Originally recorded in 1970 but not released until six years later this is the sound of history and emotion coming to life. You can hear the hints of melancholy longing in amongst the joyous blasts and twists as horn punctuate and drums sizzle with José Mauro’s guitar strumming to the rhythm of it all charged, resplendent with feeling. You can hear the wealth of talent as the impressive array of musicians accompany the singer (notably his songwriting partner Ana Maria Bahiana) and it’s also that impact of melody and open tuning which strikes at the heart of it all. This new release comes with some additional tracks and it’s interesting to hear the rich range of influences informing the composition of the music from far and wide (you can almost hear the echo of Nick Drake at times), though all the while feeling uniquely, essentailly Brazilian.
Just ahead of next month’s album, A Pegada Agora É Essa comes this retelling of samba standard Luz Negra. It’s a perfectly realised and crafted piece of music which rolls out emotion like waves assaulting the shoreline of your imagination. Succinct yet resolutely transforming the historical spirit of the original into something which is altogether 2021. Fuelled by a hazy breath of horns, punctuated by the sway of percussion alongside hot double-bass and highlighted by the touch of piano this is in a class all of its own. Leaving special mention to Ana Frango Elétrico’s voice as it weaves in and out of the rhythms in perfect motion.
Release: January 15
I guess the singular thread spun throughout each of these productions is that of life assuring, soulful intensity. That, plus the heavy-duty amount of funk ingrained into each of the four numbers. Excitement drips from every pour of Daniel Maunick’s, Hurt Feelings as the rush of energised percussion plus deep bass start this new EP with a definite bang. The drums provide an array of intricate patterns while the instrumentation plays like it means it. A Chance To See Again sequences the distinct flair of Detroit next, with the succinctly irresistible Africana playing like a drummers paradise in Latin. The self-explanatory Black Magic (vinyl only) completes care of punchy piano alongside more hot, rolling grooves compacted by that signature intensity.
Release: October 23
Sometimes certain types of music sound like your life is playing on a revolving loop of one musical idea. But in this case Daniel Maunick takes the process of reworking the past over sizzling hi-hats and drums, and points it in the direction of enviable joy. This release has been limited to a run of 300 vinyl-only copies which begins with the Disco pump and grind of The Morning After. Smouldering over the night before the drums capture that certain point in time as vocals fly soulfully over the grooves, while irresistibly syncopated basslines keeps the energy levels elevated. Next are the Jazz-Funk flavours of A Vicious Circle, followed by the early eighties influences that achieve a One Nite Stand.
Release: March 1
I don’t profess any extensive knowledge when it comes to Brazilian music but I know what I love when I hear it. And there’s something uniquely timely about this exhilarating instrumentation which was first created at the peak of the mid-sixties when Eumir Deodato and team explored the fiery sounds of strident horns, sassy percussion and excitable organ solo’s. All of which sought to inject the listener with an unmistaken energy that still very much resounds today, exceedingly so. This reissue and remaster from the original tapes in ways defies its age exuding an emotional resonance transporting you directly from then to now. It also places a contrasting sense of romantic space into the slower numbers such as the eloquent Razão De Viver (A Little Tear), while inevitably hitting hard via the resolute blasts of the title track, Ataque. Later in life he went on to work with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Earth Wind & Fire, Roberta Flack and Aretha Franklin amongst many significant others and also penned the dancefloor classic Super Strut from 1973. In the meantime this rare slice of life is now available once again playing like a long-lost, though most welcome, friend.
Release: December 7
It takes everything to play piano like this. Amaro Freitas’ strikes the notes as if his life depended on it and that wild sense of abandon comes crashing throughout the arrangement, like you’re lost in a chaotic film noir searching for answers. The accompying drums and bass only heighten the tension colouring the drama with a zest for life and a supreme, extraordinary impulsiveness. This is an epic piece of music that transcends all sorts of things, emotions and potential. Go on. I dare you.
Release: October 19
Since when was music not meant to be challenging? It is also most important to note new life being breathed into sounds like these, refreshing them for the next generation. Ron Trent turns Ad Bourke & ROTLA’s brilliantly, fiery production upside down infusing it with all manner of excitable punctuation, exalting the very finest Jazz-Funk and Latin rhythms around. Breathe in the sheer bliss of it all when the beauty hits full-on at around five minutes as the full weight of instrumental intensity strikes. The dreamier intonations of the Original version are no less punchy though serve a slightly different emphasis, and looking forward to hear just how it will all play out over their forthcoming album. In many ways this is all about how the Drums challenge the Music for prominence. But either way the results are a total pleasure.
