LUKE SLATER

Wireless (Novamute)

It's only fair that the word "funky" is closely associated with black culture; after all, while Whitey was chasing Bread and Terry Jacks, superior booties were working out to the Original Soul Brother Mr. James Brown and P-Funk.

But though blacks may be the Edison of all that is funky, whites have learned how to get their bulbs hot enough to burn the roof, too, even if it has taken most a few decades to learn how. Kraftwerk -- Germans, fer Chrissakes! -- even uncovered a funk universal way back when: It matters not whether a human or a machine generates that vibe, as long as it moves those magic muscles.

Luke Slater's a white British guy without an Afro -- not your basic recipe for you-know-what, of course (hey, man, Isaac Hayes was bald), but one that works wonders on Wireless, Slater's second full-length. Drawing from Detroit techno, early German Kraut-rock and the mysterious funk beat, the extremely wired Wireless uses all sorts of machinery to create one of the hardest, most rhythmic records of the year.

But let's get the terminology straight here: There are no J.B. horns, no P-Funk feathered fanciness, no deep fretless basses within. There are, however, vocoders and robot sounds, synthetic hand-claps, fantastic digital breakbeats and an all-around head boppin', shoulder-swaggerin' mess of textured beat. The all-instrumental record will no doubt be filed in the white-funk section of your store -- the "electronica" section. But don't let that fool you, brothers and sisters. This is the shit, a hard slice of the new school funk that merges all of it -- funk-funk, electro, techno and hip-hop -- into one thick brick house rolling over the dance floor on mag wheels.

 
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