Believe it or not, there is a whole world of funk revivalist bands out there that you were probably unaware of. A quick search around the internet and you’ll discover that labels like Daptone, Ubiquity, Now-Again, Wah Wah 45, and tons more have been producing and releasing music strictly around modern bands who want to make classic funk sounding music. Of the lot, El Michel’s Affair’s debut album of almost all original material (saving one Isaac Hayers cover) has always been a stand out for me. For one, they were one of the first groups I discovered when I first started getting into this esoteric genre. But over time, even though I’ve had this album for years, I’ve grown to appreciate it more and more, and for ages I couldn’t understand why.
That was until recently…
Upon listening to the album a few times recently, I discovered the album is quite textured and atmospheric. It feels like an old 70’s cop movie soundtrack but never explicitly telling you that was it’s goal along. Listening to the album front to back, it feels akin to being slightly buzzed and meandering around a giant city, taking in all the sights and sounds at a leisurely pace. The instrumentation of the album does a great job of evoking these feelings as well, as the instrumentation and arrangements seem less about showing off the band’s technical skill (which they have in spades, mind you) and more about coming together as a unit to create sonic portrait. Not to mention, it’s got horns for days, which who’s really going to argue that being a bad thing?
It’s really hard to recommend just one song as the album is really best enjoyed by listening to it all the way through. If I had to pick a few though, the opener, Detroit Twice, Slide Show, and Creation would be my choices. If you’re looking for something different from your modern funk, or some place to start, or just a lazy afternoon soundtrack, you really can’t go wrong with this album. Definitely worth a listen on any format. Also you should definitely check out their other two albums, in which they expertly cover/interpret music by The Wu-Tang Clan and Isaac Hayes!