ALBUM REVIEW: Dam Funk – Adolescent Funk




75 — [Rating Scale]

No, that is not Rick James and his posse. To those in the know, Dam Funk is the real deal, an aficionado of boogie funk who has been djing and mixing tapes since the 80s. Discovered by Stones Throw's head honcho Peanut Butter Wolf, Damon G. Riddick released his first collection of tunes, Toeachizown, in 2009 under the moniker Dam Funk. At Wolf's request, Funk gathered a more vintage assortment of grooves for his new LP, Adolescent Funk, out this week via Stones Throw. These teenage cassette tape numbers, recorded throughout 1988 to 1992, give an inside perspective of Riddick's origins as a musician, and introduces today's pretty much funkless society to an oldschool way to groove.

Adolescent Funk was recorded with electronic devices deemed obsolete at the time it was recorded, like the Casio SK-1, helping produce that distinct electro funk resonance. These bedroom crafted jams are bursting at the seams with flat synths and electronic sounds, erratic drum solos (see “The Telephone Call”), and soulful adolescent vocals. Like most disco funk, the general theme concerns sexing, not sexing, and sexing some more. “I Like Your Big Azz (Girl)” could very well be the definition of funk, incorporating soul, disco, r&b, and jazz to a sensually seductive backdrop. There's a smidgen of hip hop hop scattered amongst these grooves (see “UcanDoItIfUWant2”) but what's most prominent is the improv jazz keyboards, the bass heavy electro beats, the general 80's ambience. “It's My Life” sounds like the ghetto version of A-Ha's “Take On Me, “Sexy Lady” as electronically infused as Chromeo or Hot Chip. There's a reason electro funk was first coined as a dialect of disco; if “When I'm With You I Think Of Her” doesn't remind you of drive in theatres, roller skates and cocaine, I don't know what will.

Listening to Dam Funk's Toeachizown favourite “Hood Pass Intact” now, you can hear how much the singer's vocal abilities have matured since his early days; production wise, he hasn't changed a bit. Adolescent Funk is Toeachizown's prequel, a testimonial to the man who's devoted his entire life to the preservation of funk music. Musicians today receive praise for their ability to recreate 80s music that is relevant to today's indie scene. Dam Funk is releasing music here that isn't relevant at all. These recordings hav barely been tamped with since they're creation nearly two decades ago, sounding raw and underground, catering to genuine enthusiasts of the genre. It reminds us all of a funkier time in our lives, when the only thing that mattered was tapping some booty. Come to think of it, not much has changed.