By Dean Van Nguyen April 27, 2021
We select some of the most crucial reissues and retrospectives recently released on Bandcamp, and take a look at the historical stories behind them. Whether it’s West African highlife, German post-punk, Golden Age hip-hop or California neo-psychedelia, we’re here to bring you the best new oldies.
Mail must pass
Mail must pass sounds like a deleted line from the Postman. In fact, this hitherto rare record offers funk from the 1970s in the vein of Funkadelic and Sly and the Family Stone. Originally released on Starburst Records in 1976, the album was recorded at various Hollywood studios and features the kind of sunny, rad-like vision of Los Angeles hell that Quentin Tarantino captured in. Once upon a time in hollywood. Mail must pass is composed and co-arranged by the mysterious Billy Ray Morris, who must have been a mail fan because the title track is an ode to the postal delivery miracle. The fully instrumental second half of the album features the medium grooves of “The Cult Theme”, its title confirming the project’s philosophy of being the archetypal funk sound of the era at its most swaggering.
The latest version in the always essential Habibi Funk series, RogÃ©r Fakhr’s Alright anyway features acoustic songs that would have felt comfortable being played in the 1960s folk scene in Greenwich Village, New York. It was recorded in Beirut in the late 1970s. Half of the tracks were released as part of a hand-pressed cassette series of less than 200 copies distributed to friends, while the other half were released. previously unseen. It’s amazing how rare this music was considering its quality. The smooth guitar playing and straightforward melody of “Lady Rain” and the title song are reminiscent of the delicate sound of Kings of Convenience, although Fakhr’s vocals retain a hippie aesthetic. Far from a note, Alright anyway is colored by splashes of psych and pop. âExpress Lineâ is a modest blues jam, while the more funky and fleshed out âHad To Come Back Wetâ could pass for a Todd Rundgren single. Dedicated to the light on the music of the Arab world, Habibi Funk has already covered many stylistic bases, from Sudanese and Ethiopian jazz, to Libyan fusion, including devotions. Alright anyway allows the series to show another distinct side of the region.
A well-played vibraphone is one of the coolest sounds you can imagine. Roy Ayers knows this to be true, as does Khan Jamal. Released in 1984 and freshly reissued by Jazz Room Records, Infinity teaches an in-depth study of idiophone composition, Jamal’s soft mallets hitting the bars in blues patterns. He is backed by a roster of talented players which includes Byard Lancaster, Clifton Burton on harmonica, drummer Sunny Murray and pianist Bernard Sammul; With their support, the aptly titled “Lovely Afternoon” presents Jamal’s play at its most enjoyable. Later, Sammul’s spirited post-bop composition, “The Angry Young Man,” ends the set at its most energetic point.
Flight. 2: The Colombian years / Mi Nuevo Ritmo
The past two months have seen two reissues that pull Peruvian musician Alfredo Linares’ archives released on two different labels – something that was presumably unforeseen. Rocafort Records, based in Switzerland, put together six tracks to form Flight. 2: The Colombian years, a sequel to an ensemble released last year that compiled songs for an earlier period in Linares’ career. The collection includes songs recorded in the early 1970s, when Linares traveled to Colombia and became involved in the salsa scene. Five of the six tracks feature the band Su Salsa Star: âTiahuancoâ includes everything from congas to claps to create the percussion rhythms with lively brass riffs. Meanwhile, Vampisoul reissued Linares’ 1974 album. Mi Nuevo Ritmo. While the recording feels rougher, the album still features seemingly improvised high-energy flutes, touches and howls between the band members that epitomizes Linares’ non-stop party music style.
Saxophonist Kohsuke Mine was a leading member of the new Japanese school of jazz musicians that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Retrieved from the archives as part of BBE’s unrivaled J Jazz series , the restoration of Mine’s first album First in its rightful place in history is welcome. The line-up here is stellar: Mine is joined by Masabumi Kikuchi, one of the few artists of the time to match his greatness, as well as two American players, bassist and Chet Baker collaborator Larry Ridley, and drummer Lenny. McBrowne, who worked with Billie Holiday and Thelonious Monk. Before the arrival of Mine and Kikucki, Japanese jazz owed a heavy debt to Blue Note Records and others, but they were among the most important artists to break with this sound and forge new sonic paths. With its dense textures, its not very obvious solos, its angular melodies, its experimental arrangements and its catchy rhythmic sections, First sums up this inventiveness. Their version on Thelonious Monk’s âStraight No Chaserâ is the fun group, with Kikuci in a solo key duel with Ridley at one point. The stand-alone performances of mine are also amazing: see the saxophone work on “McPhee”. Far from a note, the group also offers you stoned midnight jazz sounds on “Little Abbi”.
Francisco Mora Catlett
Mora I & II
Francisco Mora Catlett’s two-part opus Mora was a major statement from the Mexican-American drummer. A former session musician in Mexican City and a member of Sun Ra’s mighty Arkestra, Mora recorded many diverse experiences before creating his self-titled debut album. Mora I. Released in 1986, it is a melting pot of Latin jazz and samba rhythms. The arrangements feature classic rumba percussion and soft brass riffs to form something groovy and graceful. The suite was recorded soon after and features more extensive arrangements, with horns, pan steel drums and many other instruments, resulting in an even more brutal sound.
The career of Nigel Rolfe – a native of the Isle of Wight who moved to Ireland in 1974 – has seen him use art, installation, photography and video to probe the influence of history on the individual and society. Interesting way, Island stories– released on Allchival, the reissue of Irish label All City – feels great the year it was released, 1986. There’s that creeping sense of technology that’s becoming more and more prominent around the world: the opener ” African Flower “ begins with the organic vocals of a choir that quickly fade into a striking synthetic percussion sound, while ‘Made in Japan’ feels almost constructed from sounds coming from revolutionary personal electronics that almost defined the vision of the West of the country in the 1980s. Island stories, Rolfe combines drum machines with heavy sampling, even splicing long segments of dialogue into his audio collages. It’s a strange, extraterrestrial, but often captivating record.