Mr Bongo's Pick Of 2022
It feels a bit of a shameless plug to put a Mr Bongo release at Number 1, however, whatever label this sublime album was released on, it would be at the top spot. An album that blew us away from the very first listen and has become a stand-out favourite among Bongo staff, friends, DJs, and collectors alike.
Though recorded on the other side of the world in Brazil, 'Estrela Acesa' is almost a twin record to Soyuz's album. Sessa's glorious album features several musicians featured on 'Force Of The Wind', including Alex Chumak (SOYUZ) who wrote some of the string arrangements featured. Sessa in turn, features on 'Force Of The Wind'. A modern take on 70s MPB records by classic artists such as Jorge Ben & Milton Nascimento; a phenomenal album.
A magical compilation from a magical fella. Having been up in Manchester for Luke's album launch it was hard not to notice the Mancunians love for Luke, the unofficially Club Cultural Mayor. 'É Soul Cultura' manages to be that rarest of things, totally eclectic, yet containing is a sound and feeling that threads throughout, linking all selections as one.
Sven and the Piano Piano team never stop surprising us with treats. On 'Sun Kissed' Sven transforms into full-on vintage instrumental soul mode. This amazing production had Bongo HQ's Gary freaking out from the moment the WAV landed in the mail. A superb record.
I get the feeling that anaiis may be under a lot of people's radar at the moment, but I'm sure this won't be for long. 'This Is No Longer a Dream' is an infectious, addictive slow-burn of an album that showcases great songwriting and structures. The release features Bongo HQ favourite CKTRL, and anaiis also collaborates with CKTRL on his 'Zero' EP. This is our unexpected discovery of the year, and we are looking forward to hearing more from anaiis.
The current crop of contemporary Brazilian artists is on fire, and Tim Bernardes' 'Mil Coisas Invisíveis' record is a colossus. Classic 70's MPB and rock-pop songwriting, yet tailored with a modern aesthetic, resulting in a truly beautiful album.
Not a bad compilation for a tattooed chap from Bournemouth ;) Great work here Miche, mate! A choice-curated selection of rare and sought-after AOR, Brazilian, soul, and jazz-funk treasures, all researched and licensed by Miche himself.
Another brilliant, underrated artist, Gianni Brezzo's (Marvin Horsch) records are always essential, and they keep on getting better and better. An ode to his Italian heritage, 'Tutto Passa' is a lushly orchestrated homage to composers such as Stelvo Cipriani, Piero Umiliani, and other greats. A delight!
9) Sault - Air
Forever Living Originals
Of all the Sault albums, 'Air' is the most divisive and seems to have a split opinion. Some people just don't get it, yet those that do are blown away by its stature and genius. The fact Sault can drop such a magnificent, ambitious contrasting album is a credit to the talented musicians involved.
Coming out of seemingly nowhere, 'MLDE' sounds like some of the best of disco, boogie and post-disco 80's pop whilst remaining entirely unique. A real trip from the mysterious Marxist Love Disco Ensemble.