Waiting for the Big Funk Band

Recently, Stefan Redtenbacher has started drip-feeding tracks from his forthcoming, eagerly awaited album by the enhanced and expanded version of the Funkestra – the Big Funk Band. Just a couple thus far, so, how do they compare?

First off the block was Feed The Chicken, which I proceeded to listen to relentlessly for about three days, because it’s basically my two favourite kinds of music combined – Stefan’s infectious bass lines and the pure adrenaline of a big band, together at last. There’s a slightly harder edge than usual to the bass sound, especially in the verse, which just pulls my ear in and keeps me there the whole time. It’s what I’ve always loved about Stefan’s playing on the Funkestra albums – he creates these wonderful lines which are completely hypnotic, but which do exactly what a bass line should do with this sort of music, sit there and be the solid foundation without needing to steal the show. (Which, ironically, when you love the bass as much as I do, they do anyway.)

The second track to be released was Jump Up, which has more of a traditional Funkestra feel to it, albeit the bass sounds like it has some sort of synth effect (hard to be sure, I’m listening through pretty lousy computer speakers.) It feels bizarre to be comparing it negatively to anything, because it’s absolutely fantastic – not least, I absolutely love the guitar playing of Mike Outram, about whose work with Dave O’Higgins I was raving just yesterday. But compared to Feed The Chicken, which just roared out saying “This is big, this is visceral, this is what you’ve been waiting for”, Jump Up was a bit closer to what I expect from Stefan Redtenbacher. To wit, just plain brilliance, rather than revelatory brilliance.

Either way, it’s going to be a long few months waiting for the whole album to appear!

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