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Futuristic Funk That Draws on the Past

Quango's I.G. Culture reworks an obscure 1977 funk gem.
Quango's I.G. Culture reworks an obscure 1977 funk gem.

I.G. Culture remains a legend in the genre called broken-beat, much the way elder statesman George Clinton presides over funk, in the process inspiring a sort of mystical reverence. Ever since broken-beat emerged out of the U.K. drum-and-bass scene, the West London-derived music has spawned a bevy of electronic acts, which have used their genre's angular rhythms to instill new life into underground 21st-century funk. Nearly a decade later, Culture remains broken-beat's most clever producer.

On this itchy masterstroke, Culture leads a group called Quango, channeling Clinton's Mothership Connection by scrounging deep into the P-Funk canon and exhuming "Frantic Moment," an obscure 1977 gem from Games, Dames and Guitar Thangs, the Clinton-produced solo album by Parliament-Funkadelic's late guitarist, Eddie Hazel.

Wisely, Quango doesn't try to approximate any of Hazel's scintillating guitar improvisations, which rivaled those of Jimi Hendrix, or the original version's musty undertones. Still, it superbly captures P-Funk's Afro-futuristic spirit with Pino Palladino's impossibly dense bass lines, Eska Mtungwazi and Heidi Vogel's celestial choruses and Kaidi Tatham's spaced-out keyboard riffs. It's enough to make anyone crave a funky summit between Culture and Clinton, but in the meantime, it sounds like the next best thing.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

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John Murph
John Murph writes about music and culture and works as a web producer for BETJazz.com. He also contributes regularly to The Washington Post Express, JazzTimes, Down Beat, and JazzWise magazines.