The Chameleon Project – Funk ‘n’ Space
This is the sort of release that gives lie to the idea cross-genre works and electronic music in general comes out either disjointed or lacks substance. The Chameleon Project’s Funk n Space is a ten track opus that pushes a basket full of boundaries in its attempt to find an identity quite different from the plethora of electronic influenced acts working on the music scene today. They succeed wildly. This potent stew of EDM, groove centered jazz, funk, disco, and art rock inclinations sparks listener’s imaginations from the first thanks, primarily, to the superb quality of the compositions, but the album is likewise successful thanks to the sparkling production that the band puts on everything. The Chameleon Project has given these songs spectacular clarity that brings their intentions and ambitions alike to raw, physical life. Funk n Space is a wildly entertaining and thrilling achievement sure to get pulses raising.
The mellow groove of “Milky Way” opens the album on just the right note. Out of the eight songs on Funk n Space, plus two remixes, there isn’t a more ideal opener. Much of the success inherent to this tune can be attributed to the combination of keyboard work and drumming that strikes opposite, but oddly sympathetic, notes. “Playhouse” moves the needle from the aforementioned mellow grooves towards another side of the funk music spectrum. This, as the title alludes, is a much more playful number than the opener with an understated pop edge and a romping attitude certain to make this a live favorite. One of the more interesting facets of the songs on this release is how ably The Chameleon Project brings together an assortment of musical elements capable, typically, of overwhelming a listener, but uses them in such a sure0handed fashion that the band’s potential audience will never feel too put upon. Instead of cluttered or discordant, the synthesis of electronica, bass, keyboards, guitar, and unusual voice-overed vocals makes for an intriguing combination.
Progressive rock synthesizer textures and reggae meet to splendid effect on the song “Steppin’”. The band achieves the upward lilt of the genre without sounding out of place essaying this sort of musical style and, unlike many of their contemporaries who might turn their creative gaze in this direction; The Chameleon Project never goes in for those two or three standard and recognizable tropes in an effort to invoke the genre’s trappings. Instead, “Steppin’” sounds out loud with the same idiosyncratic approach to both form and melody characterizing the band’s work as a whole. “Kraken” makes excellent, if slightly predictable, use of ambient sounds to begin the song before moving into experimental rock territory and the guitar work is particularly strong without ever risking obscurity. “Reactor” is one of the album’s best examples of pure electronica from the first to the last. It has an enormous pulse that never abates and the physicality of the song is something few fans of the genre, or novices for that matter, will have difficulty connecting with. Funk n Space is a deliriously creative musical ride from first to last.