Release Date: May 27, 2016
Record label: !K7
Genre(s): Electronic, R&B, Funk, Pop/Rock, Club/Dance, Electro, Post-Disco
On his volume of !K7's DJ-Kicks series, Damon Riddick, aka D?m-Funk, affably replicates the spirit of his weekly Funkmosphere club night. Nearing a decade of existence when the mix was released, Funkmosphere -- started in a Culver City space prior to a move eastward to L.A. -- has made strides in the support and advancement of what night founder Riddick calls modern funk.
The best DJ sets always involve some sort of telepathy. Usually it’s when a DJ constructs a set that steers you towards euphoria so effectively that it feels like they’re inside your brain at a panel of controls, à la Voltron—a state of ecstatic dissociation so magical that it's the third most popular subject for pop songs after love and smoking weed. But rare and particularly talented DJs can pull off an even more magical feat, dragging you out of your head and into their minds, letting you hear the world through their ears for a moment.
If you've ever been in the Los Angeles area on a Monday or Thursday night during the past decade, you might have caught Funkmosphere. Described as "LA's longest-running party for '80s-inspired funk, boogie, electro and modern funk," the weekly party was founded by SoCal native Dâm-Funk, an artist whose dedication to the music is only rivaled by his encyclopedic knowledge. Damon Riddick, who's now in his mid-40s, has slowly carved out a notable career as a DJ and musician, growing from a prolific solo artist with recordings that date back to the late-'80s to a collaborator with icons like Snoop Dogg and Steve Arrington of Slave.
Dâm-Funk displays erudite taste on his contribution to !K7's long-running DJ-Kicks series. Although he's been commercially active since 2007, this will be the first substantial experience with Dâm's vision for many, as most of his easier-to-find releases have been remixes or collaborations (with Snoop Dogg for 2013's 7 Days of Funk, for instance), and if you're outside L.A., his famous Funkmosphere residency there is perhaps unknown to you. So, let's thank !K7 for this solid mix.In terms of technique, this is a turntablist's set through and through, highlighting the craft with leisurely transitions and no attempt to mitigate the pops, hisses and disparate production styles of its era-spanning tracks.
While Dâm-Funk’s singles and albums have established him as funk’s most forward thinking artist, his DJ sets have concentrated on classic 80s boogie gems. His entry into DJ Kick’s long-running mix series is less rigidly formatted. There are plenty of groove-heavy masterworks of course, and as one of funk’s most committed record collectors the majority of them – Nicci Gable’s Close To Who, Brandon Jack’s Suzy Hijack and Index’s Starlight – will be unknown to the average crate digger.