Finally, new original music from one of my favorite modern funk soul groups! (audio)
El Michels Affair have always been one of my favorite modern funk/soul groups since I first started listening to funk and soul music. Largely being, they never fell into the trappings of say, Poets of Rhythm or countless other bands like them who basically tried to remake James Brown tunes and instead of using funk and soul music as a foundation to make original music (or covers of Wu-Tang or Issac Hayes). So when I saw that El Michels Affair had a new single of original music on the way, I got excited. And as expected, they delivered the goods.
Moving to Bollywood for inspiration, “Unathi” and “Zaharila” are two cuts of drum-heavy, unpredictable psychedelic funk. “Unathi” starts off familiar enough, with some Spaghetti western-esque horns and guitar before some out of nowhere, almost progessive rock-ish breakdowns come out of now where before riding off into the sunset. “Zaharila” is the slower of the two tracks, but with a lot of the same cinematic musical tendencies and motifs, before ending in total psychedelic freak out territory. Both songs as instrumentals would work by themselves, but the addition of female vocalist Piya Malik of 79.5 adds some emotional heft to the two outstanding compositions (even though I can’t understand a single word that she’s singing). Overall, these are two excellent, promising tracks and I would absolutely love to hear these guys explore this sound over the course of a full album. Here’s hoping.
El Michels Affair’s “Unathi” b/w “Zaharila” is out on June 15th on Big Crown Records.