The first Saturday of every month, starting at 5 PM is free day at the Brooklyn Museum at 200 Eastern Parkway, and there’s often music there on free days as well. This coming Saturday, New Orleans-bred psychedelic dancefloor unit Water Seed makes an appearance at 5 PM. Early arrival is always a good idea; take the 2 or 3 train to Eastern Parkway.
What Water Seed is doing is subversive. Like Moon Hooch and Bombrasstico, they’re playing organic whoomp-whoomp dancefloor grooves. But where those two bands mash up jazz, second-line riffage and punk rock along with the disco, Water Seed are more psychedelic, closer to P-Funk or the intricately orchestrated psych-funk of Turkuaz. Now some people might say that Water Seed’s nonstop party vibe isn’t exactly revolutionary, but there’s an enemy out there and its name is EDM. There’s a whole generation, maybe more than a generation, who grew up with the sound of the synthesizer, who learned to dance to the beat of electronic drums, as Black Box Recorder’s Luke Haines warned us fifteen years ago. Obviously, those people don’t come out for the music: they’re there for the hang, and to get wasted (and to meet boys). What Water Seed is doing is something for them – and something for us, bringing everybody together on the dance floor and playfully reminding everybody in the house that beats are more fun when they’re played by people rather than machines.
Water Seed’s latest album, Retro Electro, is streaming at Bandcamp. Imagine Bill Withers, or P-Funk, or Roy Ayers doing tracks from Sade’s Love Deluxe album, hitting on the “one” over and over again and you get the picture. Among New York artists, Jesse Fischer‘s Soul Cycle are similar. The result is as energizing as it is trippy. The opening track, Couldn’t Love You More (a free download) sounds like a minimalist remix of something of Sade’s from twenty years ago. With Joy Clark’s chicken-scratch guitar, J Sharp’s swooshy synth strings and brass and twinkling electric piano over Lou Hill’s undulating percussion, their cover of the Jackson 5’s Shake Your Body Down is akin to how the Gap Band might have done it
We’ve Got to Do This mingles woozily intertwining portamento synth loops, bursts of fake brass and tinkling electric piano. The catchy, oldschool psych-disco number Mama Use to Say has a spicy arrangement featuring Cinese’s flute, Mario Abney’s moody muted trumpet and Clarence Slaughter’s alto sax. Night and Day has tasty, loopy latin percussion underneath its plushly enveloping sonics, Abney again adding tasty trumpet flavor overhead. The album ends with the pillowy 70s-tinged soul/dance epic I Would Die 4 U. Other than the randomly sampled between-song “interludes,” the only mistake the band makes here is to assume that a song by an act as icky as the Eurythmics could be worth covering, even with a clever latin arrangement.