Maybe it was the artwork or the influences or just a random connection made inside my brain but something about thatmanmonkz has always brought to mind an older, grimmer Britain – one of unwashed streets and poll tax riots and bouffant hairdos out of the Thatcherite era. It may have been much less pretty up close but it was probably one of the most dynamic eras in music history – a bizarre collage of American music fished out of the refuse pile and made anew. Because culture between our two countries is basically the story of creation itself: shockwaves from a supernova stirring the formation of a new sun, which dies in a supernova and triggers another shapeless cloud of disparate energies back to life.
That’s what we have here, in thatmanmonkz’s LP Columbusing for Delusions of Grandeur. Set aside what you know about him, and the label. It’s not so much a House Music record or even an electronic music record as much as a roots album, lustrous and BIG in sound from the various bits of shockwaves ricocheting back and forth from over our heads in the last 20 years. R&B, Jazz, Hip Hop and proper Soul provide a rich canvas for thatmanmonkz and his collaborators to work with, including Dave Aju, Erik Rico and frequent partner Khalil Anthony. The latter lends his voice to two tracks, most significantly the opener “Air.” “Just Anutha Wunna Deez” is about as Housey as it gets in the early going, an homage of sorts to Moodymann. (This was released as an excellent 12″ at the beginning of February, featuring the second Khalil Anthony collaboration, “Take U 2 My House” with a Jimpster remix.) “For Bae” is another highlight – a funky, jazz, virtuoso anthem that could give a corpse the chills.
A producer takes the risk of overextension and leaving himself embarrassingly exposed when he tackles this breadth of music. Not here. There’s a kind of earnest, barefaced authenticity to Columbusing – they’re 14 tracks that want to be loved. They won’t be lacking for it.
Out: Vinyl from Juno.
Published first in 5 Mag Issue #128, featuring Chicago Skyway, the Euro-Disco of Voyage, Getting Started in Vinyl, Ortella, Moppy & more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full access to everything House Music.