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The Black City

Wake Up. The Funk

Review by Gary Hill

Given the album title, you would probably expect this to be a funk release. Let's be clear, there is a lot of funk here. That's not the only sound on display, though. In fact, some songs are primarily made up of other things than funk, ranging from reggae to fusion and jazz. This even leans on psychedelia and prog at times. Call it what you like, but this is an entertaining set from start to finish.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Wake Up. The Funk
As you would expect, this comes in with pure funk. It's just guitar at first, but the rest of the instruments join in a bit. This makes me think a bit of Parliament as it drives forward. The vocal performance has a real poetic vibe to it.
Stone Free
While the funk is still thoroughly alive here, this also has a lot of reggae and psychedelia. It's a killer jam with a section that is in Spanish later in the number. This is a killer groove that works well.
Hour of the Beasties
Reggae and hip hop blend with the funk on this number. It's another powerhouse tune. It has a similar energy and groove to the first two tracks, but with a much different flavor.
Cage
Now, things change a bit here. This has a cool kind of trippy groove to it. It's perhaps more reggae than it is anything else. That said, the exploratory element of this leans toward fusion and even prog rock. It's a classy cut that's among the coolest here.
Be Quiet
The funk is out front at the start here. The vocals bring more of that reggae presence, though. There are some jazzy things here, too. This groove is so infectious.
Original Sound
I don't really hear much funk at all on this piece. It's a mellower, pure reggae kind of number. It does have some retro jazzy texture in some of the guitar fills. This is a powerhouse tune that just oozes cool. They do rock it out more later as the guitar rises up with some intriguing vocal improvisations. The track wanders into psychedelic rock jamming from that point.
Shadow Wake
There is some more funk here, but overall this has sort of a soaring fusion vibe. I love the bass work on the piece. There is some killer funky guitar. Of course, it's not without its nods to reggae. While this isn't one of my favorites here, it's still very effective. It's another with some lyrics in Spanish. The guitar solo on this is pure class and does bring more of that funky thing to bear.
Goosebumps – Remix
The reggae and funk merge well here. The guitar work is so smoking hot. The whole tune just works so well, though.
Funky Time – Remix
They bring the funk here, but given the title, what would you expect? Some of the vocals are rapped while others are sung. This has a great groove and catchy hooks. It's one of the standouts here, making it a great choice for closer. You have to love the bass line on this thing. It's so classic.
 
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