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“Invite The Light” by Dâm-Funk

“Invite The Light” by Dâm-Funk


We hear a lot of mixed-genre funk kicking around these days; new styles built upon the backs of the greats like James Brown, George Clinton and the like. The nature of funk is bombast, groove, a juicy bass line and a heavy boom/bap style beat, so innovators across a broad range of musical influences have taken this “formula” and transformed it into something wholly unique, in many instances. Dâm-Funk is a bit of an exception. His sound is rooted in ‘80s “Boogie” funk, with strong flavors of early Prince and some Barry White groove for good measure.

Dâm-Funk is a throwback in a strong sense of the word: utilizing recording techniques and gear like drum machines and analog synths, his tracks harken to late-era chill funk, the like of which could be compared to early G-Funk instrumentals. While his earlier work, like 2009’s Toeachizown and other singles, were a little more closely tied to the big sounds of the early funk, Dâm-Funk’s upcoming Invite the Light is an intergalactic production of those sounds in a Boogie environment.

In 2013, Dâm-Funk collaborated with Snoop Dogg (alias: Snoopzilla) to create 7 Days of Funk, which set the stage for his latest musical iterations. Much like 7 Days, Invite the Light is full of wobbly bass, tinkling synthesizers and deep-cut beats. Throughout, it’s clear that his main skill falls into the production side of things. Invite the Light is immaculate. The instrumentals are consistently clean, balancing the ethereal synth tones with earthy beats. He fuses together these ideas with sprinklings of R&B and vocal assists from guests like JimiJames and Nite Jewel.
At times, it feels like Dâm-Funk lacks some of the vocal charisma to float an album that clocks in at an incredibly robust 96 minutes, but he manages to bring in enough additional voices to keep things interesting. Appearances from Snoop Dogg, Q-Tip and Kid Sister, among others, offer great changes of pace that buoy the record when it threatens to drift off into the Mothership netherworld.

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Dâm-Funk is a compelling figure. His projects are numerous, and although he’s never broken into the mainstream vernacular, his fingerprints are visible on a wide range of funk and hip-hop production throughout the industry. Invite the Light is, in some ways, his Magnum Opus: a fully imagined, intricate realization of Boogie Funk in the 21st Century. »

– Charles Trowbridge