Karl Hector and the Malcouns Sahara Swing

Germany’s Poets of Rhythm have lately been name-checked as the godfathers of the retro soul phenomenon, which continues to reap large commercial rewards. They’ve stuck it out for 15 years and their tough, vintage sounds seem to be reaching more ears. The latest high-profile (i.e., non limited-edition vinyl) release from them is as Karl Hector and the Malcouns. The concept at play here is Saharan funk. This means loose rhythms, wobbly keyboards, woodwinds, Ethiopian references and a psychedelic feel inspired by late ’60s Chess Records. Really, these are just lazy but satisfying funk jams sprinkled with exotic elements. It’s best not to analyse this disc too deeply, as there are few individual elements to this disc that haven’t been done better elsewhere. But the disc flows well, with numerous sub-60-second, single-idea tracks that keep the longer ones from seeming overly repetitive. This has a looser feel than labelmates Heliocentrics’ recent disc but a similar exotic shuffle. (Now Again)