Some sounds died for a reason. When you hear those raw, way-too-loud 808 drum sounds and a funky synth bass kick off a song, you probably picture either workout video on VHS or a socially inept 40 year old playing a Casio keyboard, or some other terribly awkward scene from a phase in history that should not have been.
But…There’s always a ‘but’ when it comes to critiquing old genres. No matter how awful a style is, it exists because at some point in history, in some place that has now changed beyond recognition, people liked it. That’s why someone made it. It has value.
And that’s pretty much the story behind 80s R&B/funk. That form of music that only lived on homeless people’s Walkmans for so long is getting an update courtesy of Germany-based Tokyo Dawn Records (yes, that is confusing). The Boogie is an eighteen track compilation featuring young producers from popular genres of the last decade experimenting with reverbed claps and impassioned vocals filled with sustained, over-vibratoed ‘Oooooooooooooooooooooh’s with one hand on the keys and the other diddling the pitch shift. What was once too corny to mix in becomes intensely catchy through the vibe it was trying to convey back when it first started: funk.
The collection is thorough in its coverage. From slow sex jams to up beat electro-dance music, the artists visit every corner of this unrelentingly sugary musical movement, injecting it with the appreciation of well placed cheese that makes a retrospective like The Boogie worth listening to. Just hear AD Bourke’s “Aries” below and it will start to make sense.
And let’s not forget about that cover! Looks like a close-up of one of the Fresh Prince’s shirts.
The Boogie is available for download, and physical copies will be available in January.