Reviews

Projections

In the Seventies, funk took soul and disco and fucked 'em up, twisted 'em around, and tripped 'em out. It got people to strut around like a chicken, telling them it was okay to get busy on the shag carpet. Funk took people to another place.

Strangely, the genre doesn't have such a great track record in electronic music. What has passed as "electronic funk" may not be as bad as Venice Beach slap bass, or -- God help us -- white-boy Parliament impersonators, but its funk has been remarkably uninspired: Take some hip-hop beats, drop some "funky" bass, and add a soulful singer, and you've got Morcheeba. Most of it is music ready-made for the Gap.

But that's precisely why Between Here and Now, the debut release from L.A. electronic group Projections, is such a pleasant surprise. It's funky, moody downtempo that doesn't have to wear a diaper onstage to get your attention.

What sets BHAN apart is its groove variation. The basslines are elastic, funky, and vaguely seductive -- slightly reminiscent of Motown soul, but at the same time skillfully accentuated with warm keyboard harmonies, blaxploitation guitar licks, some horns, and atmospheric electronica. The cuts have a palpable mood, playing like a soundtrack for a stoned drive down Santa Monica Boulevard at three in the morning.

Halfway through the CD amid soft maracas, hand drums, and gentle keys, a sampled voice declares, "That's the groove right there." It's a tacit acknowledgement to the listener: "You feeling that? Good; stay with it and we'll get you to where you need to be."

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Matt Fisher