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“SignOut66” by Funkmata

In a gust of pulsating beats and melodic fizz that will duel for our hearts across the whole of this single’s running time, “SignOut66” from African harmony makers Funkmata kicks into gear ready to please. Anyone within earshot of the song’s opening sonic salvo will definitely feel the urge to synchronize their hips with the drums that greet us here, but they’re far from the lone attention-getter in this seductive song. Pieced together from shards of jazz, funk, rock and soul, “SignOut66” is a juggernaut of rhythm and textured bassline sensuality that will leave a mark on anyone who listens to it this season. Funkmata have never let their fans down, but in this single, they make it all the harder for their competitors to keep the pace with their craftsmanship.

No matter how many times I sit down with “SignOut66,” I always walk away from its melodies feeling as though I’ve just listened to a condensed symphony. There are so many different working parts assaulting us at once in the first half of the track alone, and as we get further along, it seems as though the harmonies – and the beats they’re joined to – grow stronger. Composer Robert Bannerman is showing off a lot of maturity from behind the glass in this single, and even though I had a lot of big expectations coming into my review of the new Funkmata release, I’m pleased to say that his attention to detail exceeded them all by itself.

The swinging groove that we begin with here doesn’t simmer down until we’re closing in on the midsection of the song, but even at this juncture, there’s a sense of urgency guiding all of the players in the studio. The intimacy between the musicians in this single and the material they’re playing together is something to be marveled at, and I don’t get the vibe that it was born of commercial interests at all. There’s too much passion, too much unadulterated soul in their execution of any given beat, for that to be the case. Funkmata can be described a lot of different ways, but one thing their music doesn’t qualify as is derivative. They hammer out something fresh every time they work together, which I should hope to say for their international counterparts this year.

“SignOut66” crosses the finish line with a little less gusto than it starts out with, but despites its fading into the mist, its throttling rhythm isn’t something listeners will forget as the music concludes. 2020 is producing some of the smartest experimental jazz tracks we’ve heard in the last ten years plus, and on the African front, this is undisputedly one of the top acts to watch at the moment. For the last decade and a half, Funkmata have been coming in and out of the spotlight with releases both decadent and devilishly intoxicating, and in “SignOut66,” they remind audiences globally that they aren’t folding up shop anytime soon. They’re here for the long haul, and that’s something music buffs should be very grateful for right now.

Mindy McCall 

The music of FUNKMATA has been heard all over the world in partnership with the radio plugging services offered by Musik and Film Radio Promotions Division.  Learn more https://musikandfilm.com

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