, genre-bending live and recording act on their debut, Fumaça Preta's 'Impuros Fanáticos' pushes one step further. Crossing psychedelia, free jazz, metal, tambu, voodoo, fado and a lot more, the album is a musical cocktail and a journey of experimentation.

              From the meticulous recording of discarded metalwork in an abandoned factory in the middle of the Spanish desert, to a late night voodoo ritual in a remote village on the Venezuela/Brazil border, to steel drums recorded in a disused military base in Czech Republic, the record has a truly unique sound and feel, whilst retaining the band's frenzied grooves at its core.

              2015 was a year of change for Fumaça Preta. Rising popularity and constant touring created conflicts and changes that translated directly into some of the darker, more contemplative moments on the record. Alex Figueira took over vocals, which expanded the language, with the addition of Spanish, and spectrum with the addition of Spanish and various melodic elements, creating a musical depth beyond that of the first.

              "Fumaça Preta offer a cracked Latin American psychedelia that jives to the wiggier end of Tropicalia... while drinking deep from the Butthole Surfers' manky goblet of insanity" - The Quietus

              "A deranged blend of heavy metal histrionics, tropicalia, psychedelia and shouting in Portuguese." - Financial Times

              "Steaming tropical concoction." - The Wire

              FORMAT INFORMATION

              LP includes MP3 Download Code.

              Fumaça Preta

              La Trampa

                Tortured organ derails your mind as the Funana drums force your feet to move. Soon we dine with the devil; Fumaça Preta are leading the conga line to hell. La Trampa’ is a Venezuelan slang opera. A dancefloor tsunami.

                B side ‘Apelo’ offers up a twisted Fumaça Preta arrangement of Paolo Begunca’s lost classic, mixing sabbath rock, tambu, voodoo and fado. Lose your soul to the impossible cocktail that is Fumaça Preta.

                Brand new electronic compilation on the Soundway Label. 50 electronic music producers and instrumentalists from Berlin, Bristol, Cairo, Johannesburg, Kiev, Lagos, Lisbon, Luanda, Nairobi, Naples were invited to collaborate in studios over the course of more than six months.

                As a result, hip-hop from the squats of Naples, dubstep and bass from Bristol and Lisbon, experimental techno from Berlin and jazz-tinged deep-house from Kiev are thrust upon the pumping kuduro of Luanda, the free-thinking crackled electronica of Cairo, the afro-jazz of Lagos and Johnannesburg, and the Sheng street slang of Kenyan hip-hop and rap.

                A selection of the results of these cross-continental experiments can be heard on this record. Includes cuts featuring Vakula, Octa Push, Pinch, Rob Smith, Wura Samba, Diamond Version and many more.

                Fumaça Preta’s hard hitting, free-wheeling debut LP brings together elements of tropicalia, psychedelic rock, fuzz funk, musique concrete, acid house, radiophonic electronics, hair metal, voodoo and African, Brazilian and Latin rhythms. Beaming down from another planet and sonically stretching across decades, ‘Fumaça Preta’ is released on Soundway Records.

                Fumaça Preta (pronounced Foomassa Pretta, meaning Black Smoke) started as a studio experiment when Alex Figueira, a Portuguese-Venezuelan producer and percussionist, invited some old friends to join him in the tiny analogue studio he built on the back of his house in Amsterdam.

                After producing 2 critically acclaimed 45s, Fumaça Preta continued to work in the Barracão Sound Laboratory, swiftly producing their debut album. All musical boundaries collapsed during recording as the band drew upon their vast array of varied influences.

                Live, Fumaça Preta becomes a quintet that swerves in and out of endless musical avenues but never loses the rock solid heavy psychedelic groove that drives them.


                FORMAT INFORMATION

                LP includes MP3 Download Code.

                Soundway’s second foray into South East Asia is focused on North-East Thailand, the epicentre of Molam and Luk Thung Isan music. Hypnotic phin and khaen riffs, pulsing, electrified country rhythms and heartfelt vocals punctuate another journey into the lesser known reaches of 1970s Thai music.

