We’ve come full circle when American bands in the teens are stealing from Nigerian bands from the 70s who were stealing from Americans back then. CSC Funk Band takes the Nigerians’ hypnotic pulse and biting horns, then beefs up the mix with a beat that’s a little heavier, then adds a bluesy/funky guitar edge and woozy, liquid organ and synth for a sound that’s uniquely their own. All their songs are instrumental jams. Is what they do stoner music? Well, their latest album, Funkincense was released by the Electric Cowbell folks on 4/20…but you don’t have to be high to enjoy it. It’s good party music, good on the train, wakes you up without giving you a headache and then keeps you up. You can stream it at Flea Market Funk.
The album is divided up into A and B sides. Side one begins with Catcher’s Mitt, which takes a loping Afrobeat groove, a catchy minor-key horn riff, adds bluesy guitar cadenzas and some woozy stoner synth. The title track has oscillating synth under Wes Buckly’s catchy alto sax riffage and bandleader Colin Langenus’ gritty guitar. Make Your Mind Up, by bassist Jesse Lent, has a goodnatured bounce, slinky clustering bass, blue-sky alto sax, upper-register organ and then a mutlitracked slide guitar break. Choom Gang – a tribute to President Obama’s teenage stoner years, complete with talk-show banter that sounds much more stoned than the actual song – is a muscular Afrobeat jam, its web of guitars and sax rising to a series of triumphant crescendos, followed by an echoey dub interlude. Total absorption achieved!
Side two starts with the hard-hitting, wickedly catchy minor-key dancefloor groove You Say. Ticket to Cabo, by trombonist Elizabeth Arce, warps back and forth between an airy 80s groove and an edgier 70s guitar-driven sound. Built around a wry, loopy synth riff, Klip Winger reminds of Moisturizer with its moody baritone sax. The album winds up with keyboardist Matt Mottel’s Versace Nachos, vamping on a famous early 80s riff with an ear-to-ear grin. Goes to show how much fun you can have when you take an eclectic bunch of musicians with backgrounds in noiserock, jazz improvisation, ska and funk, smoke them up and see what comes out.