Enter the... Spektrum

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Spektrum is an anomaly on the Playhouse label. They're an actual group, not a single producer or duo. They play a somewhat awkward, skeletal version of funk that involves some apt -- if very overstated -- comparisons to post-punk bands like ESG and A Certain Ratio, and a good number of their tracks resemble Remedy/Rooty-era Basement Jaxx, albeit with all the crazy ornamentation (some would say "fun parts") stripped off. The group owes plenty to the past yet remain modern-sounding (the very Devo-like "Interference" excepted), applying a minimalist house re-fashioning to their decades-old inspirations. And though they don't seem like the easiest fit for Playhouse, they've had a little help from remixes granted by Losoul, Alter Ego, Tiefschwarz, Ricardo Villalobos, and Richie Hawtin. Enter the... Spektrum is an album that conveniently includes the past A-sides but is based around new material, much of which stacks up to those past singles quite well. Listeners may have trouble with Spektrum's skewed, less-is-more take on funk, and an hour of Lola Olafisoye's pinched-nose vocals can be as potentially taxing as that of Cameo's Larry Blackmon. Still, this should be a nice change of pace for Playhouse followers, who may appreciate a breather from the label's recent spate of disco/boogie-influenced releases.

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