                In this second volume of 'The Sound of Siam' the focus is firmly on the music the sounds of north-east Thailand, or Isan and attempts to show how a genre evolved and developed from essentially an acoustic tradition with specific geographic roots, to one that started to incorporate other instruments and influences that reached out to the Isan diaspora around the country.

                The term molam is actually two separate words pushed together: Mo meaning ‘expert’ or ‘doctor’ and lam meaning ‘to sing’. Hence the literal translation means ‘singing expert’. Many molam records have extended intros that allow a vocalist to establish the theme of the song, as well as flex their improvisational muscles.

                Luk Thung (literally ‘song of the countryside’) is a much broader, rural style that had a bigger impact nationally. Artists like Saksiam Petchompu began fusing this style with molam, a move which propelled him to national fame. You can hear the influence of western funk, as well as Thai arrangements, on the luk thung Isan (as the hybrid became known) smash Jeb Jin Jeb Jai included here.

                'The Sound of Siam 2 - Molam & Luk Thung Isan from North-East Thailand 1970 - 1982’ features 19 tracks, many appearing outside of Thailand for the first time. Both CD and double LP and is accompanied with detailed liner notes written by compilers Chris Menist and Maft Sai.

                Ibibio Sound Machine finally release their hotly anticipated debut album on the ever brilliant Soundway Records. The self-titled set sees the group effortlessly combine diverse genres with an ease I've not heard since the days of LCD Soundsystem, pulling together elements of West African highlife, disco, post-punk, psychedelic electro soul and nasty ass P-funk. On the squelchy bassed "The Talking Fish" and the 6 Music fave "Let's Dance" and the more traditional highlife cuts "I'm Running", "Uwa The Peacock" and "Woman Of Substance", Ibibio Sound Machine pack the wax with pure effusive energy. Elsewhere, "The Tortoise", "The Talking Fish" and "Prodigal Son" are bursting with raw funk power, with British / Nigerian vocalist Eno Williams in particularly fierce form. Folk stories, recounted to Eno by her family as a child in her mother's South-Eastern Nigerian Ibibio language form the creative lyrical fabric of the album, as can be seen with the natural and proverbial track titles. What I love most about this record is the fact it flows together as an album so well, with a nice progression from highlife to funk and electro disco aided by the excellent musicianship of the players. The album has soul in abundance, bookended as it is by two beautiful spiritual pieces, but will keep the dancefloor just as happy as the congregation. After all, they're pretty much the same aren't they?


                STAFF COMMENTS

                Sil says: Fronted by London-born Nigerian singer Eno Williams, Ibibio Sound Machine is a clash of African and electronic elements inspired in equal measure by the golden era of West-African funk and disco and modern post-punk and electro. It is the perfect amalgamation of African beats and electronic atmospheres put together in perfect balance, ready to be loved and danced to.
                When we played this in the shop for the first time, we were all happily surprised. The album oozes energy and good feelings throughout, with Williams channeling it all via her unique and compelling voice.
                The varied compositions range from the Gregorian chant-like sound found on “Voice Of The Bird (Uyio Inuen)”, to the breathless pace of “I’m Running”, and “Uwa the Peacock (Eki Ko Inuen Uwa)”. “The Talking Fish (Asem Usem Iyak)” exudes funkiness and elements of jazz, while “The Tortoise (Nsaha Edem Ikit)” offers a perfect communion of trumpet and up-tempo African rhythms. “Woman of Substance (Awuwan Itiaba)” – a personal favourite - has catchy dialogues between the guitar and trumpets. In “Prodigal Son (Ayen Ake Feheke)” we find sophisticated use of deep synthy electronica. And last but not least “Got to Move, Got to Get Out! (Ana Nkpong Ana Nwuoro)” reminds me of Michael Brook and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s album “Night Song” on Real World Records with its lingering and moody electronic soundscapes.
                There is not one filler on this album - they are all killers that point toward the fact that Soundway is not only committed to its critically-acclaimed reissues, but also to bringing to the forefront new vibrant sounds like the ones on this masterpiece.

