Acid jazz, trip hop, eclectro – today’s label is tomorrow’s rope to be hung with. ‘Simply Good Music’ is one way of trying to slip the noose. I remember the first releases to come out of Giant Step many years ago and a few had the left-field down home funkiness that this collection successfully explores and it is all the more welcome for that.
The 14 tracks on this CD are generously laced with funk, humour and quirkiness.
Amp Fiddler crank up the funk Sly style with the wah-wah-tastic I Believe in You (but if you don’t believe in me, I’ll be leaving you). Some nice word play, great harmonies and a slamming track. Top quality. Almost as funky is Sara Devine’s Take Me Home but nowhere near as clever in the lyrics department (Sara, take him home but use a condom).
For women, the battle of the sexes is represented by Agent K’s Betcha Did (a funky f**k you to an ex), Esthero’s O.G. Bitch (a rather confusing array of scores to settle but great tune, all the same) and Aya’s Do What You Want.
A left-field dance anthem is in the making with Zap Mama’s Bandy Bandy featuring Erykah Badu. I loved this track despite originally thinking the chorus was the not very cool exhortation to ‘wave your body like andy pandy’. Check the Doctor Who sound-effect bit in the middle. If you are still in need of more uplift, get gospelitised with Wesley Music by RSL.
Strange but compelling is the slide guitar country funk of Carl Hancock Rux in Lamentations — the lyrics match the left of centre music perfectly.
Oi Va Voi manage to stand out though with their plea for understanding, Refugee. This is a beautifully catchy tune with clever lyrics to match. For my money, this track ties first place with the marvelously odd Roots Manuva track, The Haunting. Cue giddy up ska back-beat, dub horns and a puzzling tale of, well erm hauntings, assassins, the bible, discrimination and the ‘so called stream of consciousness’.
An outstanding release.
Original Bitch – Esthero
Wait A Minute – Ty
One Day – Two Banks Of Four
Haunting – Roots Manuva
Lamentations – Carl Hancock Rux
Refugee – Oi Va Voi
Do What You Want – Aya
Confessions Of A Man – Jiva
Take Me Home (Original Version) – Sara Devine
I Believe In You – Amp Fiddler
Bandy Bandy (Carl Craig Remix) – Zap Mama Feat. Erykah Badu
Betcha Did – Agent K
We Can Make It – DKD Feat. Donnie
Wesley Music (Danny Krivit Edit) – RSL
Label: Giant Step Records GSTP 7045-2