Sound Experience

The Soulville Collection

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This compilation covers the short career of Sound Experience, a large funk ensemble reminiscent of the Ohio Players who knocked out some impressive jams during their brief recording career. The surprising thing about this group's sound is the driving, rock-oriented style utilized on the up-tempo tracks: songs like "Don't Fight the Feeling" and "40 Acres and a Mule" prominently feature loud, fierce electric guitar lines among the expected driving basslines and jazzy horn arrangements. Sound Experience have also become something of a cult item thanks to songs like "Devil With the Bus," a clavinet-fueled track that balances a smoothly harmonized chorus with some throbbing, percussive rhythms, and "J.P. Walk," an instrumental epic that builds from some meditative electric piano lines into a horn-laden opus that features some tasty synthesizer solos on its tag (trivia note: this tune gained new notoriety when it was used as soundtrack music for the mock-porn films in Boogie Nights). Other tracks show the group had a winning way with ballads: "He Don't Really Love You" is an elegant track that effectively blends a gospel-styled piano melody with lush string orchestrations and "You Don't Know What You're Doing" is an anguished slow groove that highlights the group's strong grasp of slick, heart-tugging vocal harmonies. Some of the lesser tracks value groove over melody, but the arrangements and musicianship are so tight that funk fans won't care and all of the songs sport plenty of catchy riffs. All in all, The Soulsville Collection is an engaging portrait of a lesser-known funk group who are worthy of investigation by fans who have worn out their Ohio Players and J.B.'s albums.

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