Thursday, January 30, 2014

Album Review: The Funky Knuckles-Meta-Musica

The Funky Knuckles
**and1/2 out of *****
The Dallas, TX based experimental/groove collective The Funky Knuckles newest disk is a mixing of jazz styles while keeping things accessible clean and as their name suggests, funky.  Meta-Musica is a ten song journey that runs long with lots of their outings passing the nine minute, the jamming "16 Bars" alone feels like three or four different tunes combined into one. 

The six piece: Wes Stephenson - bass, Caleb Sean - keys, Cedric Moore - drums, Phill Aelony - guitar, Evan Weiss - trumpet, Ben Bohorquez - sax comes at the sound in varying ways. On "Mystery Song" things  twitch with electro glitches and snare rolls before progressing to a keyboard and drum led freakout. The light drum touches and smooth trumpet lead the way on "Kyle's Dance" before electric guitars and keys close things while the bass line takes center stage for "New Leaf" pumping away in and around the other players.

The group seems very democratic with no dominant instrumentalist taking over in every song. The band ebb's and flows around different directions and styles but stays nebulous for fans to latch on to various excursions without one theme dominating things.

On the downside of things the "Rain Journey" tone and execution too close to easy listening and Spyro Gyra-y for these ears and while the albums overall length isn't really an issue with this kind of jazz, perhaps one or two tighter/more direct songs would enhance the flow of the LP, rather then just the seemingly haphazardly mixed in "Interludes". The hip hop interlude "[12]3,4 feat Cyfa Fix" seems like a logical next step for the group, supporting MC's.

That said, fans of new breed, funky jazz should dig what The Funky Knuckles have done on Meta-Musica and the album is accessible enough for newcomers to test the waters as well.
Another fun bandcamp find and a good way to close out our reviews for Jazzy Jan.

Support the band here, you can buy/stream the album here and peep some video below:
"16 Bars"

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