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Colleen Grant / Sandra Hamilton

Latin Parang / Parang Jam

Soundway Records presents two rare, parang dancefloor cuts from early 1980s Trinidad & Tobago. Parang is a style of folk music that originated from Venezuelan and Colombian immigrants that came to the Caribbean, and evolved to include elements of Latin music, disco and soca - as is evident in this release. Although it used to be traditionally played during the festive season in Trinidad and Tobago, parang music now heats up dancefloors all year round. These two in-demand tracks were originally released on the local RH Productions label in Trinidad & Tobago. Fully restored, remastered and officially licensed - both are now both being released officially re-pressed for the first time on vinyl.

STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Nicely fragrent world disco vibes here from Trinidad & Tobago. Sure to create a furnace in the trousers and skirts of the dancers - ooh la la!

17 obscure Soca B-side versions, dubs, instrumentals and edits as well as vocal tracks influenced by disco, boogie, house-music, soul and the more conscious lyrics of roots reggae. Owing as much to New York, Toronto and London as to the Caribbean cities of Port of Spain, Bridgetown and Kingstown this compilation traces the genre from its explosion in the late 1970s right up to the period just before contemporary soca became established around the end of the 1990s. Compiled by Soundway Records label founder Miles Cleret and DJ/collector Jeremy Spellacey, Body Beat, as with many compilations on the label, explores the fringes of this often maligned (by outsiders) genre. Boiled down to the bare bones of the matter though: soca is party music.

Soca was originally a re-invention of Calypso music; a genre that in the 1970s was fast becoming usurped around the Caribbean by Jamaican reggae and American soul, funk and later disco. The originator of soca (or sokah as he called it), the calypsonian Lord Shorty, began experimenting and modernising on the formulation of calypso in the early 1970s. His first album featured a strong emphasis on East African rhythms and a punchier recording style that emphasised the beat, and introduced arrangements that often owed as much to American funk and soul as to calypso.

Filled with up-tempo tracks from start to finish, the compilation’s lead single “I Want Your Love” by Peter Britto is a soca-house number which originally came out on NYC-based label Hometown Music in 1998. It features the recognisable soca synth beat, along with Caribbean steel drums and horns - but with the obvious influence of New York’s booming house scene, making it an ultimate crossover track for club dancefloors and carnivals alike.

So here you go - seventeen slabs of soca crossover, rapso, electronic calypso, and Caribbean ‘soca-soul’ for your enjoyment - and bound to fit well into modern, open-minded DJ sets alongside the resurgence of burger-highlife, digi-reggae, soukous and zouk.

Future Afro-Latin jazz house from Italian master percussionist, multi-
instrumentalist and composer Gabriele Poso. Featuring guest vocalists Nailah Porter, Nina Rodriguez, Quetzal Guerrero & Sofia Rollo. Following a long-term collaborative partnership with Osunlade / Yoruba Records, as well as albums on BBE and Agogo Records, on ‘Batik’ Poso further develops and matures his sound - exploring his extensive roots in Afro-Cuban percussion, while delving into the realms of jazz and soulful house. Much of the album features Poso on not only vocals but many of the instruments - including percussion, guitar and kalimba. With mixing by renowned Spanish DJ and producer Kiko Navarro, the lead single “Africa Linda” is an up tempo live take on Latin house, featuring American-born soul singer Quetzal Guerrero on vocals.

Soundway Records completes the Lord Echo album collection, finally reissuing the second album in the trilogy from the in-demand New Zealand multi-instrumentalist and producer. Originally released in 2013, ‘Curiosities’ is now available as a DJ friendly double LP for the first time.  The entirely self-produced album blends jazz with disco-tinged neo-soul, reggae and classic afro-beat in effortless manner - and joins the dots between the more downtempo first album ‘Melodies’ and the disco, electronic, club-ready of his third album ‘Harmonies’.
The album also features a dub-funk cover of Pharoah Sanders’ “The Creator Has A Master Plan”, with vocals from Lisa Tomlins.

