Sometimes i wake up early in the morning, to play my con-con-congo…

As it has been a quiet week, I have seized the opportunity to dive headlong into the Exciting New Sound that the kids are calling “funky house”. It’s a little confusing, as the term has been around since the late 1990s – but this stuff is far removed from the shiny-shirted, disco-sampling (and fairly clapped out) genre that periodically surfaces on Hed Kandi compilations. And goodness me, I LOVE IT I LOVE IT I LOVE IT!

The music sounds to me like an update on the UK garage sound of 1999/2000 – but with a more propulsive edge to the rhythms, and a percussive feel that bears some comparison to soca. Some of it is quite song-based and girly, while at the other edge of the spectrum the feel is dirtier, rawer, and distinctly butcher. Predictably, it’s the girly, song-based stuff which grabs me most of all – most notably the genre’s cheesiest offering to date, “Bongo Jam” by Crazy Cousinz ft. Calista, which I have been playing five or six times a day. This SO has to be a massive hit single.

Indeed, Crazy Cousinz are quite the production team du jour – as evidenced by their gorgeous remix of Paleface ft. Kyla’s “Do You Mind”, which just grows and grows. Both of these tunes can be found on a handy 26-minute mix from DJ Cable, which serves as an ideal introduction to the genre. To this end, I’d also recommend Tim Finney’s impeccably learned overview of the scene, as blogged at Idolator three months ago.

All of this funkiness has led me to investigating the current playlist at BBC 1Xtra, which reveals an absolute wealth of riches, signalling to me (and better late than never) that so-called “urban” music is currently enjoying a significant upswing, after a couple of years of stagnation. YouTube links for virtually the entire playlist can be found here. I particularly recommend Jazmine Sullivan’s raw, yearning, reggae-tinged “Need U Bad”, Perempay’s sultry, smoking “In The Air”, the floaty, piano-housey “Falling Again” from Wookie ft Ny, and the more classically soulful “LoveLost” from the long-lost Shola Ama. Ooh, you’ll have hours of fun!

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