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SOUNDWAY

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.

George & Glen Miller

Easing

After furnishing us with a fine reissue of the Rebbles' take on "Sweetest Taboo", Soundway stick with the Caribbean, bringing us another soca-tinged treat from music's forgotten past. Long since a holy grail for dance floor diggers, George & Glen Miller's 1979 groover "Easing" perfectly encapsulates the melting pot of late seventies NYC, fusing disco, soul and soca into a swooning, soaring triumph. Restored, remastered and cut loud for the dancefloor, the 12” single features the original vocal on the A-side and the essential instrumental on the flip.

The Miller brother’s musical journey began in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 70s. During their teenage years they formed The Groovy Millers - a five piece band made up of George, Glen and their three siblings. After a chance meeting with Lord Shorty, they went on to collaborate with one of the Soca stars of the time and firmly plant their feet in the Soca scene of the musically rich Caribbean island.

Of the five siblings it was George and Glen that pursued a career in music, and in the late 70s the two brothers made the move to North America to develop their music style. Disco dominated the airwaves at the time and a studio session with the prolific Frankie McIntosh resulted in the masterpiece that is ‘Easing’.

Drawing influence from the blossoming disco and soul scene, George and Glen added Caribbean flavour to the New York sound to startling effect. Soft, subtle keys and guitars are punctuated with layered trumpet and violin riffs, complimenting George’s silken, restrained vocal. Frankie McIntosh’s arrangement shines through with what might be his finest work, placing this track on the mantle with other New York classics of the time.

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. 


Ahead of Esa's "Amandla: Music To The People" comp, Soundway hit us with a heavyweight 12" featuring Penny Penny's impossible to find 2001 kwaito house smasher "Shilingu" with a fresh remix on the flip. The original is a super tough, hypnotic, percussive, groove-driven anthem featuring chanting in Tsonga, celebrating South African icon Penny Penny’s Shangaani roots. On the flip is the acid-soaked “Shilungu (Esa & Mervin Granger ‘99 Mix)”, re-interpreting the track with key elements from the original which are extended into a late night, Chicago House influenced chugger. Esa Williams is an ambassador for the South African music scene within the crowded landscape of the European nightlife - balancing a hectic DJ schedule, a monthly radio show on Worldwide FM and various live projects. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Ooh yeah. Nice bit of tribal house action to keep me bouncing in my chair this Thursday afternoon. Back with a deep and techno Esa & Granger mix I'm sure you'll be hearing me and Mr. Levi Love smashing this record out at the heady summer dances...

Soundway Records' latest vinyl release offers two chapters of instrumental, lo-fi dreamscapes, exquisite homemade musical sketches, and ethereal jazz harmonies recorded direct to two cassettes.

In the Felbm project, Dutch multi-instrumentalist Eelco Topper steps away from his previous synthesiser-laden sounds as Falco Benz, towards a much looser, simpler and sketch-like approach. Picking up a number of acoustic instruments, he began experimenting with a Tascam 4-track tape recorder and allowed these sketches to flourish.
The result is Tape 1 and Tape 2, a two-part project stretching across fifteen tracks - encompassing fluttering piano melodies, subtle jazz drums, rumba rhythms and soothing ambience. The jazz element links back to Topper’s childhood. “I grew up playing drums, switched to playing piano at sixteen and in the meantime I produced hip-hop beats,” he recalls. “I went to study jazz piano at the Utrecht Conservatory, which I finished with pain and effort… I was interested more in electronic and present-day music.”

This mix of being rooted in traditional jazz composition whilst searching for something more contemporary is the perfect encapsulation of these recordings. Tape 1’s jazz roots are palpable and as things move into Tape 2, it takes on a neo-classical, psychedelic soundscape and cinematic quality.

“Tape 1” and “Tape 2” digital EP are released separately, but the full album download comes with the vinyl album “Tape 1 / Tape 2”.
Vinyl album comes with dual front cover that can be flipped over, reflecting the project’s 2 segment structure.

The Mauskovic Dance Band

The Mauskovic Dance Band

Entirely self-produced, the band has reiterated their favourite elements of the 70s legacy of the Afro-Latin psychedelic music of Colombia and Peru, interpreting it through the context of modern day Amsterdam. The output is a No Wave groove all its own, rooted in a deep love of champeta, Palenque, psychedelic cumbia, chichi, classic afrobeat and pic soundsystem culture.

Since the release of their successful “Down In The Basement EP” on Soundway Records in early 2018, the band have found themselves on a hectic touring schedule - not to mention being involved in other exciting side projects. Following stints with Turkish psychedelic folk rock group Altin Gun, and touring with the re-formed 70s Zamrock outfit W.I.T.C.H., Nic Mauskovic also teamed up with Dutch neo-psychedelic artist Jacco Gardner to form the “cinematic Balearic disco” duo of Bruxas (released by Dutch institution Dekmantel) - and together, he and Jacco mixed The Mauskovic Dance Band debut album in Lisbon.

