Friday, July 03, 2009

FDF Volume 2 Issue 148: Jamiroquai - Synkronized

By: March

Album - Synkronized
Artist - Jamiroquai
Key Players - Toby Smith - keyboards. Nick Fyffe - bass. Simon Katz - Guitar. Sola Akingbola - percussion. Wallis Buchanan - digeridoo. D-Zire -DJ. Drums - Nick McKenize. Jay Kay - Lead Vocals.
Produced By - Al Stone

Release Date - June 8, 1999

What caused me to blow off the dust? - At the outset was unsure what to re listen to this week..and I just happened to start in/around this point of the cd collection and that was that. We are not overly technical here.

Overview - This was the fourth studio album by UK based band "Jamiroqaui". The band took its name by combining "Jam" and "Iroquai" based on the Native American Tribe. Jay Kay, the groups leader, formed the band after he failed the vocal audition for another band. They'd release two records that would go to #1 and #2 in the UK but not crack the US charts. It was not until "Virtual Insanity" from the bands third record "Travelling Without Moving" would the band see any waves in the US (It would peak at #24). The band would win multiple MTV Video awards and create some additional buzz in North America. They'd release three more studio records before releasing a best of/singles collection in 2006. Each record would chart lower than the previous in the US, but in the UK the lowest "peak" the band would see is #3 on the charts.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) - The first single from the record "Canned Heat" opens the record. At the very outset it seems mellow, with some keyboard fills before the drums and wah wah guitar come in. The bass gets funky and the tempo picks up. Jay sings at a pretty quick pace and the tone is set for the entire record with this funk/disco collection. The chorus they enunciate on "Dance" and the string fills off set the real funky back beat. If you toes don't tap on this one, you won't like the record, its that simple. The song gets really cooking with the funk back beats and a grinding keyboard run. "Planet Home" is a little more laid back but no less funk fueled. The focus is on the bass and some percussion instruments for the first verse it feels a little "samey" until the 3 minute mark when there is some cool delay on the vocals and a good piano break down with the percussion instruments going full tilt. "Black Capricorn Day" slowly builds with a great bass groove and percussion accented with the chanting of "hey!". There are funk bass runs, with the drums and horn sections fill out any gaps in the track. The band is feeding off one another and you can tell even in the studio setting. (I recall playing this song from time to time when I worked at the radio station and wondered why it wasn't WAY bigger). What mid section of the song gets a little more repetitive for better or worse, that could be the reason, then it returns to the hook of the song for the final 2 minutes. Sounding like something Stevie Wonder would do, "Soul Education" begins and Jay quickly comes in. Once again, the mix is strong as you can hear the percussion instruments right along with the bass line that pushes everything right along. Some keyboard runs and strings fill out the chours as Jay sings at his usual rapid pace. For the first time on the record we "slow it down" on "Falling". The it is a smooth/funky song, but even the vocals are laid back. It is a moment of rest for the band, it just has to be. "Destitute Illusion" has move of the deep groove feel the listener has come used to in the record. The track seems to loop on one music bed section and is totally instrumental. It never gets overly complex, or ever really all that interesting, but its not a skippable track either somehow. The didgeridoo is the focal instrument on the intro to "Supersonic". It slowly gets meshed with some deeper keyboard tones and cool funky back beats. Jay seems to take more breaks from singing allowing the band to really get on a roll. In a live setting one could assume this song would really spread its wings. "Butterfly" shifts gears a little, and we are more into a soulful/smooth groove. It sounds a little campy with almost whispered lines in the chorus, but the band really shines per the norm. We get the good mix of uptempo and funkyness once more on "Where Do We Go from Here?". The mix is great once more, as the bass and percussion instruments are pushed up in the mix and you can hear everything. It is a treat to hear music like this. There is a great break down on this and the guitar gets a run before the bass and horns really get it moving. It remains at the same tempo for the duration of the track, but each verse seems quicker than the last. In reading about "King for a Day" this track was written for departed long time bass player Stuart Zender and it is noticeable in the track the lack of bass guitar or any bass synth. The track is piano led with a simple drum part. The track has a full sound and is sort of a somber track to wrap up such an uptempo record.

Where are they now?
- The band is still active today and hope to release an album of new material in the Fall of 2009.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) - I have not seen the band live. I had tickets for a show of theirs on this very tour, but I gave them to a buddy who to this day still raves how great it was.

FDF Overall Take - If you are looking for some more uptempo and slightly different music for your workouts/walks at lunch you may want to look at some of this bands material. Most would take the path towards the Singles collection, but there are some gems buried on this record. As one reviewer wrote "Imagine if Stevie Wonder made a disco record". It might not be for everyone, but the band is really tight and worth your time.

Official page is here and myspace is here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

the mp3's have been removed.

Black Capricorn Day

The tracks were taken from "Synkronized" which you can buy here.

Disclaimer - For the most part songs listed you can find on iTunes or your local cd shop. The idea is to give you a little taste of the music. Please support the artist buy purchasing some of their work. Songs are posted for about 1 week but can and will be removed at the request of the artist, band, band management etc. If you are one of those persons contact me via the email link in the profile and they will be removed as soon as we are made aware of the request.


At 4:31 PM, Blogger Travis Erwin said...

My wife is still in love with this dude and that big fluffy hat.


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