Dip In the Pool – In Retinae (Music from Memory)
While Music From Memory has touched on the outer fringes of ambient, new age and balearic boogie, most of their releases have always been underpinned by a poppy sensibility. Yet with Dip in the Pool, the Amsterdam label finally expose their passion for pop unashamedly. Featuring the talents of Yasuaki Shimizu from Japanese band Mariah on clarinet, In Retinae is a wonderful hybrid of chamber folk, outsider jazz and 80’s new wave, resulting in a deep, emotional and melancholy lost Japanese classic. It seems the deep digging talents of the Music for Memory team shows no sign of slowing down in 2016.
Thesda – Spaced Out (Left Ear Records)
After scouring Trinidad for rare raspo, calypso and soca, Left Ear Records turn their attentions to American Jazz-fusion by reissuing Thesda’s 1979 classic Spaced out. Remarkably led by Eugene Hagburg, a Korean war veteran and head of U.S. Postal Service who reportedly once managed an annual budget of $12 billion, Spaced Out has long been a much-sought item for collectors around the world. Reflecting the hallucinatory drug-induced sessions it was recorded in (you can hear those smoking bongs throughout), this bold and imaginative debut album flirts widely from moments of dazzling beauty to periods of terrifying paranoia, resulting in album whose charm lies in its unpredictably.
Connie Case – Get Down (Konduko)
After making reggae and funk, King Spotty found a new creative spark in the synthesized disco sounds of 80’s Miami. With the wonderful vocals of Connie Case, ‘Get Down’ is undoubtedly the crowing achievement of this fruitful period. Bringing together the sleazy hedonism of disco, the robust sound of Italo and the joyousness of classic funk, ‘Get Down’ is a must have for any disco collector worth his salt. Like the ‘Voice of Q’, ‘Hupendi Muziki Wangu?’ and ‘Pink Footpath’, it is a vital track in the development of dance music, helping to sow the early seeds for electro, acid house and techno.
So Inagawa – Logo Queen (Cabaret Records)
Despite producing expertly crafted house music for over a decade now, it appears So Inagawa is only now finally receiving admiration his work has always deserved. In many ways, this isn’t surprising. Like the releases on Carbaret, the label he runs with fellow Japanese DJ Masda, So Inagawa tracks often trade in the functionality of club tracks for something far deeper, spiritual and hypnotic. These skills are best evinced on Logo Queen, a perfect after hours house classic which joins the dotes between the works of DJ Sprinkles and Delano Smith.
Mamman Sani Abdoulaye – Unreleased tapes 1981-1984 (Sahel Sounds)
Since the works of Francis Bebey, William Onyeabor and Ata Kak have been unearthed by diggers around the globe, an interesting chapter in African’s musical heritage has emerged. By fusing drum machines and synthesizers with highlife, afrobeat and traditional styles, Africa’s early electronic music is as interesting and vibrant as that of classic European or American styles. With their reissue of Abdoulaye’s Unreleased Tapes, Sahel Sounds delve even deeper into the African electronic scene by showcasing the dreamy organs and droning melodies from 80’s Sahara.