In the strange wake of music's digital rebirth, vinyl has experienced a modest boom in popularity, seen by many as a replacement for the awkward middleman that is the compact disc. INCHES reviews the output of L.A.'s healthy vinyl community, believing that good music deserves much more than a handful of ones and zeros.
Artist: Tony Cook (ft. Dâm-Funk, Tavell, Vernon Cheely)
Title: “What's on Your Mind” and “Video Rock”
Label: Stones Throw (Mt. Washington)
Format: separate 12-inch singles
Read our review and download some serious funk after the jump.
The thing you need to understand about The Funk, is that once one discovers the need for it, one's gotta have The Funk pretty much at all times and in every form possible. Roofs of houses and clubs alike have burned as a result of this phenomenon, while onlookers either idly stand by in Funk-inspired negligence or actually chant, seemingly celebrating the loss of another property at the hands of The Funk. It's nasty stuff, and so are these four tracks from Tony Cook, a Stones Throw Records discovery who not only flirted with club stardom back in the early '80s, but who once drummed for James Brown.
As the story goes, label honcho and DJ Peanut Butter Wolf discovered a 7-inch or two from Cook's heyday, and reached out to the now Florida-based artist in hopes of doing a re-release. Instead, he found an incredibly willing partner with hours of reel-to-reel tape documenting tracks unfinished or never released. One of the former was “What's On Your Mind,” which reached completed status when L.A.'s own funky veteran Dâm-Funk added his vocals to the burbling, grooving track. The best way to understand what Cook's been cooking up might be to subtract what Dâm does on his own songs from the equation.
Instead of those G-funk falsetto synths, you'll find colorful major chord swells. In lieu of a stone cold patched-in beat there are splashy drums, and funny horn sounds. The bass and the hand-claps are inescapable no matter how you slice it, but Cook's tracks are made for sexy, cool singers to do their thing overtop, which they do. Voices more or less lost to the sands of time — Tavell and Vernon Cheely (Google's not too forthcoming on either) — accompany Cook's time-traveling groove for a funky flavor that sounds as welcome as ever picked up and dusted off for this pair of 12-inch releases. Pick 'em up, and don't miss the LP, Back to Reality, which should be due out this year.
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Origami Vinyl is located at 1816 W. Sunset Blvd., 90026 (213.413.3030).