Soundway to drop ‘Gumba Fire’ – expertly curated by Miles Cleret and DJ Okapi

Miles Cleret and DJ Okapi have handpicked a killer selection of bubblegum soul and synth boogie and have further built on the South African canon. All tracks have never been reissued or available digitally before on Gumba Fire: Bubblegum Soul & Synth-Boogie in 1980s South Africa.

This Soundway compilation covers music that evolves from the disco-boom in South Africa and was mutating and morphing into a synth-orientated sound that was often stripped down and overlaid with deeply soulful vocals and harmonies. The 18 tracks here highlight a period where American-influenced jazz, funk and soul merged with local mbaqanga music. It then bridged into the 1990s when kwaito, pantsula and eventually house-music ruled the dance floors, shebeens and sent collectors into a frenzy (especially in recent times).

Miles Cleret is the label boss at Soundway and DJ Okapi is a world renowned collector and journalist thanks to his recent compilation work with Rush Hour and his fantastic Afrosynth blog and recently established record label. The pair explain: “The compilation takes its name from the band Ashiko’s track of the same name Gumba Fire that features on the compilation. It is derived from ‘gumba gumba’, the term given to the booming speakers of the old spacegram radios that broadcast music into South Africa’s townships and villages. The phrase later evolved into ‘gumba fire’ to refer to a hot party.

“Whilst the title may be based on a specific song it is of course ultimately emblematic of the whole album, 18 tracks that radiate a glowing warmth in both tone and in the hot intensity of some of the rhythms that spark throughout, whilst also offering an important and intoxicating insight into the history of South African music – [the] sound dazzlingly contemporary in the process.”

To preorder, click:

Crown Ruler debut is South African smasher – Focus’ Zulu EP

focus-zulu-crown-rulerNew Australian label Crown Ruler has delivered the goods with Focus’ Zulu EP.

Sello Mmutung and Keith Hutchinson produced this in Johannesburg around 1983 originally as a six track album on cassette. Jeremy Spellacey at Crown Ruler – a renowned collector,  DJ and promoter – provides some great insight with the releases liner notes:

“Keith Hutchinson, who co-produced the skeletons which would develop into Sello’s personal sound vision, explains: “Sello; it would be nice to say I know him well. We met in Universal Studios on the day of recording… I had no idea what I would be playing or co-composing – really in the deep end. I was there for just one day laying track after track… After I left Sello went it alone, adding saxes, percussion and vocals. What else happened – I don’t know.”

Zulu includes the original version of the much coveted Picnic (Moger), later covered by Starlight and Ray Phiri side project, Kumasi.

Pre-orders are being taken at Crown Ruler and the release is also distributed by Rush Hour.

Digging Surinam: eight year odyssey of Rush Hour’s Antal

Following 2012’s bounty on Kindred Spirits, Rush Hour boss Antal Heitlager puts together another sublime collection of obscure Surinamese disco and boogie with Thomas Gesthuizen.

Surinam Funk Force features Steve Watson’s Born To Boogie, and Surinam scene stalwart Sumy’s eccentric, synth-laden The Funky ‘G’ (Only Comes At Night, with more Surinamese fused killers like Explosion’s Wakka Mang and Ronald Snijders’ Kaseko Attack.

Antal explained to WTM about the finds and this lengthy project: “[The records were found] searching via fleamarkets, internet and friends. Thomas is also a serious collector of Surinam music. We have made contact with all the artists and found them.

“This project took more than four years. the first compilation I did on Kindred Spirits about Surinam music also took more than four years so in total this is already a project that is running for more then eight years Originally most of these tunes are b-sides or album cuts. In general Surinam singles have slow jams on the a-side and then sometimes a more freaky tune on the b-side. This is what we selected….But in the Surinam music scene these were the lesser popular tracks as it was more about the slower tunes.”

Click here for Rush Hour Records.