Flamingosis – Kahunastyle
A lot of future funk tries hard to be funny, retro, or clever – and it appears to be the genre’s downfall. I make no attempt to hide my less-than-favorable impression on the subgenre, mostly because I find that many future funk artists are limiting themselves within it. There’s only so much that one can do with an already excellent funk track, and simply adding drums and a poor, abused EQ filter isn’t enough to cut it, even if it does get buys from listeners who don’t know better.
But every now and then, I get a future funk album that kindly reminds me to check myself before I wreck myself, and that my preconceived notions of future funk are neither fair nor true. Kahunastyle by New Jersey artist Aaron Velasquez – a.k.a. Flamingosis – is one of those albums. It’s the kind of album that opens up with a sample from “Can You Dig It?”, one of those tracks that’s been shot to hell by remixes, but in the context of future funk, it’s the right amount of wink-wink-nudge-nudge to be charming. Fans of the late Japanese acid jazz/hip-hop producer Nujabes may find similar qualities in Kahunastyle: a mid-tempo, bluesy feel with a firm grounding in beatsmiths such as The Roots and A Tribe Called Quest. Just check out “Future Lounge,” which features Keats Collective alumnus A Sol Mechanic.
“Midnight in Montreal” is easily one of the best songs in future funk and 2010’s remix culture as a whole: that opening vinyl crackle is so sweet, and the saxophone screw with occasional vocal snippets is sublime and begging for the club. “Cheer Up” samples “Memory” from the Cowboy Bebop soundtrack – something that I wasn’t expecting, but it’s remixed nicely that recalls Tech N9ne’s usage of “Rain.” “Helping Hand” has a hard-hitting L.A. flow, and “Sleeplessness” gets a bit DnB. There are several guest features; Yung Bae features on “Groovin’,” but it’s nothing more than standard EQ filter and doesn’t give Velazquez the room to shine as he does on the other collaborations.
Kahunastyle is a solid future funk album. Surely recommended for the aspiring future funk fan and for the music critic who needs to realign his biases.
1. Stay Humble – (2:23)
2. Midnight in Montreal – (3:53)
3. Groovin’ (feat. Yung Bae) – (3:33)
4. Future Lounge (feat. A Sol Mechanic) – (3:31)
5. She Loved me – (3:24)
6. Can It Be – (2:30)
7. My Lady – (3:11)
8. Cup of Ramen (feat. Go Yama) – (2:43)
9. Sleeplessness – (2:28)
10. Cheer Up – (3:50)
11. Helping Hand (feat. Ian Ewing x Harris Cole) – (2:44)
12. Bushwick Boogie – (3:46)