The heart of Sliptone's six-tracker lies firmly in that nebulous genre of music known as, er, “old school funky disco-ish latin/big beat sort of thingy – oh, go on, you'll like it”. My reasoning? Witness the wah-wah guitar chops, electric piano, clavinet riffs, slap bass and movie dialogue that are sprinkled liberally throughout Funkagent 1. If I may be so bold as to venture an opinion, the most successful track here is the opener, Birds and Bees, which immediately drops the hammer and begins a head-nodding enquiry into sex education from a time when men smoked pipes and women just smoked. The track is tight, contains vinyl crackles, a bluesy piano riff, a kick and snare that swing, and chopped vocals: just some of the many things that keep CTW happy. Guinness is another, if anyone's offering.
An electro bass at the start of Mrs Brown presages the odd scream from Mr Brown, the Godfather of Funk himself. It's joined by a slap bass; an unusual combination but one that works. A clavinet joins in the fun, and it quickly becomes impossible to say which musical decade has influenced Mrs Brown the most. Then a Hammond organ turns up and I decide to use the Grove Dictionary of Music to stop my kitchen table wobbling.
If Funkagent 1, the disco-ish title track, were to lose two minutes it would gain a lot; brevity is the soul of hip, as Shakey almost said. The samba piano of Melos Liberal brings Latino funk to the table, though Sliptone abandons it for a trip-hop interlude only to return with a lo-fi flanging effect that goes down as nicely as the previously mentioned pint of porter. A fun break-down section is marred slightly by a snare that is just too late to sit comfortably in the pocket.
Sugar throws trumpet, organ, funk guitar and breathy female vocals at a bass guitar and lets them fight it out. Strangely enough, it's the bass, normally rock-solid in these type of workouts, which to my ears sounds slightly ahead of the beat. But then, my rhythmic sense is as reliable as a politician's promise.
/bitterness towards lazy, corrupt governments and opposition
Don't Stop does what the rest of the album does: it settles into a rhythm and ...doesn't stop. (These tracks are less songs, more extended grooves in a laid-back funky Big Beat style.) Its rolling drums, echoing sax and 60s style vocals bring the EP to a satisfying conclusion. Yeah, baby.
Sliptone's philosophy is to keep things sounding natural; he'll tolerate the odd, er, slip if the performance feels alive. Consequently, Funkagent 1 is raw-boned in places; a couple of tracks need their screws tightened - but there's definitely enough of the good stuff to pass the time pleasantly/move your money-maker. Unfortunately, I can't show you what I mean because Budabeats, in their Hungarian wisdom, supply only a zipped file of the album. True, you can listen to the stream of this straight-outta-Carlisle EP at their website (please do) but it does make things difficult for hip and happenin' blogs who would otherwise be only too happy to spread the word. I'll try some Magyar:
Kérjük, vessen mp3 link "Madarak és a Méhek" a honlapjára. Köszönöm.
I can tell you're impressed. ;) There's no tip box for the talented Sliptone or the tasty Budabeats so please consider sending an email thanking them for the free virtual platter of funky fun. It would brighten their day as much as Funkagent 1 did mine.
Sliptone – Funkagent 1 (link to zipped album only)