I've always dug this strain of jazz-dance-rock-funk music. It drives most friends and many of the crits I know crazy, but hey, not everything is Nick Drake gauzy or King Crimson mellotronic death-of-the-universe doomy, ya know? Every once in a while, you gotta loosen yer wig and git down, and if you're finding that, well, right now and right here is your time, then I suggest you give these Northrons a listen, but make sure you have your platform shoes, luv beads, paisley shirt, and peace medallion handy 'cause you're going to need 'em. I say 'Northrons' because Voodooland hails from Sweden, and the average listener defaults to ECM sonic austerities or images of dour early-American farmer immigrants with long faces when they think of upper Europe. Okay, but what about Bjö'rn J:son Lindh (Swede), Ola Brunkert (Swede), Jasper van't Hof (Dane), and cats like that? What?!?! You didn't even know of 'em in the first place? Ah, well, there, you see, is half your problem.
Drop down to Italy and think of Mezzoforte, or over to Japan and Cassiopeia, or…wait, don't tell me, you're not hip to them either, right? Geez, what part of the course did you miss in trying to be a good ol' American globalist capitalist lunatic? Well then, think of Zapp, Zapp & Roger, Shakatak, Earth Wind & Fire, Lonnie Liston Smith, Average White Band, that sort of thing. This is butt boogie music but also highly listenable as energetic jazz/jazzrock/funkfusion. Voodooland, like the previous just as superb Moon Town (here), is keyboards and horn dominated, but when Johan Öijen cuts loose on guitar, hoo boy! Tell Lee Ritenour and Larry Carlton to move over, there's a new lion in town. Bongo Universe is a great example of his fretsmanship, then the horns cut back in, and you're on you're feet, sashaying across the kitchen floor like a cross between Saturday Night Live and Michael Jackson.
Lots of wah-wah, clav patches, electric piano, hypnotizing rhythms, strobe light percussion, and everything ya hunger for in this modus. In fact, when you're done with the disc, track down the mind-blowing Montreux All-Stars 22-minute version of Pick Up the Pieces 'cause it's going to be hard to find beats to take up the slack once Voodooland has its way with you. I might also suggest the later Rare Bird and its offshoot, Fresh, as corollary, but they're not really, as enjyoable as they are, quite in this class. From start to finish, Beat Funktion is a seamless unit kicking out feel-good beats and highly polished jazz strains for the adventurous of heart and soul, for those who remember when they were more lighthearted and far more apt to party than discuss Proust and Chomsky and thus need rescuing back to the day…whether they actually lived it or not. There's always a second chance, ya'll.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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