Here the ever reliable Soundway Records reissue Free Youth’s long sought-after 1985 single “We Can Move” - one of the first known examples of Ghanaian hip hop, emerging at the dawn of ‘hip-life’ (hip hop meets highlife). It was the trio’s only release and originally pressed on 7” vinyl, but now comes fully restored, remastered and available for the first time on 12” vinyl along with the original cover art.
Free Youth comprised three main members: Terry “Sir Robot” Bright, Lenny “Nii Addy” Dimple, and Abednego “King Abed” Ayim Bright. In the early 80s they began performing in clubs and parties across Accra, with friends and other dancers occasionally joining them on stage - including Reggie Rockstone, who later went on to find global stardom.
In 1985, the band were approached by a producer and invited to record at a local studio. Without having written down any music, Terry, Lenny and Abed sang the parts and beatboxed the rhythms to the session musicians prior to recording. Out of this session came “We Can Move”, a blend of hip-hop and Afro-funk with a proto disco-boogie beat, punchy trumpet riffs and melodic rap flow.
Included in this Soundway release is an exclusive instrumental cover version from Welsh ensemble Drymbago. This replaces the original B side track “Freedom Video Centre” which was an advertising jingle for a business associated with their former producer.

Soundway Records ventures back to the Caribbean: re-mastering and reissuing the original classic 12” single “Sweetest Taboo (Soca)” by Rebles. In the late 80s, as electronic music permeated popular culture, Rebles helped define the soca genre outside of the Caribbean. A wider audience was reached via this cover of Sade’s hit 1985 song “Sweetest Taboo”, with its distinctive synth hook and drum machine picking up the pace, helping push the version to late night dancefloors.

Also known as D’ Rebel’s Band, the group were the house band for prolific Caribbean label Strakers Records, based in New York, through which this single was originally released. Lead member Denniston Young was a founding member of the disco-soca group Asterisks. He went on to work with many calypso and soca artists, earning plaudits for his composition and musicianship - including from his cousin, legendary calypsonian composer Alston Becket Cyrus, who had hoped to work with him but missed the opportunity before Young passed away in 2009.

For fans of: Sade, Shadow's "Sweet Sweet Dreams” album, the “Beach Diggin” compilations and of course, Soundway regulars and collectors. 


Grupo Controle Digital

A Festa E Nossa

Soundway Records delivers a beautifully remastered reissue of Brazilian duo Grupo Controle Digital’s only album, “A Festa E Nossa”. First released in 1988, the album is now housed in a tip-on heavyweight sleeve with restored artwork. With the title track “A Festa E Nossa” having recently circulated the last few years in the DJ sets of influential tastemakers, the album has become highly sought after by electronic fans and collectors alike. Lo-fi synths and cruising bass lines permeate the record, influenced by the group’s Brazilian contemporaries at the time such as Tim Maia, Claudio Zoli, Secos E Molhados, and rock outfit Made In Brazil.

Band members Billy Jaguar and Gel Valiery regularly performed in various groups in Sao Paulo throughout the 80s and 90s, but after Gel passed away, Grupo Controle Digital was no more - the band and the album faded into obscurity and Billy became a priest, working with gospel music. It remained that way until Brazilian DJ Millos Kaiser (from label Selva Discos, and one half of the Brazilian street party group Selvagem) tracked down the remaining member of Grupo Controle Digital to be able to include one of their tracks on the highly anticipated Soundway compilation “Onda De Amor: Synthesized Brazilian Hits That Never Were (1984-94)”, which was released in July 2018.

Some crate-digging compilations are often the result of someone handpicking their choice favourites from another country’s musical history, perhaps unaware or uninvolved with its cultural lineage in the process. On Soundway’s latest release - a treasure trove of synth jams, pop, samba boogie, balearic and electro from 1980 & ‘90s Brazil - the tracks are picked by Millos Kaiser, one half of the Brazilian duo Selvagem, who are at the helm of throwing some of the country’s best dance parties. It’s a rare compilation that offers Brazilian music actually picked by a Brazilian.

Whilst names such as Ricardo Bomba, Villa Box, Fogo Baiano, Electric Boogies and Batista Junior may not be household names, they tell an untold, yet rich and important part of musical history in Brazil. If the 80s has a bad reputation amongst traditionalists in Brazil then the 1990s are even more derived and deplored. This going against the grain and plucking gold from such forgotten periods is what makes this such a charming, unique, character-loaded and fascinating collection of music. It’s a release that is loaded with smooth grooves, bubbling bass, glistening synthesisers, funk strutting guitar lines and sheen of production that undeniably marks it of its time.

