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Fogshack Music Vol. 1 (In the Pocket Records)

Wednesday, Jan 3 2007
As products of San Francisco's mid-'90s acid jazz heyday, Vinyl has both succeeded and suffered thanks to its pedigree. The six-piece ensemble enjoys huge popularity within the cadre of holdouts from that mostly forgotten era; these are the same heads who salivate over a new Charlie Hunter record and stand in line for tickets to Galactic. But Vinyl's reputation as hardcore slaves to the groove also rendered the group sort of invisible — it's easy to forget about a local mainstay that plies limitless, chops-heavy dance jams once you're out of college and into, like, songs.

Someone in Team Vinyl must've realized that going beyond the band's circle was necessary for freshness, so Fogshack Music Vol. 1 relies on the tried and mostly true method of remixers remixing. Local production duo the Rondo Brothers (perpetrators of last year's Hawaiian hip-hop experiment No Time Left on Earth) blow up eight new Vinyl tracks here and the result is the band's best recorded work. Clean and concise but still raw and funky as hell, these tracks ride the Rondos' whiplash drum programming and exaggerated electronic thump but still swell with the horn-heavy, percussion-driven foundation Vinyl was built on. Veteran P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell, sitting in throughout, adds incontrovertible soul to up-jumping opener "Give and Go" and renders the old Parliament nugget "Moonshine Heather" as genuine as can be. "Imperial Majesty," a syncopated cut 'n' paste burner, proves how sexy you can get with just a rim shot and a slinky trumpet line. Vinyl is still a slave to the groove, but Fogshack is a much-needed update thanks to the new guys cracking the whip. — Jonathan Zwickel

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Jonathan Zwickel


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