Posts Tagged ‘Psych Funk’

Badge Époque Ensemble

It’s easy to try to lump Badge Époque Ensemble into a category of revivalists — bands intent on running an idea of psych-funk glory through analog tape with a superimposed veneer of ringwear on the cover. Yet, while the band might have a few hallmarks that fit that lazy categorization, they’re a much more mercurial band than any genre misconception can hold. The band’s debut played off of the library funk hangover that’s fed sample crates and rabid collectors for years. The album leaned into instrumental funk, lost in a cloud of smoke that seeped deep into the wire work of the musicians and their instruments. Their follow-up may still remain one of their best pieces — an EP that leaned further into their psychedelic impulses, with vocalist Dorothea Paas lending a ‘60s humidity that sticks to the soul. The bulk of the EP went deep into the band’s ability to get lost in heady Parliament breakdowns and cosmic groove and its as close as they’ve come to letting complete improvisation take over.

They bring all of their strengths to the table on their second full length for Telephone Explosion, leaning away a bit from the instrumental emphasis, anchoring the record around a collection of soul-burnt tracks that melt their edges just a bit, while still pushing towards a sound that’s classic but never safe. Paas returns for a duet with U.S. Girls’ Meg Remy on the album opener and it captures a bit of the rain-fogged charms of her feature from the EP. Canadian crooner James Baley pulls the band as close as they’ve ever come to modern R&B, and it’s actually folk songwriter and RSTB fave Jennifer Castle who anchors one of the album’s best tracks, “Just Space For Light.” She steps away from her folk fragility to deliver a track that’s misty and wistful but steely as anything in BEE’s catalog. With the band pulsating behind her it’s a clear highlight, doused in the icy flute of Alia O’Brien whose work often gives the record its gilded bridge between funk, soul and psychedelia.

Now, I’m always going to hope that the band goes further out, and I’m willing to bet when these tracks are on stage each and every one goes hard into its own particular ether. The instrumentals that remain fit the bill here nicely, recapturing a bit of the Library feel that lets the band straddle the past and present like breaks being formed in real time. Self Help is not as raw as the eponymous or interim EP, but it’s great to see the band experimenting with their different sides, even when those experiments take them towards more traditional waters. There’s a feeling that the band is still in the exciting, figuring things out phase and there’s still plenty of time for the epic double LP mind-bender to come. For now, there’s lots of well-crafted pockets to explore over and over on Self Help.



Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Sunfruits – “Mushroom Kingdom”

Aussies Sunfruits dropping in a last minute dose of psych-funk to let the summer slide away on a proper breeze. The band’s been kicking around for a few years, but this one caught my eye with an Ardneks cover and a dual release between France’s Six Tonnes de Chair and Australia’s Third Eye Stimuli. The song’s pulses into view on bass ripple, liquid-lounge guitar and a barrage of horns, all filtered through a beach party heat wave vibe that feels out of step with 2020, but aspirational all the same. There’s always plenty to love from the South Hemi psych market and the band have been paying dues over the past couple of years. Yet, this double A single, broken up by interludes feels like the band grabbing onto the sound that they’ve been searching for all along. The EP is out September 25th. Grab it now in a handful of limited colors.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Bananagun

Like Goat before them, Bananagun are fusing the past to create a hybrid sound for the future. Inspired by the beats that drove him as an instrumental producer, Nick van Bakel makes the next logical step in reproducing the sounds he was always searching for. The True Story of Bananagun takes the portal back to the ‘60s but lets Cumbia and Trorpicalia bleed into Highlife and psychedelic funk. Polyrhythms flare while the guitars tie knots around fuzz-freaked passages. Vibrant colors are the only palette the band seems to trade in — augmenting tracks with horns alongside the saccharine harmonies of ’60s beat groups and buried garage throwaways. Van Bakel has assembled a mutable squad of players that chop and chew their influences into a stew that’s as catchy as it is colorful.

Playing on the tip-of-the-tongue familiarity, the songs feel like they may have filtered through your life at one time or another – Fela’s bounce, Os Mutantes’ skittered humor, Sergio Mendes’ breeziness, The Funkees heaviness, and the kaleidoscopic appeal of The Deviants and Ultimate Spinach all seem to raise their heads. Time and YouTube have removed much of the compartmentalization of the past, melting together eras and influences into stained glass curios with heroes sharing the picture with unknowns. Seems like Bananagun have a bookshelf full of these mix n’ match tchotchkes and they’re bringing the stories to life through the speakers. This one has an outdoor air to it, and even with a separated summer, this feels like the the best accompaniment to verdant scenery seen from the car window with this one turned up a bit too loud.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Badge Époque Ensemble

Like fellow Canadian jazz-bent psych troupe The Cosmic Range, Badge Époque Ensemble also dovetails into the Venn diagram sweet-spot that snags members from the backup band for U.S. Girls — the engine that drove her electric last tour. Instead of delving into the quaalude-jazz quadrant that the Range does, however, Badge Époque Ensemble are seeking higher ground with respect to the psychedelic fringe of funk and the lysergic lilt of soul. The band’s stacked with talent, and taking the lead here from Maximillian “Slim Twig” Turnbull. He and the ensemble attempt to embrace the acid-funk backbeat that blew through Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse, meld that with the detritus Stevie left littered through the ‘70s, and melt it down in a mold made in the image of Alain Goraguer.

