Detroit Rising: When The Funk Loses Fokus

8th March 2018

Title: A Cosmic Jazz Funk Adventure

Label: Down Jazz

Detroit Rising is a fascinating group of what, 12 or so musicians pumping out a combination of funk, jazz and specifically P-Funk (it says here) on a very light green (Sea Green, for Pantone fans) vinyl pressing.

I was hoping for more experimentation in terms of the arrangement, more funk and more edge. There’s lots of irritations, lots of disappointments but also lots of interest and highlights. The LP is a real mixed bag. An example? In the track Little Bit – which held out hope for funk glory with its 9:32 length – I wanted to hear chances being taken but the LP featured, instead, a sop to current commercial demands: adding a soft grey R&B/soul vocal and rapping by numbers. That said, there was still plenty of interest here with some adventurous and energetic drumming, jazz rhythms and hooks that found a groove plus a mean guitar in the mix with a bass that really talked. Not a great surprise because many of the people behind the instruments are ex-Funkadelic and Parliament. You see? The bland vocals let the side down.

Detroit Rising: When Is The Funk Not The Funk?

In terms of mastering, Detroit rising offer an energetic record. Generally speaking, the sonics are relatively balanced. There has been some compression added to the vinyl which has ended up pushing and extending the bass, adding an extra punch and impact that gives the music a hard beat drive. Sounds good doesn’t it? Well, yes but the slight downside is that is puts a minor squeeze on the cymbals. There’s not enough light and shade in terms of dynamics.

Detroit Rising: When Is The Funk Not The Funk?

A Curate’s Egg of an album, you need to pick the bones out of this one. For every mind-numbing pseudo soft soul excursion there’s a funk vocal that grinds and twists. Then there’s a surprising funk attack, then you scan your watch to check the time as rap tedium fills its quota and then we’re back to the good stuff.

In short? Some hip grinding. Some teeth grinding.