Chris Joss

Monomaniacs, Vol. 1

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After his sonic journey through the Indian subcontinent on Sticks, producer and multi-instrumentalist Chris Joss has returned to the hardened, dusty, grime-covered grooves and soundscapes of the '70s with Monomaniacs, Vol. 1. The inspiration here is simple: soundtrack music from kung fu, blaxploitation, vintage porn, and grindhouse soundtracks, early-'70s discotheque dance vamps, and even some tough rockist guitar mania fill all 12 tracks. Given the vibe, it's mandatory that three elements are in the formula: breakbeats galore, rubbery, pumped up basslines, and handclaps. Hints of melodies assert themselves on tracks such as “Optical” via a funky B-3, but it's rhythm that drives this mess. Horn sections and primitive synth sounds glide in and out of the mix, as does some spaced-out reverb, but it’s the breaks and bass vamps that hold court. Indian music does make a brief appearance here in “Kali Flowers,” but the phase-shifted sitar is backed by outrageously funky wah-wah guitar, and cracking breaks. It’s got a tough, middle-four bridge that turns it inside out into a rocking soul riff before the sitar and guitars bring us back to the exotic. You can smell the incense. The cowbell breaks on “Ford Mustang Cutter” fuel a banging bassline, a tripped reverb-laden flute solo, and some outre synth sounds in a tough mix that pushes the vamp into overdrive -- naturally. The hard funk in “Mo Lovin,” could be Brother Jack McDuff and his trio with Stevie Wonder on clavinet and the Santana congueros, as it vamps on a theme derived from “Superstition.” Clocking in at under 40 minutes, this is a bangin,’ dancefloor strutting, creatively inspired set that showcases Joss at his nasty best.

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