Kirk Degiorgio

The Soul of Science

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Fortunate are the musicians whose knowledge and musical taste run so deep that the very presence of their names on a record sleeve is indicative of the quality within. The Soul of Science opens with a pleasing synth/jazz ambient piece by Ian O'Brien, but that is hardly the point of this compilation. Rather than showcase their own talents, O'Brien and fellow techno-jazz muso Kirk Degiorgio present a well-thought-out collection of jazz-funk numbers that spans the 30-year history of electronic soul music. Included are much-lauded names like Lonnie Liston Smith, David Axelrod, and Shuggie Otis, all artists whose unrestrained funk sound would become the template for modern computer music. This is a 400-level musical course, with Degiorgio digging up ultra-rarities like Herbie Hancock's "The Spook Who Sat by the Door," a never-released gem from the legendary composer that was taken directly off of a promotional flexi-disc. He also includes the godfather of electronic soul, Stevie Wonder, playing the world's largest custom synthesizer on the freakishly raw "I Love Every Little Thing About You," a much-sought-after record that Wonder recorded with his wife, Syreeta. More than a trip through the basement record bins, the curators highlight the modern relevance of these dusty discs. Degiorgio's own "Kaleidoscope" perfectly demonstrates his modern revision of electronic soul, with the primal urgency of the forerunners digitally locked into a synthetic loop that keeps the jazz roots perfectly preserved far into the future. Seiji's "Into the Now" does just that, revisiting the sounds and rhythms of the past to create a jazz-breakbeat groove that has gained much favor with contemporary listeners. No single compilation can claim to offer a definitive lesson in a music as diverse and wide reaching as electronic jazz, but O'Brien and Degiorgio have assembled a flawless collection that effortlessly triggers the music fan's number one weakness: the desire to seek out more of this stuff.

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