This World and Blues releases

World: TOM ZE | Brazil Classics 4 (Luaka Bop) Blues: RAINER | Alpaca Lips/Worried Spirits/Texas Tapes (Glitterhouse) World: VARIOUS ARTISTS | Bollywood Funk (Outcaste)
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The Independent Culture

World: TOM ZE | Brazil Classics 4 (Luaka Bop)

World: TOM ZE | Brazil Classics 4 (Luaka Bop)

Nothing exemplifies the endearing oddness of David Byrne's Luaka Bop label more than this set by Brazilian tropicalista Ze. On a series of 1970s recordings, Ze creates a mesmerising mix of Bahian samba and eccentric soundscapes in which the rippling textures of acoustic guitar and percussion are decorated by ethereal vocals and keyboard sounds. According to the sleeve-notes, Ze's secret lies in what the Brazilians call cultural cannibalism, "a fusion and creative collision that reflects the economic and cultural conflicts that continue to be endemic to Brazilian life". Right you are then. Phil Johnson

Blues: RAINER | Alpaca Lips/Worried Spirits/Texas Tapes (Glitterhouse)

Few bluesmen have a biog to match Rainer Ptacek, who fled East Berlin with his Czech father in 1954 to end up on the south side of Chicago.Now, German label Glitterhouse have released the first three of a planned five-album series aimed at keeping his music in print. Alpaca Lips (1996) is quite extraordinarily good, with Rainer's bottleneck guitar and unshowy Dylan-ish vocals heard on a series of acoustic blues grooves. "Pastime Paradise" - which we know as "Gangster's Paradise" - is simply stunning. Worried Spirits is a solo set from 1992, while Texas Tapes (by Rainer and Das Combo) is mainly bar-room blues. PJ

World: VARIOUS ARTISTS | Bollywood Funk (Outcaste)

This is a selection of Bollywood movie themes from the 1960s and 1970s, compiled for the label by DJs Harv and Suni, who evidently grew up in Southall on a diet of the stuff, and have since trawled Asian record stores in search of ever more outré recordings. The result is impeccably hip, with enough sleazy James Bond-style horn and percussion grooves, plus sitar and vocal toppings, to send any retro-soundtrack fan into kitsch heaven. It's impossible not to marvel at the jazzy break beats of the theme from Shalimar. Play the album at a party or barbecue and your street-cred will soar through the roof. PJ