Funkmata are back in the headlines this spring with a deliciously rock-flavored jazz jam in “SignOut66,” and if you haven’t heard their music before, this song is a terrific way of getting introduced to their sound. Perhaps their most diversely-appointed composition so far, “SignOut66” flexes a lot of melodic muscle on top of a staggering beat capable of making a fan out of most anyone. From their homeland of Ghana to the golden shores of California, Funkmata are calling attention to a new breed of African grooves all their own here – and making their eminence as premier indie players more than known to all listening.

URL: http://funkmata.net/

Robert Bannerman is the principle songwriter and driving force behind Funkmata, and though his work has always had somewhat of an eclectic feel, this track feels almost intentionally jagged in nature. It’s important to appreciate the rough edges here, if for no other reason than to hear the intricate detail all of the dexterous movements in the rhythm are comprised of. Bannerman was pulling out the stops in-studio to give us something as grand as his vision is in “SignOut66,” and in my opinion, he did one heck of a good job with the finished product.

There’s a lot of sonic depth to the string parts in this single, but like the other elements in the mix, nothing here feels or sounds even remotely underutilized. Funkmata’s music has been consistently distinguishable from that of their American contemporaries on the strength of its elaborate foundations, and in this sense, “SignOut66” is on par with everything they’ve ever recorded. What sets this apart as one of their best songs so far has more to do with execution than it does production or preparation, and in this regard, I think they’re sparking a brighter flame than they have in prior sessions together.

A slowed-down version of “SignOut66” could potentially appeal to fans of blues and mainstream R&B as much as this one does conventional jazz and funk audiences, but this isn’t to say I don’t think the standard cut of the song isn’t highly accessible. Contrarily, and as I suggested at the start of this article, I think this is the perfect song to get people into the music of Funkmata. It’s a strong showcase of who they are, and more importantly, what they can do when there’s nothing to come between Bannerman’s conceptual artistry and the audience he seeks to share it with.

KKBOX: https://www.kkbox.com/sg/en/album/DSyZgqNg8qbRK0F4MMI0009H-index.html

The future is looking (and sounding) brighter than ever for Funkmata in “SignOut66,” and if you haven’t already, you should hear what all of this single’s hype has been about for yourself. Jazz is an ever-evolving genre, and the culture of musicians who have breathed life into its best harmonies for over a century are growing with it exponentially right now. Funkmata and Robert Bannerman are at the forefront of their nation’s scene, and if that wasn’t obvious to critics before now, I think it will be after “SignOut66” finds a home on jazz radio everywhere in 2020.

Nicole Killian 

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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