'A Day At the Carnival' with Dam-Funk
Every day may not be a carnival for Dam-Funk, but his music could convince you otherwise. The Leimert Park-based master of modern funk has the ability to transform the myth of Los Angeles into sound. Suddenly, the clanking traffic of the rush hour commute opens up into the empty speedway of "10 West." Songs like "Sunset" and "Galactic Fun" shine with the rare refulgence of fulfilled dreams.
Released on Proximal Records' impressively thorough "Narrative of a City" compilation, his latest track, "A Day at the Carnival," takes you down to the Santa Monica Pier at twilight: synths as bright as cotton candy, snares as staccato as a game of arcade air hockey, and kick drums as booming as a barker's voice.
The Stones Throw-signed funkster has been on an impressive roll since the release of last year's "Toeachizown," releasing tracks at a relentless clip via his equally entertaining and informative Twitter (he's right about Prefab Sprout) and indefatigably touring the globe.
Last Friday, he delivered a monstrous homecoming set at the Troubadour, alongside backing band Master Blazter, channeling the usual suspects (Prince, Slave, Aurra), but also the guests he brought on-stage, MC Eiht and Jody Watley. For full details, Watley's rapturous recap on her blog is recommended.
"The atmosphere at The Troubadour," Watley writes, "reminded me of the first time I saw Prince at The Roxy at his Los Angeles debut concert. It was raw, sexy and funky. Just as it was with Prince, it was easy to recognize that you were witnessing something transformational. Dam-funk blends classic sounds of the 70's and 80's with his own gangsta swagger and signature modern electro sound, turning it into a new and intoxicating brew."
The evening revealed the full extent of Funk's versatility, rendering a deliriously funky interpretation of Eiht's "Straight Up Menace" (includes profanity) and backing Watley's "Looking For a New Love" and "Friends" with his own "(My Funk Goes) On & On," along with more from his rapidly growing discography.
In honor of the occasion and Monday night's fourth anniversary celebration of his Funkmosphere residency at Culver City's Carbon, here are a few of the prolific artist's most recent cuts, best heard in a booming system while traveling at high velocity.
-- Jeff Weiss