Nkono Teles – Fiesta Dancin’, 198?

Guest post by Josh Permenter

Nkono Teles was a Cameroonian-born multi-instrumentalist and producer based in Nigeria. He worked under numerous pseudonyms on projects that spanned multiple genres, from disco and reggae, to work with huge artists like King Sunny Adé and Fela Kuti. Fiesta Dancin‘, his first solo record, stands alone as a superb African synth disco masterpiece, on which Teles was responsible for bass, drum machine, electric piano, organ, guitar, synth, lead vocals, production, and writing. Every song is bubblegum roller boogie perfection, guaranteed to fill any dance floor with irresistible electro joyfulness.

A note that this really suffers on laptop speakers, so save it for better speakers or headphones please!

download

David Astri – Do It Right, 1983

Very mysterious record! The only release from Baltimore artist David Astri, and also the only release (I think) from PCM Records. Rereleased (I think) in 2014 on now-defunct Award Records, and not much information available about any of it.
This is essentially a boogie funk record, and for fans of the genre, it doesn’t get much better than “Get Down To It” and “Do It Right” (RIYL George Benson, RAH Band, etc.). The song that I immediately fell in love with, and has since wound up on an embarrassing number of mixes that I’ve made, is “Safe and Sound,” which sort of reads like a slow funk ballad, but between the inadvertently creepy lyrics delivered with saccharine little girl breathiness, the unexpected moments of warped dissonance, the impeccable percussion details, and the oddly muffled production, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever heard. The seven minute closer, “Dancing Digits,” is an ecstatic instrumental disco stomper, but with what sounds an awful lot like an acid house synth line riding on top. Oh, there’s also a five minute tropical steel drum interlude that sounds like it could score a ride at Disneyland. In a good way, sort of.

I really, really wish this record were 15 minutes longer. And speaking of, apparently there are four unreleased tracks floating around from these sessions–if anyone has them, I’d really love to hear, will bake you cookies, etc.

Harry Case – In A Mood, 1989

An untouchable album from outsider American guitarist Harry Case. Clever drum machine programming and synth lines, effortless smooth jazz guitar, and a breezy, new age sensibility. Each song is uniquely crafted, hitting a funky hotel lobby samba on “Midnight Samba” and classical guitar/synth reggae on the album’s moody title track. “Chasing The Goon” and “Jam (At Your Party)” are high tempo party tracks where Case’s jazz guitar and drumming are in full force. The percussive new age-y “Native Drums” is reminiscent of Wally Badarou’s Echoes.

“Carry Me Home” (lyrics and song below) simultaneously gives me the chills and makes me smile, as it feels like the most positive song ever written. Just wish it were a bit longer..
I see the way to carry me home 
I see the way to home
Sometimes I am lost in sin I can’t find the power deep with me.
(I see the way to home)
I raise my voice up to the sky and things get better by and by.
(I see the way to home)
Don’t you know that I 
I see the way to carry me home 
I see the way to home
So don’t give up if you feel pain cause nothing ever stays the same
(I see the way to home)
If you think things are at an end, just turn around and start again.

I hope this album will be on lifelong rotation for you and yours. Many thanks to Contain Yr Brain for the tip. A perfect 10!

Marcos Valle – Marcos Valle, 1983

Guest post by Wesley P. Allard
Marcos Valle’s Marcos Valle is a quintessential example of Brazilian boogie. Valle began writing and recording this record following his return home to Rio in 1980 after an extended furlough in Los Angeles where he met future collaborator and legendary R&B and Soul composer, Leon Ware (whose talents are demonstrated on this album a number of times, namely on linear party tracks like “Dia D,” which he wrote and recorded). The record’s single, opening track “Estrelar,” was successfully marketed as “workout music” by Brazilian record label Som Livre, which contributes to the kitschy allure imposed by the dazzling album cover.
This album is cooling exotic bliss in a sonic form. It flows seamlessly from tracks like “Naturalmente” to “Viola Enluarada” like some hyper-evolved liquid hell-bent on making you relax in ecstasy. Mentally isolate any one slice of this album (e.g. the production, arranging, melody, etc.) and you’ll be hypnotized by shimmering rays of sonic pulchritude. Overall this album is a consistently funky piece of jazz-infused soul that doesn’t compromise its Latin roots, and it definitely invokes the same dancing proclivity attached to those roots. From gliding and skipping bass, to elegant samba standards like “Samba De Verao,” to the warm embrace of a Fender Rhodes, this album is nearly perfect and requires not a single press of the “skip” button…devour in its entirety!