DāM-Funk Above The Fray album review by Adam Fink for Northern Transmissions


Above The Fray


Many touring musicians and artists find themselves so caught up in the everyday hustle of trying to sustain a career and a life that certain aspects of what drew them to their work in the first place can become lost. DāM-Funk, has been a touring musician, producer, DJ since the early aughts and when his schedule settled down because of the pandemic, the artist slowly found himself becoming drawn back to the things that help to start his musical journey. Through the simple act of sharing music with people, homemade mixtape and CDs, and through his Apple Music show, Glydezone Radio with DāM-FunK, he started to rediscover why he started doing what he does in the first place. His latest album is a testament to that. His first full length album in six years, Above The Fray, is an unabashed celebration of modern funk and the legacy behind the genre. DāM-Funk wrote, produced and played every note on the album and the ten songs that make up Above The Fray feel pure and joyful. The sound of an artist free of whatever had previously stood in his way.

The all, only instrumental tracks on Above The Fray are contemplative while also being absolute head nodders. The record is awash in a multitude of synths and complex drum patterns that will make you feel like you are floating just a little higher off the ground than usual. The title track has echoes of Thundercat. With it’s looping double time beat and wavy synth bass, the song feels complex as well as airy. While the album doesn’t stray far from its formula of long, winding passages interspersed with the occasional synth solo that will make you say, “Oh dammmmnnnn” out loud, it never feels meandering or boring. “2071” borrows a Funkadelic bass line but adds some synth-y strings that somehow manage to make the piece feel like it could’ve come from any era. “Get There” has the record’s most straight ahead groove and proves that the right bass line is just as hooky as any vocal melody or guitar riff. When the guitar solo kicks in during the song’s climax, it is something that you could imagine making Prince blush.

Through the rediscovery of his love for sharing music, DāM-Funk has crafted an album that practically begs the listener to dig into what the records were that inspired the whole endeavour. Above The Fray is a music fan’s dream. Something that, while completely enjoyable on its own, opens the door to your own discovery. Whether this is something completely new to you or if you instantly get the song’s underlining touchstones, Above The Fray solidifies DaM-Funk’s position as Ambassador of Funk, and like he said in an interview he gave in 2015, “Not old-school, not new school but timeless.”

Pre-order Above The Fray by DāM-Funk HERE


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