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Toeachizown

Dam-Funk

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Album Review

These two discs slightly whittle a five-volume series of 35- to 40-minute LPs, a generous amount of modern — yet unapologetically nostalgic — synth funk from a former session musician who does it all in his Los Angeles garage. Dâm-Funk fits within the domain of future/past left-field R&B, alongside Sa-Ra and J*Davey; however, his inspirations are relatively focused, narrowed down to the fallout caused by synthesizer wizards Bernie Worrell and Junie Morrison that affected funk's developments for a few years, from the tail-end of the '70s to the brink of Chicago house. What also sets Dâm apart from his contemporaries is a total reliance on, and mastery of, old gear; that's how some of these tracks swing like the best of Mtume's '80s albums while bouncing, kicking, and squirming like Zapp and early Prince. A highly specialized sound that serves one purpose — unwinding, basically — should lend itself to listener fatigue after 140 minutes, but most of the 24 cuts do distinguish themselves with repeat listens. Dâm's warm synthesizers jab, ripple, glide, and writhe over an array of chunky machine rhythms, from the twilight slide of "Candy Dancin'" (with a nod to Mary Jane Girls' "Candy Man") to the psychedelic flutter of "Mirrors." Some of the melodies, like the twinkling figures throughout "The Sky Is Ours" and the low-profile "10 West," where Dâm concocts an extended coda to Kleeer's "Tonight," are nothing short of gorgeous. Whether you approach this as a longtime funk fanatic, as someone who dabbled in G-funk (DJ Quik, Dr. Dre) back in the early '90s, or as a fan of the Neptunes' airiest productions, Toeachizown should have the same positively mood-altering (or enhancing) effect. It's got a good beat and you can drive 15 miles per hour to it.

Biography

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

One-man band, producer, and DJ Damon Riddick, known as Dâm-Funk ("Dâm" is pronounced "Dame") grew up an only child in Pasadena, CA and was infatuated with a range of music throughout his childhood, from heavy progressive rock to funk. He took to synthesizers above all other instruments and laid down his first home-made tracks during high school. Shortly after graduation, Riddick became a familiar face in Los Angeles recording studios, first with Double Action Theatre, a New Jack Swing act guided...
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Toeachizown, Dam-Funk
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