Various Artists – ‘Funky Chimes: Belgian Grooves From the 70’s Parts 1 & 2’
I’ve been told, “This sort of music was available to the ordinary consumer in 1970’s Belgium, with a delivery that was sort of mind-boggling. If you saved up enough boxes of a certain brand of cookies and pasta, you could trade them in for a series of “pocket records,” five-inch flexi discs with such funky instrumentals as ‘Pink Movement’ from an EP called ‘Experience’. Less than three minutes long, this break-beat fodder features a sultry funk conga groove, psychedelic fuzz guitars and a lead melody performed on electric violin.” Whether that’s true or not, I’ve no idea.
Nevertheless, much, if not all of what you hear on this outing comes from label boss Stefaan Vandenberghe’s very extensive personal vinyl collection, with bands you almost certainly haven’t have heard of. That said, most of the songs have a Northern Soul feel and attitude to them, though not all, with nearly everything on ‘Funky Chimes’ being an instrumental. The material floats across the boards, ranging from sinuous funk to densely arrange modern jazz, all of which suits a variety of moods, flowing effortlessly, if not blessedly, wrapped and raptured in the heyday of the 1970’s, when soulful funk ruled the airwaves.
Of course the musicians take cues from and morph other genres into the mix, and they do it flawlessly, merely hinting at the little known cool laidback funky Belgian music scene. Yet, and there’s always a “but” or a “yet”, the most delightful and compelling tracks embrace psychedelic overtones, which was certainly the case in America during those early years, though the embellishments added here are nothing short of unexpected and head turning.
Without a doubt, you’re going to hear aspects that have been directly lifted from other more famous songs, but don’t go taking it all so seriously, just kick back and enjoy. Please keep in mind, not all of the numbers send you down a Belgian rabbit hole of wonder, serval of the tracks don’t work or aren’t that good, yet still, this is a very worthy addition to your record collection.
‘Funky Chimes Pt. 2’ is a bit more aggressive, more open-credits cinematic, a bit more abrasive and less inclined to allow you to kick back and groove. Leslie Kent’s ‘Inner City Blues’ certainly harks back to the original collections, as does ‘Paddock’ by Patrica Burns, while The Free Pop Electronic Concept’s ‘Chewing Gum Delirium’ leaps into the realm of funky psychedelia in a big way.
Various Artists – Funky Chimes: Belgian Grooves From the 70’s (Sdban)