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Palm wine guitar chords and space age organ lines

January 19, 2017

sir waziri oshomah & his traditional sound makers – volume 3 (1980, reissued in 2016) album

It is a rare record that gets a lot of play, is a suitable soundtrack throughout the day and is loved by all members of the Cortez family 😄

“Simmering grooves built from afrobeat-inspired basslines, palm wine guitar chords, space age organ lines, honking R&B saxaphone refrains, all of them laid over the solid foundation of the distinctive Etsako-rhythm, and held together by Oshomah’s confident, plaintive vocals. It’s quite a confection that serves well either for dancing or for quiet reflection”

Volume 3” is a Nigerian highlife record from 1980, and sounds as colorful and confident as Waziri Oshomah looks on the cover. Limited vinyl available from the Paris-based Superfly label.

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Omar Farouk

December 22, 2016

omar farouk – mash carnaval (power beat records, year unknown) album

It’s a small celebration: my Club Cortez blog is 10 years old?!  Yes, surprising to me as well. No, I couldn’t have predicted that the blog format is now (back to being) quaint and obscure. All I know for sure is that I’m still standing and still very much into music. Here’s a virtually unknown record to celebrate..enjoy my 977th post.

When you think of Guyana, music is probably not the first thing that pops into your head (for me it was “Where is Guyana?“), let alone that you are intimately familiar with the yearly Mash(rami) Carnival. Now you know that both country and tradition exist we can move forward 🙂

Omar Farouk aka Terry Nelson aka Halagala (1938-2009) was a one-man cultural and economic force in Guyana (source), opening a recording studio and running a network of labels from the late sixties to circa the early eighties. The release dates and number of releases aren’t known (yet), but an evening of online sleuthing suggests the titles I linked in the Discogs database are only a part of his releases. According to the source linked above, Nelson used recycled vinyl (read: melting down second hand records, labels included), which makes finding a clean-playing copy of one of his productions a theoretical affair.

I chanced upon a copy of “Man from Afi” earlier this year and bought it based on the promise of the cover. It delivered: the record is filled with lo-fi songs that can be described as calypso-not-calypso, combining forlorn vocals with random synths and horns. Lovely stuff, and a perfect winter warmer.

Happy holidays everyone!

omar_farouk_front

2016 in review: bonus beats

December 15, 2016

Dearly beloved! Now that everyone is familiar with my 2016-year-mix, it is time for some contextual bonus. I am not in the mood for lengthy analysis or overworked descriptions of obscure titles… But there are a lot of 2016 releases that deserve (further) listening.

If you end up listening to and enjoying only ONE of them, this post was not in vain. So without further ado, and for your streaming pleasure: 15 albums, compilations and reissues added a twinkle to endless sky of musical releases in 2016.

2016

Worth checking out
⁃    Sarathy Korwar – Day To Day (Ninja Tune)
⁃    Yussef Kamaal – Black Focus (Brownswood Recordings)
⁃    Andras – House Of Dad (House of Dad)
⁃    Don’t DJ – Musique Acephale (Berceuse Heroique)
⁃    Aleksi Perälä – The Colundi Sequence Volume I (Clone Basement Series)
⁃    Jay Daniel – Broken Knowz (Technicolour)

Best compilations
⁃    Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music (Numero Group)
⁃    Screamers, Bangers & Cosmic Synths (Triassic Tusk)
⁃    Jeremy Underground Presents: Beauty (Spacetalk)
⁃    Digital Zandoli (Heavenly Sweetness)
⁃    Sky Girl: Compiled by Julien Dechery and DJ Sundae (Efficient Space)

Noteworthy reissues & anthologies
⁃    Chris McGregor – Jazz / The African Sound (Jazzman)
⁃    Ahmed Malek – Musique Original De Films (Habibi Funk)
⁃    Johnnie Frierson – Have You Been Good To Yourself (Light in The Attic)
⁃    Equiknoxx – Bird Sound Power (DDS)
⁃    Sir Waziri Oshomah And His Traditional Sound Makers ‎– Vol. 3 (Superfly Records France)

Cortez 2016 mix

November 30, 2016

va – cortez 2016 mix (< dl or mixcloud) mix

Here’s an overview of the music that soundtracked my year. Most of my 2016 listening was about inspiration, comfort and looking forward rather than dwelling on the past. I hope you discover some new sounds… and bear with me on the opening track. Kanye West often out-2016nd the running year, and deserves his place. Now go, listen, and get back to me with a reaction.

Love,

C

cortez_2016_mix

Tracklist

01.    kanye west ft chance the rapper – ultralight beam
02.    jeff parker – cliche
03.    jameszoo ft. arhtur verocai – flu
04.    kamaiyah – I’m on
05.    anderson paak – the waters
06.    terrace martin – think of you
07.    ondo fudd – blue dot
08.    archy marshall – arise dear brother
09.    jamila woods – stellar
10.    marquis hill – fly little bird fly
11.    bullion – unless
12.    duke hugh – loft nights
13.    randomer – woodwork
14.    cliff curry – let love come in
15.    daniel schmidt – and the darkest hour is just before dawn

You Winsome Devil

November 21, 2016

winsome – untitled (sugar 12″, 2016)

The subway ate my homework, the dog was closed and the railway crossing was late. It’s a monday alright.
Plant your feet on the ground, breathe down to your diaphragm and put the needle to the record for a dubwise antidote. Bim!

winsome_sugar_001_a

How to wander an outpost

November 15, 2016

alain peters – rest’ la maloya (compilation, moi j’connais records 2015) album

Gently hypnotic paeans from the Indian Ocean.

Alain Peters (1952-1995) was a French composer, poet and singer from the little-known island of Réunion.

While he started his career as a “regular” rock musician, and was in and out of bands in the sixties, seventies and eighties, it is his more experimental solo work that has caught my ear.

Fusing the Réunion Maloya and Sega with eastern instruments and his own particular brand of saudade a individual genre of music was born: Alain Peters. “Rest’ La Mayola” compiles hard to find and previously unissued recordings from a man whose music combines European, African and Eastern culture.

Use it to light a small autumn fire in your heart.

alain_peters_front

Sweet Indeed

October 11, 2016

dexter wansel featuring terri wells – the sweetest pain (1979)

On the occasion of the release of the first proper Dexter Wansel anthology, I was reminded of:

  1. Dexter Wansel‘s work has aged gracefully, and an anthology of the work of this musician/composer/arranger was overdue.
  2. 1979’s “The Sweetest Pain” has it all: melody, hooks, crisp production and a sweeping sense of drama. Time for a rewind – or perhaps, a first encounter?
  3. Composing “Nights over Egypt” should be enough to guarantee being awarded the keys to a medium-sized city.

wansel