                Continuing further into the music of 1970s East Africa, Soundway present a limited edition 10" of raw, bluesy garage-funk-rock from Jimmy Mawi.

                Jimmy Mawi was a Madagascan guitarist based in Nairobi in the mid 1970s. He cut only three 45s for EMI East Africa on their Pathe imprint that have virtuallydisappeared from sight in the nearly 40 years since they were recorded. Soundway reproduce four of the best tracks here on a super limited edition 10". Fuzz guitars, raspy vocals and metronomic drumming combine for an exhaustive afro-rock workout.

                Earlier this year Soundway released their compilation 'Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings' from the 1970s & ‘80s. Accompanied by a limited remix 12” these releases represent Soundway’s first releases from the East African country and follows from their much acclaimed African ‘Special’ series that to date has focused on the highlife and afrobeat output from 1970s Nigeria and Ghana.


                Kiki Gyan

                24 Hours In A Disco 1978 - 1982

                Hailed as Africa’s answer to Stevie Wonder, Ghanaian multi-instrumentalist Kiki Gyan was a musical wunderkind who by 1975 had risen from the lowly status of high school dropout to being ranked eighth in a poll of the greatest keyboardists in the world (occupying the rarefied air of the top ten with heavyweights like Steve Winwood, Billy Preston, and Stevie Wonder) as well as becoming an in-demand session player in the top recording studios of London - all before his twenty-first birthday.

                Out on his own, he produced a series of highly ambitious disco records aimed at positioning him as an international star, but weighed down by the excesses of the era, Gyan saw his meteoric rise matched by an equally swift fall back into obscurity. Loved dearly by his contemporaries and sorely missed since his death in 2005 the story of the life of Kofi Kwarko ‘Kiki’ Gyan is one often told with warning by his friends to the new generation of aspiring Ghanaian popstars.

                Soundway Records now collects the best of Gyan’s work as a frontman and solo artist, featuring an array of electrifying disco grooves that still sound contemporary (and in some cases futuristic) decades after their initial release.

                Orchestre Du Bawobab / The Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination

                Kelen Ati Len / The Preacher Stranger

                Soundway records present the first in a trio of 45s. Part one is a double hitter of rare and heavy West African funk grooves. Orchestre Du Bawobab are one of the most successful bands to come out of Senegal. Initially formed as the house band for the Bawobab nightclub in Dakar in the early 70s, they have taken their Cuban / Senegalese blend to a worldwide audience over the past thirty years. "Kelen Ati Len" is a rough and driving Afro-funk oddity taken from a 1975 LP that has been making dancers sweat ever since it's first release on the legendary Senegalese Buur imprint. The Don Isaac Ezekiel Combination (don't you wish that that was the name of your band?) was a trio of former Koola Lobitos band members. Their scant recorded output focused on religious themes underlaid by deep grooves. "Preacher Man" is very funky early Afro-beat cut, with a steady groove and a call and response vocal. This track goes some way to showing what their residence at the Batakoto Nite Club would have been like - the sound of conscious Lagos in the early 70s. Getting plays from Dom Servini, Gilles Peterson, Michael Rutten, Karsten John, John Armstrong, Florian Keller, Snowboy, Pete Isaac, Egon (Stones Throw) and more.

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                7" Info: Limited dinked 45 pressing - 500 copies only.

                The mighty Soundway continue their recent repress programme with the label's highly sought after, very first vinyl release, "Ghana Soundz". This dazzling 2LP set is a must-have treasure trove for anyone with even a passing interest in Ghanaian highlife, afrobeat and funk. Two years in the making, "Ghana Soundz" delivers a eyewatering selection of 70s Afro-beat, funk and Afro-jazz fusion from Ghana, mostly all previously unreleased outside Africa. A cursory glance at the tracklist reveals winners by Marijata, Ebo Taylor, The African Brothers and Rob, but each and every track on this killer comp is worth the entry fee alone. The tracks are on an uptempo, dancefloor-aimed tip and stand up to anything released in Nigeria from the same era. I can't recommend this compilation highly enough!

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                CD Info: CD comes with 16 page full colour booklet.


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