producer Greg Tate and his titanic Burnt Sugar
collective continues to ascend into its own intergalactic space station of heavy cosmic jamming, instrumental funky jazz, and wildly spacious trippiness with this double disc – by far the most unique and individualistic indie funk album we've heard in a long, long time! As on their previous sets, Burnt Sugar
takes the past three or more decades worth of avant funk and jazz, from the celestial influence of Sun Ra projects, to the bass thumping righteousness of Blacksploitation soundtracks, to the dancefloor oriented 70s fusion funk of Larry Mizell's productions – but the loose collective looks as much inward and forward with their approach, giving the recordings as much of a profound newness as anything in the latter day avant garde. Organ, bass, guitars, strings, often quite ambient vocals and turntable effects are the order of the day – and the brew is truly unlike like anything else out there right now. They're not afraid of mixing the low with the high, either – the sweet soul jazz of the track "Fear" rolls from an echoey vocal showpiece for Lisala Beatty into a post-Bad Brains hardcore number, before transforming several more times within the 10+ minutes running time! It's that progressive spirit that highlights both discs. The band is relying on pre-written material much more here than on the more improvisational previous releases, but they were wise enough to keep the spacious groove that carried them so well in recent years. This double album represents Burnt Sugar
's sixth release in four years. Keep 'em coming, kids! Disc one: "Funky Rich Medina", "Fear", "Mtume" (in two parts), "Drive Man/
Freedom Day" and more. Disc two: "Moonchile", "Gibberish & Bushwack", "Ventris", "No Direction Home" (a suite of tracks) and more. It may take a bit of warming up to, but once you get it on Burnt Sugar
is some pretty sweet stuff – and it gets more rewarding with every listen!