The kids around the way used to think that I was buggin
But they don't understand how I feel about the funk
I walk with the funk, I talk with the funk
I eat with the funk, I sleep with the funk
I live for the funk, I'll die for the funk
So now what do they say, when I'm walkin' up the block?
Boom shaka laka there goes the Chief Rocka
-Lords of the Underground
Broken. Wrong. Insane. These are all descriptors that often find their ways in front of the “house music” I tend to adore. Not coincidentally, they’re also adjectives that have been used to describe yours truly (both by myself and others). Anyway, when it comes to dance trax that break all the rules while setting the dancefloor aflame, Paul du Lac’s Rotterdam-based Bio Rhythm label checks all the above boxes and many more, be it mutant, deranged, or oblique. Despite sporting the type of ubiquitously chauvenistic label design that has run coterminous with dance music for too long, the label’s 2016 compilation EP The Pleasure Box Vol 2: Sons Of The Second Circle sports four rationality-busting bombs. Marco Bernardi’s “The Second Saiaman” leads off the whole affair and it’s the type of slithering and wrong-key smashing groove that I seemingly live to find. The only Bernardi twelve I have in my IRL record collection is this 2009 remix EP featuring a lovely 2562 reworking of the otherwise dull “Mystery of Nazarus.” But now that I know the producer can get this freeky, well, it probably won’t be long until I dive into his other work for Bio Rhythm. Not to mention that the average discogs price for the label catalog is $5, which is a genuine ‘scogs mitzvah. And if you’re looking to find more du Lac-A&R’d gems, you’d do well to start with this 2017 Noleian Reusse SCUD missile of a track.
Since its re-activation in 2009, Kirk Degiorgio’s Applied Rhythm Technology (ART) is a perennial source for more adventurous big room-friendly fare that captures the melodic explosiveness of many a seminal Detroit record. Currently re-selling for upwards of $35, The Third Man’s 2010 opus “Tangier” mainlines Detroit techno and belches it out in polychromatic curlicues, each upward exhale redolent of two decades of Black Atlantic zig-zagging. Oh, and if you’re interested in learning more about the history of London techno in the early 90s, can’t recommend this Oli Warwick-penned article enough. (RBMA is the patriarchy. But that doesn’t mean one can’t reverse engineer their content marketing strategies for personal enrichment.)
Much like The Third Man above, Deep Space Orchestra was unknown to me until earlier today when I came across the duo’s “Streetlights,” which features a freewheelng, pitch-bent midline conspiring with raucous, ornery toms and swinging high hats for an intergalactic hoedown.
Going off the “Chief Rocka” lyrics at the start of this post, feels only natural to highlight the above 2001 jam from the NY dance music producer Onionz. A track that chart a blazes a more groove-focused path out of tech house, “Fathead” rests squarely atop a too-smooth-for-school bass line, darting and dashing while never losing sight of making one’s ass shake. And it pairs wonderfully with a NY weirdo disco track off the Wah Wah Wino WINO-D collection from earlier this year. Hear it for yourself.
And to close things out on a completely different note….In what is proving to be a December tradition at Zurkonic HQ, mid-90s Memphis rap gets rinsed all goddamn day long. Just call me DJ Zurk (yuk yuk). Produced by the dude DJ Zirk, “Ridin Steamer” rolls deep on a dust-encrusted keyboard loop that intoxicates as much as it liberates. Egypt forever.