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World Editor's Picks, Summer 2014

World Editor's Picks, Summer 2014

About this playlist

It's been a pretty great summer for world music enthusiasts, and rather than simply recap our end-of-the-month features, we're taking time to highlight some of the more notable and interesting releases from May through August 2014 that might have slipped past your radar. As always, our focus here is on listenability, fun and rhythm -- the titles alone of our first three tracks give a good indication of what to expect ("'Afro-Funk' Groove," "Raga Rock" and "Fancy Footwork").

We continue to reap the benefits of a boom time for African reissues, with nearly every week seeming to bring at least one or two long-lost or obscure older albums from the vaults. Famed 1970s Malian ensemble Les Ambassadeurs were featured on two compilations of early recordings, while the Black Sabbath-influenced acid rock of Zambian outfit Ngozi Family was properly introduced to Western audiences thanks to the August reissue of Day of Judgement. Reissue label Awesome Tapes from Africa continues to uncover amazing material from the continent; their restoration of Senegalese singer Aby Ngana Diop's lone 1980s album is unlike anything else you'll hear this year. And Nigerian synth funkateer William Onyeabor follows up last year's triumphant Luaka Bop compilation of 1978-1985 materials with remix album What?! (check out Hot Chip's mix of "Atomic Bomb").

There are also plenty of new releases from contemporary African performers in our playlist, including several dizzyingly dense tracks from South African rapper Okmalumkoolkat's recent EP and atmospheric numbers from West African performer Awa Sangho. And although African performers dominate our roundup, you'll also find kompa funk from Haitian pianist Henri-Pierre Noel, droning world blues from Swedish jazz guitarist Ulf Wakenius, psych-rock from Khun Narin's Electric Phin Band (from Thailand's Phetchabun Province), and 1980s field recordings from the mountainous regions of the Philippines. Don't feel bad for missing these great recordings the first time around -- there's plenty of time to catch up with our highlighted archival digs and new releases here.

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