For Kaiser this compilation is about reintroducing music during a period of reappraisal, catching a new wave and hoping contemporary listeners will ride it with him. “The idea is to do justice to these songs. Songs that combine all the right ingredients that should have put them on radio playlists when I was growing up or at least in the cases of more adventurous DJs”.

Millos Kaiser is a DJ, digger, vinyl junkie/dealer born in Rio de Janeiro and living in Sao Paulo for the past 8 years. He launched the dance party/club night Selvagem with partner Trepanado in 2010, bringing thousands of dancers one Sunday a month to a public square in the heart of Sao Paulo.

As both a solo artist and part of the DJ duo with Trepanado, Millos Kaiser has played all over Brazil as well as touring in the US and Europe, including festivals such as Dekmantel. Selvagem has also had remixes and edits released on labels such as Disco Halal, Disco Deviance, Hello Sailor, Music For Dreams and Beats In Space Records

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Selvagem's Milos further cements his reputation as a total gee with this sunny set of MPB, Balearic boogie and synth-funk winners from his native Brazil. There's plenty of paradise to go around, but I'd suggest you start with V Nia Bastos' stellar Sade cover...

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.

Steve Monite / Tabu Ley Rochereau

Only You / Hafi Deo - Frankie Francis / Nick The Record & Dan Tyler Edits

The ever-reliable Soundway come more than correct this week with a vinyl only DJ 12" featuring two mega re-edits of GIANT Afro dancers from Steve Monite and Tabu Ley Rochereau. Now a firm favourite in many a DJ's record bag, Nigerian disco-boogie king Steve Monite's hit "Only You" (featured on Soundway's recent "Doing It In Lagos" compilation), is given a rework by Sofrito's own Frankie Francis. Frankie switches up the arrangement, boosts that pinging bassline and adds a little extra club thwomp to deliver a definitive dance floor mix of this Afro-disco bomb. Sublime synthlines, impassioned vocals and insane space echo fly at you from all sides as this masterpiece unites the club in bass-led ecstasy. On the B-side, Nick The Record teams up with Idjut Boys' Dan Tyler to take on "Hafi Deo" - a beautiful taste of breezy tropical Congolese pop from Tabu Ley Rochereau. Dubbing out most of the vocals, tweaking the arrangements and adding the requisite amount of tape delay, Nick and Dan reshape this proto-house scorcher in time honoured fashion. Imagine hearing Boyd Jarvis and Shep Pettibone back to back in a Congolese jungle - ace!

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Soundway's biggest dance floor heaters get the edit treatment here, with Frankie Francis turning up the heat on Steve Monite's synth disco smasher, and Nick (The Record) and Dan (The Idjut) offering a classic dub mix of loved up afro winner "Hafi Deo".

"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.”

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. 

    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.

    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?


    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.


    As a companion to the hugely popular Kenya Special: Selected East African Recordings from the 1970s and ‘80s compilation, Soundway delivers a special remix and edit 12” featuring two tracks from the collection and two exclusives, newly pressed on 140g vinyl.

    The A side kicks off with Batida’s remix of a 1977 benga 45 (Ndiri Ndanogio Niwe) from the Mbiri Young Stars. Fast 120bpm plus 4/4 rhythms with liquid guitars and machine-gun drumming are married with kuduro drum programming. Second up and surging with sub bass, British production duo The Busy Twist inject The Kalambya Boys’ Kivelenge (also from 1977) with a slice of London club culture.

    Many late 70s Kenyan benga 45s were cut loud and heavy with often ludicrous amounts of low end squeezed onto sides that technically shouldn’t have exceeded three-and-a-half mins but frequently topped five. Perfect fodder for remixes these cuts were way ahead of their time production-wise and sound even more amazing considering the limited equipment Kenyan engineers had at their disposal in the late ‘70s.

    On the flip Sofrito’s Frankie Francis subtly tweaks a sublime Nairobi Matata Jazz track from the mid ‘70s: focusing on the wobbly guitar lines and letting the blaring horns speak for themselves. Consisting of both Kenyan and Congolese musicians Nairobi Matata Jazz were a perfect example of how rumba from Congo (which consumed East Africa in the 1970s) was blended with rat-a-tattat benga style Kenyan drum patterns and Swahili language vocals.

    These same rhythms are in full effect on the last track by the Gatanga Boys Band, edited and chopped up by Hide and Smile (Frankie Francis and Miles Cleret) - super fast instrumental benga guitar and drum interplay, heavy on the cymbals and dynamite on the floor


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