Bliss, I think, oft comes in the form of a funky funky wah'ed-out guitar, and so I can here reliably report that the groovin-n-then-some Beat Funktion is back stronger than ever, more so even than their last outing, Voodooland (here), which aced its own 2013 killer, Moon Town (here)…and, thank you God!, that means, in 2014, we got two BF releases, the very definition of 'bonanza' and 'providence'. Guitarist Johan Oijen just can't help himself, he's GOT to wield that axe like it's 1972, the world his disco-uptown oyster. And keyboardist Daniel Lantz, the writer, main recordist, and center pole for the ensemble, is more than happy to let him do so 'cause he follows behind in Joe Zawinul fashion, be-boppin' and happy dancin'.
That may be the real pull in this band's work, that Weather Report sophistication blended with Passport, Average White Band, Atlantis, Randy Pie, Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, and other earlier day giants and not-so-giants (I mean, f'gawdsakes, who remembers Randy Pie other than me?). Catch the jammin'groove in Snap to It and then try tell me it doesn't get under your skin but also creep into the frontal lobes and very quickly promote, at the very least, seat dancing. Ya can't, it's infectious as hell on several levels, with the horn section pristine, jumpin' with plenty of class and polished-up chart savvy. Then Oijen's wah-tar comes sailing back in on Are We Done?, and it's back to Curtis Mayfield/Shaft/Trouble-Man/Shuggie Otis land once more.
Reception of the group's past efforts has been so positive that the band will be coming to America in late September/early October for the first time. Devotees of the aforementioned Average White Band, EWF (Earth, Wind and Fire), Level 42, Shakatak, and others—even the Crusaders!—should be rejoicing at the news, as it's damnably difficult to catch this vibe outside Europe now, save through the graces of one's own LP collection. Voodooland made a big splash here, knocking all comers out of the pool, remaining on the charts for a rare 16 weeks, and Japan is into the combo big time, their work hoarded and treasured by DJs and collectors, so it's high time we got on the stick as well, full throttle. In fact, reception has been so overwhelming that the gentz are already working on their next CD, the 5th (working title: Olympus), which means 2015 will present a few more festivities than expected. Make your New Year's resolutions accordingly. Life can be sweet sometimes.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2014, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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