Joseki / Morris Cowan: Functions EP (Connect For Music)
(This was written for LeftLion in February, but never published.)
The syncopated, propulsive rhythms that have come to characterise the UK Funky genre have been around a lot longer than you might think; just check the remix of Push The Feeling On by Nightcrawlers, which went Top Three back in 1995, and you’ll begin to get the picture. Similar rhythms underpin Joseki’s two contributions to this EP, the first release on Richard Powell’s Connect For Music label. (And seeing as it’s his first release, we’ll forgive him the hyperbole – “a new chapter begins in House and Techno” – just this once.)
Speak And Dispell takes its time to build, as vocal cut-ups are layered over moody washes of synth and understated, frisky beats. Just when you think that things are plateauing out, a key change nudges the track up a gear. It’s nearly four minutes before the UK Funky influences make their presence felt, adding spice to the tech-house stew.
Then it’s over to Morris Cowan, formerly known as Taylor, whose debut album (Circa) is due out on March 16th. The Good Fellow Ship is a more contemplative, less overtly dance-oriented affair, which blends woozy drones with sweetly abstract piano figures, before resolving into a steadily pulsing final section.
Finally, it’s back to Joseki for the cut with the biggest kick: the insistently lurching Moyo, which scatters glistening electro-boogie splinters over descending bass squelches and arpeggiated squeaks. Its playful, genre-melding inventiveness is typical of the whole EP, which sets a suitably high standard for an intriguing new label.