Dam-Funk drops Beats in Space mix, headlines the El Rey (Updated: DJ Quik announced as special guest)
It's strange to think that Dam-Funk has only been officially releasing music for two years. Our Internet-addled memories are short, and it's difficult to remember the benighted era before the Pasadena-raised potentate of modern funk made his first appearance on wax (on this Baron Zen remix, for those keeping score).
Two years ago, the word boogie funk was rarely used and if any element of funk was tapped into, it was the more psychedelic-skewing variety pioneered by George Clinton. Boogie and the post-disco era of Slave and Aurra was often wrongly lampooned for its kitschy costumes and sleek pop sheen. And while some of the costumes may have been garish, there was no denying the musicianship, and indelible groove of the artists who thrived during the era between Prince's "Controversy" and the dawn of Teddy Riley and New Jack Swing.
But for many of us, it took Dam-Funk to shed light on the under-appreciated gems that owned roller-rink dance parties and backyard boogies during the Reagan years. His Monday night Funkmosphere parties at Carbon have helped dust off these technicolor sounds, but he's hit the road hard, rocking shows all over the globe, re-fortifying the funk. Wrongly branded a revivalist, he's incorporated a hip hop attitude and grit, while playing chords and keytar lines so bright that they can blind you if you listen too long. Restlessly progressive, he's dipped his toes into rock and electronic synth pop, and worked with everyone from gangsta rappers MC Eiht to local avant-garde linchpins like Nite Jewel and Ariel Pink.
Not only has his influence helped rehabilitate the reputations of oft-forgotten great talents like Adrian Gurvitz (who makes a prominent appearance on Dam's "Beats in Space" mix below), but he's inspired musicians like Onra, Salva and countless others to color their music with funkier chords and the long-lasting influence of boogie.
One of the constants has been him regularly dropping free tunes on his Soundcloud and mixes for almost any website who asks. The latest was for the aforementioned Beats in Space, and includes a half-dozen unreleased solo jams. He and his label Stones Throw also recently have released the Direct to Disc performance that he cut in August. A video of one of the songs is below.
As the headline of this post intimates, he's playing a homecoming show at the El Rey on Thursday night, backed by Master Blazter and featuring opening sets from DJ Harvey and a yet-to-be-announced special guest (just announced as DJ Quik). If you have yet to see his show, you would be hard pressed to find anyone making music this raw, honest or (obviously) funky. And if you've already seen his show, no more needs to be said.
MP3: Dam-Funk – Beats in Space Mix (10/25/11)
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo: Dam-Funk. Credit: Fergus McDonald