Release: January 26
You may find yourself in no better a location right now than listening to this excellent release via the invaluable label that not only acts as historian of beautiful music but also as harbinger of the new. Ron Trent treats us to what he’s great at fashioning the already sublime gem into something above and beyond. My words wouldn’t really do the sounds justice so feel free to relish below!
Release: June 16
Eloge de la Lenteur (Part 2)
The second instalment of Joss Moog & Around7’s elegant Jazz-Funk referencing experience is every bit a sumptuous as the first with the opening lounge factor of The Movement scoring particularly high. Next, No Trouble No Men ups the tempo driving the beats hard, while the gorgeous Deep Dip follows in a more melancholy vein. The Right Color then reworks a touch of Jazz with a vengeance, as the excitable Hot Saucisse again raises the temperature Ron Hardy style. Which leaves the down-tempo smoky vibes of Lunatique to round off another excellent set of productions from the duo.
Release: May 13
Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra
Where Do We Go From Here?
Far Out Recordings
Featuring the arrangements of Azymuth’s late José Roberto Bertrami and the legendary Arthur Verocai alongside a feast of other Brazilian icons the Far Out Monster Disco Orchestra have been at the receiving end of a sterling number of remixes recently. Now it’s the turn of Andrés and the LTJ Xperience who both rework Where Do We Go From Here? Detroit’s Andrés revisits the track for a second time producing an excellent and certainly crisper version of the killer vocal. While Luca Trevisi aka LTJ Xperience fuels the song with smoother, more traditionally soulful flavours. Either way this is quality guaranteed.
Release: May 27
Ok, so it may not all have been genius, but at least it was fabulous. Divine exploded all over almost everywhere by the early 80’s with hits such as the highly-energised ‘Native Love (Step by Step)’ and the gloriously trashy ‘Shake It Up’. The larger than life persona was originally christened by John Waters who called Harris Glenn Milstead’s alias “the most beautiful woman in the world, almost.” And began starring in underground films by the late sixties, becoming all the more infamous by the time of Female Trouble (1974) and notorious with the arrival of Hairspray in 1988. In between times Divine released a series of stunning records produced by (the criminally underrated, in terms of Dance history) Bobby O. Prior to the electronic sounds employed on this compilation the artist had a rockier sound, which certainly contrasts with the more polished collaboration via S.A.W by the later eighties. Anyway, sit back and enjoy the ride into oblivion.
Single of the Week
Swimming With Birds
Musik Gewinnt Freunde
What’s not to love about this debut for the label as Matthus Raman aka French DJ/ Producer Alexandre sequences a teasing, sensual series of engaging electronic notes together with pulsating beats and a surreal sense of occasion. Swimming With Birds is a captivating piece of music gets played over some eight minutes and I’d be more than happy if it was even longer. A first rate remix comes from Jake Chambers who lends the title a darker, more brooding atmosphere care off slightly sinister bass and tougher sounding drums. Next is Ambria which continues the theme of explorative synthesisers alongside probing drum machines, although this time round features repeating minimalist signatures that capture their intended mood perfectly – happy/ melancholy.
Classic Music Company
Yes it’s ridiculously infectious with nagging melodies bounding across your stereo and you could quite easily see/ hear this receiving big-time airplay across the coming summer party-time months? Built upon the breezy vocal refrains along with sassy organ pulses and funky drums and bass this also comes with two spot on remixes. First from Nick Monaco who toughens up the bassline and adds more exotic keys to arrangement offsetting the voices nicely. Plus, from Till Von Sein & Tigerskin Remix who play a shimmering line of Marimba over the enhanced percussion fuelling yet another irresistible take of this.
Release: June 8
Larrys Garage EP
Already celebrating ten years in existence now comes this killer release from Kittball. No surprises for guessing the who, what, why or wherefore behind the inspiration for this track: Larry’s Garage. Or burning Hot House Music as I like to call it. The beats are rough and edgy as the bassline punches deep while you may recognize the voice over which drives it all along providing a serious injection of impassioned energy into this inescapably great track. Tender Trip, on the other hand fuses contemporary Acid lines together with hissing hi-hats and feels all the more melodic in the process.
Release: May 26
Far Out Recordings
This is beautiful. So good in fact that the sun has come out in the north of England. Compiled by the labels very own Joe Davis to celebrate twenty of Far Out Recording’s quest to bring you the very best of Brazilian music this compilation is little short of a joy to behold. Not only because of the rich rewarding musical textures but also because no other music does the things it does to mind, body and soul. The release comes as the individual tracks plus on the second cd via an invigorating mix care off Spiritual South.
Release: May 25