Monday, February 24, 2014

Funktastic by Mike Zabrin

  Twenty-Two year old musician, Mike Zabrin will be releasing the album titled Funktastic on April 1st. This album has a host of great musicians featured on the album including Kendra Foster of Parliament Funkadelic, Norwood Fisher from Fishbone and even a few members of Kool & the Gang. This album is mostly Fusion, though it starts off as a R&B/Hip-Hop and as the album progresses the funkier and groovier the tracks get. This album brings together all closely related genres of music and puts them all in one, nine track album almost like a family reunion of the musical genres.

     Most of the records music is written by Zabrin. Mike did want to stress that one of the unique aspects of the album is that everyone who played on the record contributed to it weather by helping write chords or lyrics on the tracks. If you are an avid reader of the reviews on this site, you may have picked up on one of my favorite characteristics in albums, and that is cohesiveness. Funktastic excels in this realm as every sound and instrument recorded sounds perfectly placed. Some of the most underrated features in a good funk record is a horn section and the soulful sound of brass instruments can be heard throughout the album.

     For an album like this, listeners will have to truly listen to the beautiful music being played. Much like clocks, this album requires many small pieces and parts in order to work. The construction of even one track on Funktastic blows my mind, as everything seems so complex, yet so simple at the same time.

     The vocals on the track wouldn't be as great as they are without the music behind them. Make no mistake, it's wonderful singing and harmonizing  throughout the album, but the layers of Jazz inspired, Blues infused music is what makes the singing truly stand out. That being said, you may think you're listening to The Roots on the first track as Zabrin had the help of rapper Rico Sisney to help create a conscious Hip-Hop style song which was truly a great way to kickoff the album.

     From the bass guitar that holds the groove to so many of the songs, to the drums that seem to float on the tracks elegantly intertwined with other highly enjoyable instruments, this project is as good as it gets. This record can be heard by anyone and can't be denied as quality music.

     The standout track on the album is "Fact Fiction." It starts out with a Seinfield-esqe bass groove and then that powerful horn section kicks in and it's an automatic hit. Then again, the album is filled with amazing tracks and I'm sure anyone who listens will have a different favorite track for personal reasons.

     To conclude my opinions on the album, Funktastic is simply spectacular. My only suggestion to Mr. Zabrin is to stretch the album out. Every song features some great music and talent, but it goes too quickly. What I'm saying is that if each track was around six or seven minutes then that would suffice. At the end of the day it's about quality music, and this ladies and gentlemen is just that. Do yourself a favor and mark down April 1st in your calender as the release of Funktastic. It's the kind of record that just sneaks up on you in its sound and in turn, listening is one of the best moves you may make in 2014.


Mike Zabrin's Record from Mike Zabrin on Vimeo.

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