Eri Ohno – Skyfire (Rush Hour)
In recent months many vinyl collectors and music obsessives have re-discovered the wonders of Japanese music and much of that has Rush Hour and Hunee to thank, with the release of Soichi Terada’s Far East compilation last year. With their release of Eri Ohno’ disco classic, the Amsterdam label continue to unearth long lost gems from Japan. The definition of a cult classic, with its impossibly groovy baseline, operatic vocals and charmingly chaotic retro synths, you just have to revel in this one’s sheer flamboyance.
Ryo Kawasaki – Selected Works 1979 To 1983 (NuNorthern Soul)
If Eni Ohno is one of the nation’s more obscure artists, jazz guitarist Ryo Kawaskhi represents ones of the most famous exports from Japan. Carefully chosen by NuNorthern Soul, the album collects five tracks from 1979 to 1983 – a particular fertile period is Kawasaki’s career – which saw the great man work with Tarika Blue and Gil Evans. While brief, the album reveals Kawasaki’s innate ability to compose serene and languid worlds which you get lost in. ‘Hawaiian Caravan’ confirms the Japanese guitarist a complete visionary; a meeting point between King Tubby dub and the electronic textures of Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream, it still sound as otherworldly and groundbreaking today as when it was recorded.
Les Vikings de la Guadeloupe – Enko on Ti Tou (Heavely Sweetness)
With their brilliant Beach Diggin’ Series and Koute Jazz, Heavenly Sweetness have built a reputation as the go to label for unearthing lost tropical disco, funk and jazz gems from the Caribbean and tropics. The label continue in their quest with Enko on Ti Tou, which collects 14 tracks from Les Vikings de la Guadeloupe’s fifty-year career. One of the most famous exports from Guadeloupe, the band bring together rich and diverse musical influences of the nation with latin, jazz, zouk, funk and soul brewing together beautifully.
Work Dub – Caravan (Music From Memory)
Following the brilliant Napolean Cherry and Suso Saiz release, Music From Memory continue to unearth long lost new age, early electronic and balearic oddities with 1989’s Workdub, a mysterious outfit from S.t Louis. Psychedelic synths, jazzy flourishes and colourful melodies combine on a record that represents a meeting point between Wally Badarou, Larry Heard and Sly & Robbie reggae. Music from Memory continue to be one of the most consistent and imaginative labels around at the moment.
Plus Two – Stop Fantasy (Mothball)
A holy grail italo-disco classic from 1983, which has been finally been put back into print with permission from the band. With one of the most delicious and tough 808’s baselines on any Italo track ‘Stop Fantasy’ is the clear dancefloor classic, yet it’s the woozy, melancholic and trippy ‘Melody’ which is the standout. If Kate Bush ditched her glorious melodrama for the squelcy synthetic disco of 80’s Italy it would sound something like this!