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Reviews: Reggae / World


Review: Various Artists Panama! 3: Calypso Panameño, Guajira Jazz & Cumbia Típica on the Isthmus 1960-75

Label: Soundway

Among Caribbean nations known for producing music, Cuba and Jamaica tend to soak up most of the attention, yet Panama has also proven to be particularly fertile ground for indigenous rhythms, as this latest collection of Isthmus-originated songs proves. Beginning with Lord Panama's "Fire Down Below," Panama! Read more » 

Review: Various Artists Tumbélé! Biguine, Afro & Latin Sounds From the French Caribbean, 1963-74

Label: Soundway

In the landscape of re-released indigenous pop, the Caribbean sticks up like Mount McKinley—the briefest trend from the tiniest island can quickly be deemed box-set-worthy. Yet throughout all those calypso/ska/soca/reggae/etc. compilations, Soundway Records has managed to come up with something not only original, but exciting to chin-stroker and rump-shaker alike. Tumbélé! collects music from Francophonic islands such as Guadeloupe and Martinique that slinks Paris-café style while still shaking with Afro-Latin rhythms. Read more » 

Review: King Coya Cumbias de Villa Donde

Label: Nacional

As cumbia is increasingly embraced worldwide, it's exciting to see how this folkloric tradition has been given so many new treatments. On Cumbias de Villa Donde, Argentina's King Coya (of Zizek) is staking his own spot in the future of South American-inspired electronic music with no shortage of creativity. This collection of remixes and original material begins with the sultry slow-and-low riddims of "Villa Donde" and only becomes more colorful from there. Read more » 

Review: DJ /rupture & Matt Shadetek Solar Life Raft


From two of today’s most uniquely fascinating producers, Solar Life Raft arrives as less a mix than a statement of purpose: a repositioning of experimental bass music into the context of contemporary avant-garde artwork, as worthy of a gallery as the club. Read more » 

Review: The Very Best Warm Heart of Africa

Label: Green Owl

The Very Best may have been born in a London furniture store, but the music casts an obvious eye toward Africa. Read more » 

Review: Chico Sonido Chico Sonido

Label: Nettwerk-Kin Kon

Cumbia is a hot sound right now, so Chico Sonido could have easily turned out a blogger-friendly album of bass-heavy refixes and cumbia-meets-hip-hop mash-ups. But on his self-titled debut full-length, the Mexican-born producer—who currently resides in Los Angeles—has decided to dig a whole lot deeper, specifically into crates of psychedelic rock, funk, soul, and a myriad of Latin beats. Read more » 

Review: Fool's Gold Fool's Gold


Los Angeles group Fool's Gold’s indie-pop/African music sees globalization and the internet forging another successful cross-cultural artistic experiment. They have company—Afrobeat bands like S.F.’s Afrodesia, NY’s Antibalas, Chicago/Kenyan Benga project Extra Golden, and even high-profile act Vampire Weekend represent a new wave of Americans bringing the Mother Continent’s music to crusty festival goers. Read more » 

Review: Jahdan Blakkamoore Buzzrock Warrior

Label: Gold Dust

Buzzrock Warrior certainly sports an impressive resume. Largely produced by Dutty Artz head honchos Matt Shadetek and DJ /rupture, Jahdan Blakkamoore's album features high-profile guest appearances from grime don Durrty Goodz and fellow Brooklyn dancehall up-and-comer 77Klash, not to mention production work from Modeselektor, Jammer, Maga Bo, and Chancha Vía Circuito. Read more » 

Review: Tarrus Riley Contagious

Label: VP

Reminiscent of classic Sugar Minott or Gregory Isaacs, Jamaican roots crooner Tarrus Riley smoothly blends conscious lyrics and lover’s rock. Yet even though Riley’s a bit of a throwback, the production on Contagious is very modern. Read more » 


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