Tuesday, 17 June 2008


Reviewed for 'Notion Magazine' should be out in July/Aug- Fantasic compilation of Barrio salsa, latin, disco and funk.Compliation released on June 30th, well worth searching out.....

Saona (Peterson and Sinbad Remix) Nora Morales

O Elefante (SSH Remix By PhilipCohan (Gotan) and Haaksman) Ray Baretto

I Like It Like That

Fania Remixed

Mr Bongo

If the devil does indeed have all the best records ; it may be fair to say he spent a considerable amount of time hanging about the inner city barrios of New York City in the 60’s and 70’s .
And if Lucifer was getting’ down at this time, chances are it was to the soundtrack of Fania records, the legendary purveyors of the Latin sound that grew up in the steamy backstreets of the big apple.

Salsa and Latin music, like so many great movements before and since evolved as in a cultural and musical melting pot. In this case as immigrant musicians, from Latin America and The Caribbean, arriving in New York mixed their native styles with the nascent funk, rock and roll and soul scenes springing up in Harlem and Greenwich Village.

Fania is the legendary label that grew up from this spectacular street tough party sound and after years of neglect has been bought back to life with this comprehensive collection of original jams and contemporary remixes. Not to be confused with endless comps of chin stroking obscurity, or insipid acid jazz style noodling, this album is the real deal; a double pack of incendiary party starting funkiness with added conga lines.

The first CD takes the cream of Fania’s catalogue and throws it open to an eclectic bunch of remixers and re editors. Lifelong Latin obsessive Louis Vega turns in a sterling reworking of ‘Mi Gente’ by Hector Lavoe, a deep down and dirty bass and brass jam with a sweet as sugar vocal. 4 Hero turn in a gorgeous and unexpectedly down tempo version of I Didn’t Want to Have To Do It by Ralfi Pagan, worth the cover price for this alone, it’s a sublime slow burner maybe their best work since their mid nineties peak. Elsewhere Ashley Beadle does his familiar but exemplary disco house thang on ‘Feel like Making Love’ by Ricardo Marrerro, providing a dubbed out groover for the discerning dance floor.

However good these reworking are however, slip on disc 2 for the originals, and they feel a little unnecessary. What’s to be said about this collection of dirty, sexy party tunes? The original recording, here all remastered especially for this release ooze authenticity and class whilst never dropping the groove. This is genuine good time music, played and sang with more emotion and exuberance than most so of the endless flow of beat music that gets churned out today.

Tracks like ‘Happy Soul with a Hook’ (the title says it all) by Dave Cortez could surely make even the most degenerate and sour faced Coldplay fan get up and shake their arse. Standout highlights include the good time call and response opener ‘I Like it Like That’ by Peter Rodriguez (everyone’s favourite summer time jam they haven’t heard yet); and the thundering percussion driven groove of Tito Puente’s ‘Watru Wasuri’
So if the devil does have the best tunes like these, I’m throwing away my bible and crossing over to the dark side. This is not only a great feel good album to soundtrack your summer, it’s a fantastic insight into a sadly overlooked genre of music boasting highlights as persuasive and addictive as most of the so called classics.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Sound of The Summertime -Herb Alpert Rotation/Rise

The sun is shining in England- it doesnt happen often so lets take this opportunity to get down.

I'm particularly loving the bad wedding dancing at about 4.30 minutes, Ill let them off because of the bongo solo though....

Daedelus - Love To Make Music To

Reviewed this for Three Bar Fire again. Take a look and have a listen, its the business.

Daedelus- Love To Make Music To (Ninja Tune)

Daedelus aka Alfred Darlington has been dropping hip-hop flavoured electronic bombs seemingly from the dawn of time, boasting nine albums and a score of EPs to his name. Released on Ninja Tune, this latest offering is billed as a imaginary story which begins during the 1894 Chicago World’s Fair and concludes a hundred years later.

There’s a danger of classing every Ninja release as significant; more often than not however their intrepid brand of fearless experimentation throws up obscurity rather than a stone cold classic. ‘Love To Make Music To’ (clever eh?) is a real revelation though; a melting pot of soul, funk, break beat , electro and dirty rave music assembled with the skill of any classic hip hop cut ‘n’ paste merchant.

Darlington himself cuts an interesting character too, a mid American versed in the culture of underground hip hop production (who rocks Edwardian garms at every opportunity) who apparently encountered a ‘Road to Damascus’ type conversion to the burgeoning UK breakbeat rave sound of the early nineties, on a family trip to London. It takes a true outsider perspective to create a tribute album of sorts such as this. Unlike someone like Burial whose rave homage is bleak and liquid in keeping with his south London location Daedelus taps into the uplifting, euphoric side of the rave experience managing to keep it upbeat without sauntering into mainstream cheese.

Whilst there are rave elements to these songs, the sampled intro from Lennie De Ice’s proto jungle anthem ‘We Are I.E’, for instance, crops up deep in the mix at one point, proving that this is not a by the book rave pastiche. It’s a potent mix, referencing at times influences as diverse as The Avalanches, early Moving Shadow, the sonic terrorism of the Bomb Squad and the experimental electro found on Warp in the mid nineties.

The album opens on a Balearic summer soaked high point, with the sixties-fuelled ‘Fair Weather Friend’, released as an EP last year, with its driven beat and naive female vocal cutting a definitive opening. From here on in the album flits from the dark brooding techno of ‘Hrs:Mins:Secs’ to the smoother R&B influenced cut of ‘My Beau’ and back again. It’s a strange brew that Daedelus throws up here, and in hindsight its all the better for it, with the only down point being an wilful eclecticism that makes ‘Love To..’ a little too hard to pin down