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Egyptian comms

April 4, 2017

va – cairo calling #2 by milan hulsing

Didn’t see this one coming: a sequel to 2008’s “Cairo Calling” by illustrator (and globe-trotting music lover) Milan Hulsing. He says “the first one was more of a data dump. This is an actual mix

I agree with the latter – this is an excellent way to spend 66 minutes. Sweeping strings, unexpected funkiness and loads of Eastern flair. Thank you Milan!


[mix] Snakes in my boot

February 24, 2017

va – snakes in my boot, a mix by cortez / mixcloud stream

Yes. Time for a new instalment in my irregular musical diary. Here’s an 11-track multi-genre traipse trough old and new, major and minor, glossy and gritty.. you catch the drift. Download or stream above, curious to hear any and all feedback!


1.    sun ra – trying to put the blame on me (live in rome 1977)
2.    shabaka and the ancestors feat shabaka hutchings – mzwandile
3.    tommy mcgee – now that I have you
4.    awa poulo – poulo warali
5.    omar ft mayra andrade – deja vu
6.    dej loaf – snakes
7.    a made up sound – half hour jam on a borrowed synth
8.    jay daniel – paradise valley
9.    count ossie and the mystic revelation of rastafari – four hundred years
10.   solange – borderline (an ode to self care)
11.    jeff parker – slight freedom


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 XD

“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.


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!


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.


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.





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

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.