Silk Rhodes

Text by KralTunes

***Opinions expressed in this article are not endorsed nor representative of Tonight At Dawn***

Baltimore’s Sasha Desree and Michael Collins pay homage to the soulful funk of the late 70’s in their self-titled release, SILK RHODES. The intro (aptly dubbed INTRO) serves up some funky R&B instrumentals that segue into the lead single. Ultimately, “Pains” serves as a precursor for the entire album; it imbibes slinky and simplistic beats with grooves that encompass Desree’s sultry, falsetto lyrics.

Still the duo veers away from straight R&B at times and makes a satisfying hard left into a funk, with tracks like “Face to Face” and “Reeltime”.  Then the album takes a smooth right into the slow, booty bumping instrumental “Personal Use” before easing into drone-funk. Each of these sparsely laid tracks feature one specific instrument that is accompanied by the bedrock bass/drum combo.

Although a formula of limited instrumentation can drag along like a monotonous landscape, Desree and Collins do a fine job of shifting gears just enough to make the trip enjoyable (it also helps that the whole album clocks out at 30 minutes).

Still, the interludes are hit or miss; the 30 second “Horizon Line” may exceed the useless “Laurie’s Machine” by miles, it is still unnecessary.  Armed with a nice looping groove, “Group 1987” is the best of these scenic overlooks.

Its ultra mellow lounge act may be more BEE GEES than COMMODORES for my taste, but SILK ROHDES still has the charm of taking you back to the music you heard while buckled (or not) into the backseat of the family car.

Silk Rhodes

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TOO MANY ZOOZ

Youtube can be an amazing thing:  Not that long ago, Matt Doe, Leo P and Dave “King of Sludge” Parks were three subway buskers anonymously filling the underground tunnels of NYC with their blaring horns and stomping drums.

They may have been just three men playing just three instruments, yet they filled the subway with a sound that could rival a full-on jazz band.

That all changed, however, once a video was posted of the trio playing at Union Square station, and thus, pandemonium ensued. TOO MANY ZOOZ followed up the viral success with their first E.P., F NOTE, earlier this year and the trio is already back with number 2, FANIMALS.

As good as the musicianship was on their first release, the arrangements on Fanimals sound more complex and mature. This time around, the band explored different genres and broadened their sound to include Latin (“Mouse Trap”), Mambo,  House (“Turtledactyl”), Dance and Middle Eastern (“Wet”) influences.

Particularly on tracks like “Limbo” and “House of the Glass Red Pt. 2,” Too Many Zoos added more dynamics to their arrangements; they start out softer and the music builds like a wave before it crests into a fulfilling climax.  The entire release is nothing more than great fun, and these three talents know how to make an audience move to the groove; you’d almost expect to see Too Many Zoos stomping down Royal St. in New Orleans.

“House of the Glass Red” (Pts. I and II) are a House music delight, and a fitting way to cap off another stellar release.  Thankfully, there is certainly a different vibe on E.P. no. 2. than its predecessor because they could easily have leaned on the same formula.

On their first E.P., there was not much for the drummer to do other than keep time and add some nice little fills here and there, and that trend continues on the second.  Seeing his subway setup, one could understand how he must make do with the few trinkets he does possess (on a positive note, he does rock that cowbell better than Will Ferrell ever could)!

For the better, things are also slowed down a bit on these 6 tracks.  The frantic horns on “To the Top” from the first E.P. may be missed on Fanimals, the tamer tones are equally powerful and equally satisfying.

Before long, Too Many Zoos will be earning well beyond what they used to accumulate in a guitar case.