Record Review: Made Of Wood – The Chill/Funk Trip (2012, self-released)

The title is revealing: groove-laden, playfully instrumental funk/jazz jams with electronic leanings

Genre: Downtempo / Funk / Jazz

Region: Global: USA

Artists Website: http://madeofwoodmusic.com/index/

Made Of Wood is the solo project of multi-instrumentlist, producer and composer Dan Waldman. The music here is totally instrumental fusing electronic and acoustic sounds, some of them played live by Waldman himself while others are sampled (many are manipulated samples of his own performances).

The music is groove-laden and utterly pleasant – it is like a constant jamming divided in 11 compositions. The flow is really ‘organic’ from one song to another and from acoustic to more electronic ends of the jazz/funk spectrum. The electronic side of his music does not saturate nor alter the primarily playful acoustic feel and the rich instrumentation.

Dan Waldman flies back all the way to the 1970s to bring back some of the forgotten jams straight out of the vaults of P-Funk, acid jazz and psychedelic rock heydays. In such an endeavour the sound is inevitably vintage, an approach which assists the original feel of the music. There are funk underpinnings in most of the songs, which boost the jazzy jams while some of them are more laid back and melodic with mind-travelling electronic beats and samples.

The first two songs ‘Fire Up The Sidewalk’ and ‘Electric Funk Break For Addy’ are simply essential for the jazz/funk music lover. They sound like Mandrill’s and War’s more instrumental moments combined with the rhythmic backbone of Parliement’s flamboyant funk and the more modern fusions of groups like St. Germain and Troublemakers.

One can travel with the cosmic keys in the overall more electronic and orchestral sounding ‘Are We Lost?’ The downtempo and orchestral character of Dan Waldman’s music comes into the foreground in ‘Simmer’, which brings a more concise version of Cinematic Orchestra in mind. The are interesting musical suggestions here and there like the desert-tinged fuzzy guitars of ‘Low Earth Orbit’ as combined with melodic spacey keys.

Although not all the compositions are equally captivating, the album can be heard easily from start to finish and start again and whenever you decide to give it more of your attention there are plenty of sounds to discover. However, there are a few ‘empty’ parts as well as some breaks which are a bit weak and do not fulfill their functional role.

‘Chill Funk Trip’ is the first complete work of Dan Waldman. He is already following some interesting paths in the electronic jazz/funk cosmos (with a special reference to the first two tracks of the album) and we can only be excited about his next steps.

You can download for free 3 songs from this album plus one more in a special EP Made Of Wood made available.

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Explore similar music via Freegan Kolektiva:

Congo Sanchez – Vol. 1 (2012, ESL Music)

AUditors DOmination – Palace of Light (2012, Timewarp music)

The Funk Ark – High Noon (2012, ESL Music)

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