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GROOVERIDER - Mysteries of Funk

Author: Alias
Sunday, January 1, 1995
(Higher Ground/Sony)

Since the advent of the drum and bass movement Grooverider has been atthe forefront. Apart from being one of the worlds most in demand DJ's,he has also been one of the main reasons that drum and bass has beenable to emerge from the underground to become a true player in the musicworld. Yet to call Mysteries Of Funk, his debut long player, strictly adrum and bass album would be a misrepresentation. Grooverider has takenin all the various influences and styles he has been exposed to over his12 years of DJing, and melded them together to create this, an albumwhich ebbs and flows through a flawless mixture of jazz, hip hop,breakbeat, swing and techno, all connected by a common thread, funk.

Album opener Cybernetic Jazz, blends abstract freestyle keyboard, withintricate flute noodling, and a smoking tek break to create a modernspin on the free jazz concept. Mmmm....nice (and not a beret in sight!).Rainbows Of Colour, wins you over with its minimal production and thegorgeous vocals of Roya Arab. On The Double is undeniably groovy withits slinky bass sounds, Time and Space is an all in percussion led opus,and Where's Jack The Ripper shows the darker side of Grooverider's work.An angry snarling hard steppin' beast delivering random vicious slaps ofsub bass, then knocking you out with a beat capable of moving mountains.It is right about now you realise you're listening to something special.

Yet the highlight of it all would have to be the mammoth, three-partmarathon that is Imagination. Parts 1 and 2 keep the groove smooth andthe production tight (thanks in part to co-producer and writer MattQuinn aka Optical), complemented with a breezy vocal care of SophieBarker and tasteful use of additional instruments such as piano,saxophone, and even tabla. Part 3 sees the song move towards moreBristolian territories, ie dark and atmospheric, and is essentially adubbed out rework of Parts 1 and 2. The mysterious 560 and strangelyseductive Starbase 23 round out what is one the best releases this year,electronic or otherwise. Simply, Mysteries Of Funk is an allencompassing masterpiece.