Trance-inducing, cutting-edge, and improvisational: all are terms that have been used to describe the newest release from the New Orleans progressive funk outfit Junko Beat. On their sophomore album, Satirifunk, the group presents an innovative musical fusion of New Orleans funk and West African tribal jazz with electronic and Latin-Caribbean influences. The result is a powerful, rhythm-heavy sound that truly captivates the listener.
Junko Beat was formed in 2012 by New Orleanian drummer and composer Chris Lacinak with bassist Vernon Rome and African American cellist Will Snowden. On Satirifunk, this core trio collaborated with a number of skilled musicians including West African master percussionist Sigeunon Kone and renowned pedal steel performer Dave Easley to produce seven captivating tracks. Primarily an instrumental album, highlights include the cosmic “Voyage to Green and Gold” and “March 1827,” the latter featuring Snowden’s cello over a funky NOLA backbeat with a nod to Beethoven. Jane Brody and Trea Martinez also contribute to the eclectic mix, adding their soulful vocals on tracks such as “Control” and “Words.”
This self-described “funky dance jamtronic band” is steeped in New Orleanian and West African musical tradition, making their latest release an immersive polyrhythmic experience that will propel your body and spirit through the labyrinth of grooves.
Reviewed by Chloe McCormick