An artist who I have been utterly obsessing over recently is Dâm-Funk (pronounced dame-funk), from Leimert Park, Los Angeles. Known to his mother as Damon Riddick, he cut his teeth on the West Coast hip-hop scene as a session musician playing keyboards for the likes of MC Eiht and Westside Connection. He is also widely known as LA’s “Ambassador Of Boogie Funk”, running the much-loved Funkmosphere weekly club night, where he consistently gives welcome exposure to the oft-forgotten and underrated funk and R&B music of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Aside from this, however, he has also been crafting and refining his own unique and highly personal brand of “modern funk” for the last 20 years – playing and recording all the instruments himself without the aid of loops and samples – and over the last year, has started to release some of it on the ever-brilliant Stones Throw label (current home, of course, to one of our all-time heroes Gary Wilson, amongst many other great artists).
Dâm-Funk’s music resonates with me particularly for similar reasons to the current wave of so-called “Hypnagogic Pop”, that I wrote about earlier this month, conjuring up as it does a dreamlike, almost Utopian musical vision rooted in the 1980s but full of the infinite hope and promise that the future once seemed to hold. As well as sharing his love of perennially underrated artists such as Roger Troutman, Steve Arrington, D-Train and Mtume, I was struck by his description (in this interview) of the “beautiful chords” he is constantly drawn to, and also the quite moving reasons that he gives for his ongoing musical endeavours in this excellent video interview. Well, without further ado, I’ll leave you with some of his tunes. He plans to release 5 albums this year (2 are already available from Stones Throw), and in my opinion the quality of his music more than justifies such a quantity!
“Electric Breeze” by Dâm-Funk
“Indigo” by Dâm-Funk
“On & On” by Dâm-Funk
As a further bonus, here’s a brilliant VHS-style promo for Dâm’s Wavelength side project on his own Glydezone label: