The future is now for St. Petersburg jamtronic funksters Future Vintage. Their first full-length album, Doin It Right, is now on the street. The trio specializing in electronic funky dance music released their self-titled EP in 2013, and earlier in 2015 they also made available an excellent Live Mix disk.
Like any recording, Doin It Right is a snapshot in time. The drum tracks for the album were recorded in 2014 by Dean Rocco, the group’s original drummer. He played both acoustic and electronic drums. The band’s new drummer, Eric Layana, is not on this recording.
Matt Giancola plays keyboards, talkbox, vocoder, guitar and percussion on the disk. He also wrote eight of the ten songs; the other two are band collaborations. Trevor McDannel plays bass and bass synth.
Speaking of synths, there are plenty on this recording, but Future Vintage is an organic jamtronic band. Giancola uses a few samples, but most of what comes from his keyboards comes from his talented fingers, not a computer. Similar to other bands on the scene, they successfully meld ‘70s fusion with electronic dance music sensibilities for a joyous and bouncy ride.
“Work It Out” is the first track and the first single released. It opens with a Princely guitar riff, relentless drums, synthesizers, throbbing bass, and finally a beautiful Herbie Hancock-inspired electric piano, space bass filling the grooves. The electronic vocals will remind you of Daft Punk, Juno What? and others of that genre.
One of the band’s concert staples is “Duke Meets the Booty.” McDannel’s bass drives the beat here along with Rocco’s kit workout. This one is straight out of the Headhunters tradition.
Another favorite of dancers is “Nasty Spot,” a talkbox synth romp heavy on bouncy percussion. “Interlude” was originally intended as a coda for “Nasty Spot,” a lovely, spacy, jazzy jam with a hint of Tortured Soul.
“Obliquity” is one of the jazziest tunes on the disk, McDannel’s synth bass punctuating the action with additional percussion as well. Keyboards range from electric piano to synths, a truly delicious mix.
“Rarefied” features Rocco’s drums front and center, synthesizers and electric piano again competing for attention. This time, the electric piano is echoplexed for a wonderful shimmery ‘70s feel a la Les McCann and others. This is a terrific recording, an excellent idea of how Future Vintage sounds live. Kudos to James Forbes for his outstanding tracking, mixing and mastering.
Four more of the songs that have kept funkateers dancing at shows are showcased next. “Zombie Killer” is first, and it delivers what the title promises. The Afrobeat element kicks in immediately with congas, and the guitar figure is from the Fela Kuti school. There’s no chance of sitting still for this one. Actually, no chance of sitting, period! When the clavinet appears, the tune somehow gets even funkier, Rocco and McDannel throwing down even harder. Another gorgeous electric piano solo makes this an old-school delight. Headhunters funk indeed!
The title track, “Doin It Right,” is very distinctive. McDannel’s baseline is killer, and the “chorus” features Rocco on the electronic drum pad. Giancola dances over several synthesizers. The influence of Joey Porter and The Motet are obvious here, including the talkbox vocals.
Meesta Juanjamon joins the festivities on “Body,” playing tenor saxophone. The multi-instrumentalist performed for years with CopE, and Giancola and McDannel also play in The Juanjamon Band (with Dre Mack and Michael Garrie). More talkbox here “sings” the melody. Juanjamon is in fine form, and his horn’s tone is picture-perfect here. He blows out a massive solo, with a McDonnell funk bomb in the middle.
Lots of percussion and a throbbing drum beat launch the last track, “Tarantism,” an amazing three-way musical orgy of sound. Seriously, if you’re not dancing, there is no need to take your pulse; Jack, you’re dead! This isn’t feel-good music; it’s feel-GREAT music!
In addition to the excellent work by Forbes and production by Giancola, another Giancola deserves a shout-out for the hip album cover and CD design, courtesy of Anna Giancola, the band’s photographer and much more.
You can read about the album release party here.
And you can read our On the Rise feature about Future Vintage here.