In fact the last one hits especially hard, while there are grooves — tons of grooves, in fact — the album swims through an abstract narrative that feels right at home with Goraguer’s masterpiece La Planete Sauvage. Their eponymous platter is swung through with flutes, hollowed-tree organ ambience, and the stomach-punch crunch of fuzz hungry guitars. When they light into the almost eleven-minute centerpiece “Undressed in Solitude,” everything within earshot melts to sweet creamery coolness — even the molecules in the air seem to move just a touch slower until the song finally evaporates on a cloud of steam.

As a genre exercise this would make a great anonymous entry to the library music archives of the ‘70s slotting alongside admitted influences like Daniela Casa, Alessandro Alessandroni, and Piero Umiliani. For the casual traveler, this might be a bit too heady, but for the funk freak already scratching through the psychedelic tributaries jutting out of the Library canon’s core, this is a perfect fit. Late nite vibes abound here. Dim the lights, light a candle, and let the polyester polyrhythms pour over you.

x

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

CAVE – “Beaux”

CAVE’s latest has been a constant on the turntable here and its definitely headed towards the year-end list. With that in mind, there’s always room for another peek at the album. The band are embarking on a tour to support the album and have a new video out for standout track “Beaux.” Full of the slinky psych-funk that makes Allways so vital, the track is given a fittingly psychedelic video from director Krzys Piotrowski with VFX from Nick Ciontea. If you’ve missed out on the album up until now, then use this as a reminder to tap into CAVE’s breezy freak wonderland.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

CAVE

Though they’ve often ebbed and flowed over the years, parceling out their revered releases to a fanbase happy to put some rhythmic ripple in their daily dose of psychedelia, Allways feels like a true high point for CAVE. Cooper Crain has been infinitely busy, splitting time between production credits and the cosmic float of Bitchin’ Bajas, but CAVE’s hold proves too strong and he’s obviously loath to let the band lose their yoke on the pounding pulse that beats beneath the psych heart eternal. With this album they perfect the bio-mechanical motion that’s worked the wheels of CAVE’s core for years, keeping just enough of the motorik menace that’s marked their everlasting Krautrock itch and synthesizing it into a much looser slink. The album fishhooks a South American psych groove alongside ‘70s jazz-funk flutes, toasting them ever so gently in the mountain sun before dropping the hot rock down onto double tape deck speakers for a lap around the park.

Crain and his cohorts prove they know how to splice quasar-crusted ambience with the cosmic slop of funk, barreling out of the bunker like a 300 lb hippie who’s surprisingly light on his feet. This is what the whole hep world would be listening to if Santana and Azimuth replaced every pimpled teen’s Zeppelin obsession. There’s something to be said for an album that could easily fuel the soundtrack of ‘70s Scorsese and at the same time tune up the geodesic domes of the best hippy commune. CAVE has found their formula with this record. Whatever deep dives into the bins Crain and co. have been doing over the last couple of years is paying off nicely. The band had exhausted their search for a new take on the German Progressive niche they’d been exploring since their formation and with the gamble to dose the psych with a heaping helping of wah and wobble they’ve created their best album to date.

Something tells me that CAVE purists might split opinions on the new direction. While the band still has a hand on the cosmic tiller – tunneling through space echo wormholes on “Dusty” and stomping the “flame on” guitar gusto for “Beaux,” the record almost feels like its made by a different band. To me, that’s admirable. That’s the essence of evolution. To some, that might be heresy, but screw the psych luddites, this album was made to burn and if there’s anything you need to have stuck in your car stereo for the next few months, its Allways.

Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments

Altin Gün

Amsterdam collective Altin Gün wrap the past in a blur of funk bounce and psychedelic touches that pull from ’70s luminaries Baris Manço, Selda Bağcan and Erkin Koray. The album rockets through time, culling inspiration from Turkish folk songs passed down generations and welding their aesthetics to blistering saz riffs, woozy organs, fuzz-crusted bass and fluid guitars that push the album into a league on par with those ’70s inspirations they applaud. More than just a concept, though, the record boasts an infectious rhythm that drives the album past mere psychedelic freeform or nostalgia trip and marks it as a celebratory well of dance and euphoria.

Though the collective all contain some Turkish heritage, they also rope in their individual backgrounds, including ’60s Indonesian and Dutch psych scenes that were each vibrant in their own ways. Adding an additional pedigree, the album was mixed by vaunted Dutch psych star Jacco Garder, long himself a melting pot of influences from the wide spectrum of psychedelia. Together the group and Gardner have crafted an album that sparkles with life, fuzz, bodily rhythm and kaleidoscopic colors. Even for for fans not familiar with the lineage of Turkish psych, this works on several levels as a potent headtrip rife for volume and repeated plays.




Support the artist. Buy it HERE.

0 Comments