Here’s the deal: Every once in a while one stumbles upon a group or whatever that just knocks you on your butt and you gotta broadcast your discovery to the world. Last night I accidentally clicked on some hairdresser’s site on MySpace — friend of a friend thing — and this groove emanated out of my speakers and enveloped the room in electro-retro-funky stuff that made me think “Prince, James Brown, and Fatboy Slim all at once! Oh my gosh! Who is this?” It’s not just beats and noise, this is stuff crafted by someone who has an appreciation for what made funk tick!
Aside: I really dig dance music. Well, actually, not much of it. In fact it’s gotta be big beat or otherwise derivative of 1970s funk for me to appreciate it. The ambients leave me cold most of the time, and one more repetitive washing-machine techno beat might indeed split my skull right open or possibly send me on a monitor-smashing binge through the house. But show me a good Norman Cook, Paul Oakenfold, or Adam Freeland productionâ€”especially if it features or samples Bootsy or one of his palsâ€”and you’ll get me in the mood.
A few emails later — and they responded immediately — I learned that the group who kicked my ears was Artist of the Year, a Montreal outfit, and the song was Big Night, which they graciously gave us permission to upload for your listening enjoyment. To go with their golden ear for ultimate funk beats distilled to 8-bit digital using vintage instrumental sounds like a pastry chef expertly uses marzipan, they have a sometimes, uh, sophomoric sense of humor. That lead to peculiarities such as this group portrait:
But their grooves are nothing sophomoric. They’re sophisticated, proof that the band’s done a lot of listening to Sly and Kool, Prince and the Time, and even Miles Davis’ On The Corner. They love their handclaps, a brushstroke that gives the cold, sterile digital palette with which dance music is made a human color, such as in “Yeah!!!”, the other tune AOTY says you can have, thank you very much!
Both cuts come from the group’s 2007 album Wreck La DiscothÃ©que, a culmination of nine years’ experimentation and the most sweaty-funky AOTY record yet. We look forward to the next release, slated for fall if things go as planned. They promise to keep us updated via their Facebook.