Essiebons Special 1973 – 1984
For most of the 1970s, Dick Essilfie-Bondzie’s Dix and Essiebons labels were synonymous with the best in modern highlife, and the producer’s roster made for a who’s-who of highlife legends. In the course of digitising his vast archive of master tapes, Essilfie-Bondzie found a number of Afrobeat and instrumental masterpieces that, for one reason or another, had never been released. Essiebons Special, released via Analog Africa, features a selection of obscure works from some of the label’s mid-70s golden age heaviest hitters.
Pretty Girls Love Amapiano 3
Kabza De Small, MDU aka TRP
If amapiano tracks and albums are notoriously long, designed to last for hours of party, Kabza De Small and MDU aka TRP might have this year’s record with Pretty Girls Love Amapiano 3. Spanning over 50 tracks, reaching almost six hours of music, the project will without a doubt invade the South African waves. It features mostly emerging artists, little known to the now vast amapiano audience, such as Acute Dose, Skroef 28, Stakev, Deeper Phil and many more.
But Only After You Have Suffered
Jamire Williams has an extensive resume as an avant-garde jazz and independent artist. He is known for applying the practice of sampling to modern jazz composition, beatmaking, vocals as well as impressionistic drumming styles. His new album But Only After You Have Suffered, released via International Anthem, is “a whole work,” Jamire explains, “it flows seamlessly and it’s meant to be played until you really understand what’s going on. It’s meant to be listened to until you really understand all the messages and the prayers and the screams.” We had made you discover the single “Safe Travels”.
Coming off three EPs in the last two years, Gina Jeanz releases Lucid Theory, produced during the height of the Covid pandemic. The project includes future bass, deep house, alternative soul or UK garage, while featuring a cast of African vocalists such as MOONGA K., Sio, Brad Knight, Jordan Baker and AliThatDude. Speaking about the inspiration behind her album, Gina says, “I had been fighting my own battles, particularly after the passing of my mother in 2017, and I was severely anxious and could barely create music without running into creative blocks and worse, doubting my ability to bring my ideas to life. This is my story, this is my healing, this is my theory”.
To celebrate the band’s 10th anniversary, Glitterbeat Records reissues the debut album from Brazil’s 10-piece instrumental powerhouse: Bixiga 70. The self-titled record is the bold, urgent and compromising mission statement for the acclaimed albums that followed. An inspired sound world where Afro-Brazilian traditions and retro and contemporary sonics seamlessly meld together. Keyboardist and guitarist Maurício Fleury recalls: “we could feel that we were doing something that felt important then and we tried to come up with a Brazilian answer to what we were listening to from abroad. I think that listening to this album nowadays can bring some of that hope that we shared at that time, shedding some light on the dark times we are going through.”
Flohio has been pushing out her own breed of gritty and aggressive hip hop since 2018. She unveiled her debut album No Panic No Pain in 2020, perfectly exemplifying her appetite for varied sounds: rap, grime, rock, electro… She now returns with Final Rage, a four-track EP seemingly serving as a waiting room for her next long-format album. “Don’t be shy man, nobody cares, that’s why my whole thing is ‘rage fucking rage’. I don’t just wanna perform, I want everyone to be involved”, she had told us in an interview about why rage was so present in her music.