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Basement Freaks Something Freaky Review

Album. Released 2011.  

BBC Review

An easy going Saturday night soundtrack with plenty of funk in its DNA.

Mike Diver 2011

While not exactly a one-man show, what with the original vocal contributions across this album’s 12 tracks, Basement Freaks is the musical vehicle for one George Fortadis, a Cologne-based producer whose efforts hark back to funk’s golden age – where the 1970s met the 1980s, and pretending you were trapped in a video game or blasting straight out of Hyper Space was regular behaviour for big-booted and glitter-suited sorts. Replete with retro shades of Clinton and Collins, yet punchy enough to hold its own with more (relatively) contemporary floor-fillers like Chromeo and Fatboy Slim, Something Freaky is a melting pot of influences that will surely find appreciative audiences across geographical and generational divisions.

The reason for this record’s (potential) wide reach is a very simple one: it is categorically un-cool, and utterly out of step with anything that might be deemed on-trend in 2011 (or at any point over the past decade). With vocal hooks asking "don’t you want to party?" and promising to "get it started" (the same party, presumably), it takes only the most cursory of listens to conclude that this is a release with all the depth of a puddle in the dry season. But despite myriad nods to artists and movements of a particularly cheesy variety, and a definite whiff of recycling about some of the samples – yes, that is the same "Woo, Yeah!" heard in tracks by Dizzee Rascal and, previously, The Adventures of Stevie V; and yes, that’s a steal from M/A/R/R/S’s Pump Up the Volume (though they stole it, too) – the overall impression left by this collection is a positive one.

Granted, the cover of Get Ready – speedy, sure, but lacking any real impact; if you’re not going to make a song your own, why bother recording it at all? – is perhaps superfluous to proceedings, but elsewhere there’s much fun to be had. Indeed, it’d come as no surprise should our lynchpin’s full name be revealed as George Joviality Fortadis, such is the gleeful spirit coursing through everything here. And as such, it’s a set that’s impossible to hate on. Sure, it’s dated. Yes, it’s defiantly old-school. But it’s so breezily joyous that it easily infects the soul with no little sunshine. If it’s an easy going Saturday night soundtrack you’re after – for bopping too without the need to analyse any ambiguous elements – then check out these Freaks immediately.

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