When Can' s song Spoon was turned into the theme song for a popular German television series and sold a staggering 300,000, the Krautrock kings sank their unexpected cash windfall into the purchase of a cinema, which they naturally made over into a studio/commune set-up. Fortunately, none of the money was put toward sweeting up their Ege Bamyasi album. Despite the fact that it was recorded in 72, the upfront breakbeat-bashing of drummer Jaki Liebezeit makes tracks like Pinch and the proto-hiphop Vitamin C sound like they could've been cut yesterday. Pick up Mute 's brilliantly remastered version of Ege Bamyasi and find out why PiL and Madlib both found Can's time warp triumph so inspiring.
The January release of another instalment of Ubiquity 's great Rewind! mixtape-style covers series is becoming an anticipated annual event. Volume 4 maintains the high standard with Orgone 's Afrobeat revision of Funky Nassau, Willis 's clever acoustic overhaul of Cameo 's Word Up, John Beltran 's batucada-enhanced crack at the Fania All-Stars ' Vente Conmigo, while Quantic 's soulful sidekick, Alice Russell , heats up the White Stripes ' 7 Nation Army. Those who missed the limited 7-inch of Sharon Jones funking up This Land Is Your Land will be relieved to know it's here in all its bangin' glory.
Horace Silver had an ambitious plan to kick off the 70s with his United States Of Mind trilogy of metaphysical message songs involving keyboards, electric bass and lots of singing. It didn't go over well with the trad jazz holdouts hoping for something acoustic and boppish, but for R&B fans looking for something deeper, spiritually and musically, it's an awesome trip. Sadly, sales were abysmal and the three albums were largely forgotten until tracks like the Salome Bey -sung Acid, Pot Or Pills and Soul Searchin' started getting club play on the UK during the 90s rare groove blip. Blue Note has belatedly released all three phases as a two-disc set, likely in hopes of cashing in on Norah Jones 's cover of Peace, which got serious airplay post-9/11. The reappearance of Andy Bey 's majestic original take leaves Jones's pale imitation sounding completely superfluous.
Had the Sound Triangle label released only the sought-after Coke and La Crema albums, it would still be considered one of the greatest salsa funk indies of the 70s. But the mysterious Hialeah, Florida-based operation was also behind the ultra-dope Ray Fernandez album Ray And His Musical Court. It was prized by funk collectors for the house-rocking dance-floor bomb Cookie Crumbs, as well as the nutty-cool sleeve shot of the crowned Fernandez posing with his regally outfitted family, but the budget-priced repro currently circulating is also well worth grabbing for the lesser-known workout Soul Freedom, highlighted by Gary Gottfried 's monstrous bass clarinet blasts throughout.