Constantly in demand for live shows - not only does The Mauskovic Dance Band’s music flourish on stage particularly in a club, this time it was made in one. The album was recorded in the storage space of Amsterdam’s Garage Noord, a recent addition to the scene but already a favourite amongst clubgoers for its forward-thinking programming. Its industrial yet intimate nature permeates the album, lending it a pulsing, hypnotic and hazy atmosphere.

Heavily championed by DJs and tastemakers, they were selected by Gilles Peterson for the Brownswood Bubblers Thirteen compilation and nominated for Track of the Year at the Worldwide Awards in London. But 2019 marks the year to deep dive into the “percussione and spazio” sound of The Mauskovic Dance Band.

Soundway take another shimmy through our collective wantlist this week, hooking up a fresh reissue of an indemand dancefloor banger. Originally pressed on a 7" in 1987, "Hinde" was both African Vibration's final release and their finest moment. A unique piece of East African synthesised soul from 1980s Kenya, it was reissued by the label as part of the "Kenya Special: Volume Two" compilation in 2016, but following the recent acquisition of the master tapes it has now been revitalised to a standard surpassing its former glory, and cut loud on 12” vinyl for the dancefloor. 
Built on a sturdy foundation of ultra funky drumbox percussion (a la Andras Fox or Young Marco on a naive tip), the track rolls through whistle synthwork, soulful vocals and marketplace ambience while a thick and slick synth bass holds down the bottom end. 
For this 12" reissue, Soundway hand the master tapes over to recent recruit Julien Dyne, who continues his rich vein of form from 2018's "Teal" to deliver an extended, expanded rework complete with dubbed out echoes, glistening synth motifs and a gliding vibe. Think Domenique Dumont on safari and you're in the moment.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Not only have Soundway done us a favour by reissuing this synth soul classic from 80s Kenya, but they've allowed Julien Dyne the opportunity to transform the track into a super chill synthwave variation I can't get enough of.

Dexter Story is an artistic spirit in the truest sense of the phrase. From his work as a multi-instrumentalist for acts like the Sa-Ra Creative Partners, to his management role with Snoop Dogg and his turn producing Dayme Arocena’s 2017 album Cubafonia, Story understands the business from every conceivable angle. But over the past four years, Story has experienced a rebirth, a realignment of focus towards his own musical vision and story.

Initially inspired by the music and cultures pervasive throughout the Horn of Africa, Story translated his experiences into the album Wondem, followed closely by the single Wejene Aola featuring jazz luminary Kamasi Washington, both on Soundway Records. If Wondem was a brief glance into Story’s new creative vision, Bahir is a pinpoint refinement of that purpose.

On Bahir, he melds his world into the one he fell in love with so strongly while in Africa. One way in which he’s done so is by incorporating musicians from both sides of this coin. LA luminaries are featured throughout, as are African contemporaries he encountered throughout his travels.

Sudan Archives gives a show-stealing vocal performance on “Gold”, while the Ethiopian producer Endeguena Mulu adds impenetrable and psychedelic texture to the album’s title track.

So Bahir finds the polymath musician not stuck between two worlds, but as a member of both. We get Ethiopian jazz tonalities, Tuareg grooves, ekista dance rhythms, Afro-funk, Somalian soul and forays into more contemporary jazz rhythms, too. Angelenos like Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Josef Leimberg give the record its backbone, while African artists like the Ethiopian singer Hamelmal Abate give Bahir its glimmer and shine.

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...

Various Artists

Panama! 2 - Latin Sounds, Cumbia Tropical & Calypso Funk On The Isthmus, 1967-77

    Soundway records bring us "Panama! 2", showcasing the unique tropical music created in Panama during the fertile decades of the 1960s and 70s. If you think salsa is the sum total of Latin American music, then think again – the hot sound of Panamanian musica tipica and Calypso Español throws everything into the mix for a non-stop journey through Afro rhythms, carnival sounds, tipica soul and cumbia madness! Listen to the heavy tamborito rhythm of Los Silvertones and you'll hear where the instantly recognizable syncopated beat of modern-day reggaeton was born. Check the country-fied re-versioning of Willie Colon's classic "La Murga" – a perfect repost to those that think Latin music begins and ends with Shakira. Listen to "La Escoba" by Alfredo y su Salsa and see that the currently in-vogue sound of cumbia owes as much to Panama as it does Colombia. Writer and compiler Roberto Ernesto Gyemant trawled the length and breadth of the country in search of elusive records and reclusive musicians. Two years of digging through warehouses and old radio stations in search of crackly records and dusty photos has led to an exhaustive look at the musical culture of this fascinating country.

    The Mauskovic Dance Band

    Down In The Basement EP

      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.

      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".

      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.

      "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. 

        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.


        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.

        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!


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