Various Colombia! The Golden Age Of Discos Fuentes

Over two years in the making, Soundway’s latest labour of love is finally available. Miles Cleret has outdone himself here. Soundway releases are getting less funky, in the best possible way. Every disc contains at least half-a-dozen floor fillers, but it’s not always those that feature a break beat that do the trick. Cleret has a knack for finding tunes with the right kind of rhythm versus bass separation, which plays out well on a large P.A. The rhythms are rough and rugged cumbias, New York- and Cuban-flavoured salsa and more regional styles. The star of this show is multi-instrumentalist Fruko, who also made an appearance on Soundway’s Panama! collection last year. Starting off with one of Fruko’s crazed salsas, the song barrels along until a Fela-esque Farfisa organ drops in and starts doubling the acoustic bass for one of the fattest and most satisfying bass sounds you’ll ever experience. Distinctive keys spice up many of these tunes, and the topper has got to be the accordion solo at the end of the ten-minute "Descarga Na Ma.” Originality and experimentation abounds, especially the champeta sound of Fruko side-project Wganda Kenya, which is a beguiling blend of Zairean soukous and sounds from the Colombian coast. Not a duff track on this one, it will stand as one of the year’s strongest reissues. (Soundway)