SQUARE WAVE 009: Proximal's Boogie StewBy Abdullah Saeed
Square Wave documents an emerging community of contemporary musicians trafficking in electronica, hip-hop, and avant-garde. In an age where any beat geek or tech head can be a producer, technology has given rise to scenes and collectives in unlikely locales; Square Wave is a space for those communities to reach a global audience.
There are drawbacks to being part of generation throwback-everything, but the return of funk in its glitziest form is not one of them. Artists like LA's Dam-Funk, Berlin's Siriusmo, and Stockholm's Opolopo extract and recreate 80s synth feel to a T as a reference to funk's finest era, ranging from the beginnings of Stevie Wonder's with a Moog to the fragmented ends of P-Funk. Indeed, the sound that once reigned supreme and then spent an eternity as porn music has made its return to true music-hood on the shoulders of hip hop and electronica producers who see beyond its cheese and into its soul. Proximal Records' fourth compilation in the Beat Stew series is a dedication to this sound.
When we spoke to label head Carl Burgin aka Sahy Uhns a little while back, he mentioned that Volume Three (the fourth in the series following Volumes Zero, One, and Two would focus on the boogie and its influence on the LA beat scene. The label has shown a propensity to produce in this vein, featuring LA artists celebrated for bringing it back and hosting a collaboration between Proximal's own Benedek and instant keytar legend Dam-Funk. On Beat Stew Volume Three, the full label roster adopts the boogie along with non-label features like Matmatix and Turquoise Summers. Bigger names that appear on the comp like Devonwho and Brainfeeder's MATTHEWDAVID stick to their usual sound. With its dreamlike texture, MATTHEWDAVID's "Trusss" doesn't seem to fit, but getting a familiar name on the credits lends credibility for those just coming upon Proximal.
This is the release that should banish the word "fledgling" from any future discussion about Proximal Records. They've gone from a group of kids making beats to a true collective of artists that have full control of their expressions as a group and individually. If being a team means finding a common thread and successfully creating a cohesive set of works on that thread, the proof is in the Stew.
Coming up this year, I'm waiting on releases from Benedek and, my personal favorite, Wake.