Freddy Fresh

Abstract Funk Theory

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Far more than a peripheral player in the big beat scene, the man who spoke, "Fatboy Slim is f*cking in heaven," gets a chance to prove that he runs deeper than trendy Afrika Bambaataa remixes. On his contribution to the Abstract Funk Theory series of "selector" compilations, Freddy Fresh pulls mostly from the back of the shelf, choosing obscurities that represent a keen mix of techno and electro, house and ambient, both new and old. C.O.D.'s classic Latin electro "In the Bottle" ties in neatly with DMX Krew's update of Kraftwerk's "Showroom Dummies," while Quadrant Six's "Body Mechanic" is the best stereotypical disco-electro cut you've heard in a while, with syncopated bass, thunderous tom fills, and faux-Euro vocals. Fresh moves into techno, flexing his collector's muscle with the rarely heard Inner City release "Groovin' Without a Doubt," a severely archaic drum-machine workout produced by an extremely young Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. Juxtaposed against the hyper-complicated "Voices From Another Age" by Dan Curtain, it becomes stunning how much the music has progressed. Fresh does include two of his own tracks, but both exclusives -- "Smooth," recorded with Man Parrish, and "Mortuary," with its massive modular analog sound -- are mostly ambient affairs and demonstrate little of the beat fetish that Fresh is known for. And even the presumably humorous "Was Dog a Doughnut," taken from Cat Stevens' bizarrely forgotten '70s electro-funk phase, ends up being far more serious than one would expect -- much like Freddy Fresh himself.

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