Lata Ramasar – The Greatest Name I’ve Ever Heard (Invisible City Editions)
Cosmic Trinidad Disco. Twisted Soca. Ancient tribal hymns. Sultry Italo. By digging in the farthest corners of the globe, Brandon Hocura and Gary Abugan of Invisible City Editions have sure found their fair share of oddball delights. Yet with the label’s reissue of Hindustani singer Lata Ramasar’s The Greatest Name That Ever Lived, the Toronto pair have certainly stumbled upon their most beguiling and idiosyncratic release yet. A glorious cacophony of stabbing synths, lo-fi drum machines and maniacal high pitched vocals, the track is certainly not for the faint hearted. Like another favourite of Floating Points and Four Tet’s, Gloria Ann Taylor’s sumptuous ‘Love is a Hurting Thing’, these imperfections are central to the tracks genius. A glorious mess indeed.
Finis Africae – Amazonia (EM Records)
With the release of Joan Bilboni and Suso Saiz on Music from Memory, there has been a growing interest in rare and often forgotten Balearic oddities from Spain’s experimental scene in the 1980s. Yet where these carefree and breezy records would slot nicely into a classic Jose Padilla Café Del Mar set, at the time fellow Spanish outfit Finis Africae presented a work which was far more textured, complex and timeless than their contemporaries. Informed by Jon Hassell’s and Brian Eno’s Fourth World sound, the band’s best work can be found on Amazonia, where the ancient meditative sounds of bird calls, flutes and harps are fused with electronic sounds of an intriguing, yet often frightening future. This is a record that exists in a space entirely of its own, managing to be both futuristic and retrograde.
Winston Edwards – Natty Locks Dub (Studio 16)
With the only copy on discogs going for nearly $3,000, it is fair to assume Winston Edwards 1974 classic ‘Natty Locks Dub’ has been one of the highly sought after dub gems in living memory. Recorded at Lee Perry’s Black Ark studio and Joe Gibb’s recording complex on Retirement Crescent, ‘Lock Dub’ is notable for its jazz stylings and traditional African influences, resulting in one of the deepest and most spiritual dub albums ever recorded. If you ever doubted the claim that vinyl sounds deeper and warmer than digital recordings, please play Natty Lock Dub on a good sound system! A record designed to be heard on vinyl
Triode – On N’a Pas Fini D’avoir Tout Vu (SouffleContinu Records)
Although often much-maligned for its self indulgence, when heard in the right content with the right band, prog rock can be one of the most transcendental and imaginative forms of music around. Especially when it’s tinged with psychedelic and jazz, like on French band Triode’s exquisite 1971 album On n’a Pas Fini D’avoir Tout Vu. Featuring the usual expert musicianship we have come to expect from prog-rock, the album is notable for the flute interludes by Michel Edelin. In many ways, by mixing the world of psychedelia and jazz, Triode present an early example of the rock/jazz fusion genre that would be mastered by Billy Cobham, Chick Corea and Jan Hammer in years to come.
Kiki Gyan – 24 Hours In a Disco (Soundway)
With the release of Kiki Gyan’s 24 Hours in a Disco Soundway continues to be the label to look out for when it comes to uncovering the best African funk and disco. As a favourite of Hunee and Antal and someone once hailed as Africa’s answer to Stevie Wonder before being voted eighth in the ten best keyboardists in the world, it comes as no surprise that Gyan’s music lies in an almost Patrick Adam-esque intuition for synthesised disco. Joyous, uplighting and on just the right side of cheesy, it’s a fantastic introduction to an artist who soon fell into obscurity.