Disco-Funk JB at his tightest and funkiest !
Eddie Landsberg | Tokyo, Japan | 01/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A lot of people consider the late '70s as the beginning of the end for JB (prior to his 80's comeback.)
Commercially, yes... but artistically I'd have to agree... I think many of his bands were at their tightest and most confident during the years between Bodyheat and Soul Syndrome.
Of course, history is history...
Circa the late '60s, JB invented funk and proved himself an unstoppable hit making machine...
By the '70s black music was deep into the heavy funk... and although other bands helped the sound evolve JB clearly owned the genre... and was its master creator, performer and entrepreneur.
Then came the later '70s... the disco era... an era where funk was taken for granted and DJs won supremacy over the performer... While disco definitely had heavy pop/funk roots, the instrumental hardcore funk of JB in its rawest form would probably have sounded a bit "old school" to many listeners... Enter SEX MACHINE TODAY - - which along with BODYHEAT marked the end of JB as a chart damaging pop artist, but not the end of his creative output. - - To me, SEX MACHINE TODAY, JB instrumental albums like HUSTLE WITH SPEED, even JB's REALITY show a new side of JB... one in which his bands are getting ever tighter, ever funkier and ever slicker... The syncopation of the rhythms, chops of the musicians and even tempo of the tunes are better and better, yet for some reason, its more of a live sound and JB isn't producing as many hits as he used to... As a result, though JB is at his best, slowly he's written off by the industry... With the old JB you could walk down the street and sing the lyrics... with his new hits you simply danced your butt off... all night long. For hard core funk-a-teers and true music lovers, pure heaven... but in terms of such superficial things as charts and album sales, yeah, the beginning of the end... however, if this the, consider it the greatest of ends...
Years earlier JB had taken a trip to Africa for the RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE. Here he encountered the music of FELA KUTI, and there was no doubt it influenced the entire band of that era... In my opinion SEX MACHINE TODAY represents JB's concept of funk, mixed in with Fela's concept of the extended (but tight) instrumental Jam taken to its piece... No, SEX MACHINE today doesn't have one particular HIT that sells it... instead it offers a sound that makes it a straight through, move and shake yourself into a trance album, and for this reason, even though its not his best known albums I consider it (and its cover work) to be my fave!"