The latest project from Stefano Ritteri and Marco Salvatori, Spaziale Recordings is born with a mission statement that’s sure to pique the interest of all disco lovers, promising, as it does, to unearth rare and forgotten pearls from deep in the ocean of Afro, cosmic and Italo music. Kaleta. During his early years in Benin, Kaleta was raised on the heavy sounds of Beninese funk pioneers Orchestra PolyRhythmo before his musical journey saw him cross the border to Nigeria, where he played in a number seminal bands including Fela Kuti’s Egypt 80. On our pick, ‘Wake Up’, Kaleta’s powerful call and response vocal soars over a pulsing disco groove. Rolling bass, horns, guitars and synths all get their moment to shine in the well-spaced arrangement as heavy percussion drives the rhythm. The music has a timeless quality — aside from the subtly contemporary production, it would be completely justifiable to suppose this recording had been remastered from long lost tapes from golden-era Afro-disco.
They launch with an ultimate feel-good cut in the form of John Ozila’s ‘Funky Boogie’. Not exactly an anthem – it’s more of an esoteric secret weapon of seasoned selectors such as Horse Meat Disco and Dekmantel Soundsystem – but anthemic nonetheless.
The mid-tempo groove is driven by Ozila’s delicious phasing bass, subtle synth leads, arpeggios and space-age pads, enlivened by hazy horn stabs, and, of course, the fierce lead vocal. Fun and slightly camp, but held-down enough to avoid offending sensitive types, this is deeply infectious and sure to garner much-deserved attention from new audiences.