Killion Vaults

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Killion Vaults is the second full-length dropped by California nonet Orgone in 2010. The first one, Cali Fever, was issued in June to very positive reviews. But it's not a mere extension of the celebratory hard funk and psychedelic beat consciousness of its predecessor, nor the gritty Southern-styled funk and groove of the similarly named debut, Killion Floor, from 2007. Instead, this 18-track set is the first all-instrumental set issued by Orgone; while it's true that lead vocalist Fanny Franklin is named in the credits here, she doesn't sing a note. Consequently, the cuts on Killion Vaults feel more like vamp-based jams that would be in a soundtrack rather than actual songs. These tracks are more steeped in delay, fuzz, distortion, dub, and reverb effects, and sound very retro. The vibe is also more laid-back than on their previous recordings, though that isn't a minus. There's more to take in here, since the arrangements are less dense but no less present and the sonics are more expansive. The entire thing flows from beginning to end with a very consistent midtempo smoulder rather than a dancefloor burn. World music influences from reggae, Ethio-jazz, Malian funk, and highlife are juxtaposed alongside choppy, druggy funk, as on the stellar "Waiting." Other standouts include the moody, noir-ish "Interloper," with its surf-styled guitar and drifting organ and well-placed vibes; the Morricone-esque yet Afro-jazz on "Dark Falls"; the psychedelic Orientalism of "Dead Reckoning"; "Sonny's Lament," with its feel and sound similar to the Animals' version of "House of the Rising Sun"; and the nasty clavinet-driven funk in "Cruel Intentions." Each of these tracks is short -- the longest piece here is three and a half minutes -- making for a breezy, cinematic single-setting listen. Killion Vaults is another laid-back but no less sophisticated side of Orgone; fans of film music, retro funk, rock, and danceworthy world music should take note.

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