Breakestra – Dusk Till Dawn
Back with their first album since 2005’s Hit The Floor, LA funk band Breakestra bring us Dusk Till Dawn, via Strut Records. This new record represents two years of hard graft back in the lab for Miles Tackett and the Breakestra team, and is actually a tribute to Miles’ late Root Down DJ partner, DJ Dusk, who tragically lost his life in a road accident a few years ago. Rather fittingly, Dusk appears alongside Chali 2na on the track ‘Posed To Be, and I can honestly say that after hearing this new album quite an amount of times, it is indeed a wonderful tribute to DJ Dusk. Breakestra are back and the quality just keeps on rising!
01. Need A Little Love
02. Dark Clouds Rain Soul
03. Come On Over feat. Afrodyete
04. Back At The Boathouse
05. Get It Right
06. Show You The Way
07. Me & Michelle
08. I Don’t Wanna Wait
09. No Matter Where You Go
10. ‘Posed To Be feat. Chali 2na & DJ Dusk
11. North-East To Nippon
12. Low Down Stank
13. Joyful Noise
14. You’ll Never Know
15. Set The Sun
I’ve seen Breakestra play live and it was one of the gigs of my life. They play with such passion and skill – giving off ridiculous amounts of energy and good vibes. Most people I’ve spoken to about Breakestra all share my sentiments and reserve nothing but praise for the group. In fact, the only criticism I’ve heard of them is that they perhaps have a tendency to play less original sounding breaks, i.e. familiar sounding party breaks. Firstly, that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but secondly (and more importantly), if that was to be an accurate piece of commentary, then I can tell you right now that Dusk Till Dawn firmly breaks away from such a notion. In years to come, when people look back over the discography of Breakestra, this will be the pivotal moment when it was realised that Breakestra came well and truly into their own.
From the first track, Need A Little Love, it is unmistakably Breakestra, that blend of funk which instantly gets your head nodding and your feet tapping. Guitars clash with brass, whilst the drum break rides with the understated vocals – a perfect intro track to really set the mood. Dark Clouds Rain Soul starts with rhythmic congas and a sharp flute melody, before building into a steady and soulful mantra-laden track. The first official guest on the album is Afrodyete on Come On Over, providing fantastic soul vocals over a catchy array of guitars, brass and keys.
The album features two tracks under the length of three minutes, in the guise of Back At The Boathouse and also I Don’t Wanna Wait, otherwise they all range between three to seven minutes long. In it’s entirety the 15-track Dusk Till Dawn spans just shy of 1 hour and 13 minutes of brilliant funk. Breakestra were pure class from day one, so it was always going to be a task to exceed that older output, but I believe they have done just that with Dusk Till Dawn – the monster track Get It Right is a prime example of this. A trap some funk bands fall into is not assembling the full arsenal of elements needed to hit that ‘sweet-spot’, but Get It Right has; an infectious and heavy break, an uptempo melody fueled by bass and lead guitars, soulful and gritty vocals – but most importantly it has been structured and constructed in such a manner that all these combined elements deliver an almighty payload to the aforementioned ‘sweet-spot’. It’s a definite trend throughout, and for all the grit and attitude to the album, it has to be remembered that without the underlying quality that Breakestra possess, then it would all fall flat – they truly are the full funk package.
Other highlights of the album include the instrumental track Me & Michelle, with its inclusion of fiddle and a mean breakdown, the tribute-filled track No Matter Where You Go, a sort of geographical shout-out to other funk acts around the world, and the fantastically uplifting Joyful Noise. Oh, and of course the track mentioned at the start of this review, ‘Posed To Be featuring Chali 2na (of Jurassic 5 fame) and the late DJ Dusk. As you can probably guess, it’s the only track on the album featuring actual emcees. From a structural and lyrical point of view, it bears some semblance to Triple Trouble by Beastie Boys, but only in the chorus – otherwise it’s a fine combination of live instrumentation and rapping, delivered within an addictive and progressive body.
Dusk Till Dawn is a tremendous culmination, and blend, of vocal and instrumental funk tracks. MixMaster Wolf has a very distinctive vocal style, he maintains that raw aspect whilst still delivering with great amounts of melodic soul. The calibre of the instrumentation has never been in any doubt – there’s almost nothing else to be said with regards to this – sublime. Essentially speaking, Dusk Till Dawn will be a must-have for any funk fans, but I think it will also win over anyone who is just a fan of music. It should also serve to silence any previous doubters (although I would imagine they were always in the minority!). Definitely one of the releases of 2009 – keep your eyes peeled because this one will be out everywhere on Strut Records before the month is out!
Upcoming Live Dates:
- Sep 25 2009 – Winston’s – San Diego, California
- Sep 26 2009 – Adams Avenue Street Fair – San Diego, California
- Oct 01 2009 – Voodoo Lounge – San Jose, California
- Oct 02 2009 – The Independent – San Francisco, California
- Oct 06 2009 – El Ray Theatre – Los Angeles, California
- Oct 24 2009 – Le Jam – Nantes, France
- Oct 25 2009 – La Maroquinerie – Paris, France
- Oct 28 2009 – Het Depot – Leuven, Belgium
- Oct 29 2009 – Melkweg – Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Oct 30 2009 – Democrazy (w/ DJ Vadim) – Gent, Belgium
- Oct 31 2009 – Rotown – Rotterdam, Netherlands