Soul

Soul

Time: 
17:00
Band name: 
PhiL n' Nem
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
www.facebook.com/PhiLnNem
Venue name: 
Facebook watch party
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Ghost Funk Orchestra soundtracks the "Asphalt Homeland"

If the long awaited Cagney & Lacey movie ever comes to fruition (sorry, I don't consider the TV movies canon) I'm going to immediately start an online petition to make "Asphalt Homeland" the opening credit music--played as the camera slowly pans over the asphalt homeland of Lower Midtown Manhattan until landing on our two sometimes harried but always resolutely determined lady detectives. And sure, the new single by Ghost Funk Orchestra is a good deal less boob-tube bouncy and peppy than the original TV theme song, but that's good because it'll help Cagney & Lacey make the transition to the big screen with the help of some dramatic, cinematic music.

Of course this isn't to imply that bandleader/songwriter/arranger/producer Seth Applebaum only writes music appropriate for a Cagney & Lacey type show. To the contrary, Seth is a one-man "library music" machine whose music could just as easily be used to score urban dramas, medical dramas, gangster epics, or even wild comedies and super action films but with a distinct golden-era approach harkening back to a time when jazz and funk and rock and Latin music and psychedelic music (and many other genres besides) often shared equal space on a single soundtrack.

Take the song called "Fuzzy Logic" for example (see video above) which stays true to its title by rejecting Boolean either/or logic in favor of multiplicity and suggestive ambiguity. It starts off sounding like the dramatic opening moments to a classic spy soundtrack or a caper movie with its dissonant stabs of brass and syncopated hi-hat cymbal--not to mention how the music video's use of color gels and multiple exposure give it a strong Bond pre-credit sequence vibe--before sliding into a groove that's laid back enough to be Sade-approved but with some vaguely uneasy lyrics (and a brief Bill Withers "I know" interlude, may he rest in peace) sung to enchanting effect by regular vocal collaborator Romi Hanoch (PowerSnap). And then about one minute in the song takes another turn with a breakdown section featuring flamenco-style clapping and dub-like echo and surf guitar reverb before circling back to the second verse and then later ending with a concise but still pretty epic solo outro traded between baritone sax and flute.

Seriously, put this song on in the car next time you're cruising around and it's guaranteed to make you feel like a total badass even if you're just heading to 7-11. Or put on almost any GFO song because they rarely skimp on the funkiness, the ghostliness, or the intricate orchestrations. And did I say "one-man show"? In reality, Ghost Funk Orchestra is more like a ten-to-twelve-man-and-woman machine because you know it can't be easy making music this elaborate alone and especially not if you plan to play live. And by the way seeing GFO live is a wonderful thing that will presumably happen again someday soon. 


So, if you lack familiarity with the Ghost Funk prior to "Asphalt Homeland," their most recent full-length An Ode To Escapism (2020) is a good place. The album features a shift array of musical emotional hues that still manage to flow together as a continuous whole--more that fulfilling the promise of the album's title. And just case you happen to forget the stated purpose of the album while listening there's an intermittent GPS Lady voiceover reminding you that "as long as your headphones are on...you're safe, and hidden" and it never hurts to be reminded of that. (Jason Lee)

   

Starchild's recent live set from outer space

The first Earthly arrival of Starchild was mid-wifed from within George Clinton’s Afrofuturist musical universe (which I'll gladly take over the Marvel Universe any day, just take a look at the “P-Funk Mythology” page on Wikipedia) arriving in this world via the 1975 Parliament single “Mothership Connection (Star Child)” where our titular hero announced to Earthlings that “we have returned to reclaim the Pyramids” before introducing the “Swing down, sweet chariot” hook later sampled on Dr. Dre’s 1993 hit “Let Me Ride” which introduced P-Funk via G-Funk to Generation X.

Well the second coming has come. And Brooklyn is the lucky host to the reincarnated Starchild in the form of Bryndon Cook. Having travelled the universe and beyond before landing permanently in these parts, this Starchild keeps some pretty rarified company having logged time as touring guitarist for Solange and Chairlift and Blood Orange, while also collaborating with the latter as VeilHymn, before venturing out as front-alien for Starchild & The New Romantic—a project that melds Cook’s R&B and hip hop and indie rock ‘n pop leanings into one musical package and very effectively so on the album released last year called Forever.

And more recently Starchild was shot back out into outer space ET-style to perform a couple live-streamed sets on Elsewhere Sound Space, a monthly series broadcast on the über-äwesome nightclub’s Twitch channel, all originating from an undisclosed location aboard a spaceship marooned in a galaxy far, far away. And lucky for us the Starchild episode is still available to stream and you won’t regret the alien encounter because Bryndon Cook’s heartfelt musical vignettes set in the midst of some pretty trippy sci-fi visuals is likely to make your soul leave your body especially on his final number “Silent Disco,” a transcendent ditty during which Starchild’s soul does in fact visibly leave his Earthbound bodysuit behind and enter another dimension.

Based on the first couple of episodes of Elsewhere Sound Space with their eerie eye candy tableaux and occasional space lizard appearances combined with cosmic musical numbers interspersed with broad comedy segments (double entendre not intended) the overall effect is like a surrealist mashup of the movie version of Dune and the notorious Star Wars Holiday Special, except that the campiness found on this mothership is clearly neither unintentional nor apolitical (take that Susan Sontag!) and instead of Bea Arthur serenading the Cantina Bar you get Princess Nokia and Starchild and in the next installment this Tuesday Brooklyn rapper and NYC mayoral candidate Paperboy Prince serenading all of us pod people out here wandering aimlessly in cyberspace.

And isn't it about time someone presented a compellingly queer vision of outer space and damn if the team at Elsewhere Sound Space--fronted by the program's emcee Peter Smith who as "a music deity marooned in space" radiates warmth into the coldest reaches of universe, check out the profile published in the NY Times titled “Five Nonbinary Comics on This Moment”—haven’t done it. Because c’mon even your neighborhood quantum physicist knows that outer space is all about relativity and multi-dimensionality and the bending of timespace which all sounds pretty queer to me. (Jason Lee)

   

Appleby "Here With U"

Appleby has shared an uplifting, romantic new single called "Here With U" via Wilder. This is just the fourth single from Appleby since the release of his highly acclaimed debut album, Happiness, back in 2018.

Of the new single, Appleby says, "I wrote the chorus of ‘here with u’ just as the light from the sunset outside was leaving my bedroom. I was single then and didn't have an honest story to share. so it sat as a chorus idea for over 8 months. Before i knew it i was looking at my person and she brought meaning to 'i can’t believe i get to be here with u.'

   

Tasha "Would You Mind Please Pulling Me Close?"

Tasha has released a beautifully hazy new single called "Would You Mind Please Pulling Me Close?" via Father/Daughter Records. The single was produced and features Gregory Uhlmann and is accompanied by the relaxing video below.