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10 Years of the Fort Knox Five Fort Knox Five
10 Years of The Fort Knox Five
Fort Knox Recordings
2013

"All good things come in five, baby...You can't get around no prime number, you dig?"

Some music just makes you feel good. You can't explain it but some music makes you feel like life's a party and you're invited. (It's that "can't explain it" part which drives writers crazy.) 10 Years of The Fort Knox Five spills like a tray full of overfull cocktails with music that makes you feel good.

They're really a quartet—Jon Horvath, Steve Raskin, Sid Barcelona and Rob Myers, all of whom have collaborated in various editions of Thunderball and trip-hop visionaries Thievery Corporation—but they call themselves the Fort Knox Five to allow a "fifth space" for their collaborators. 10 Years of The Fort Knox Five compiles fifteen of their favorite original songs (per their website) "to commemorate their tenth year of sowing the seeds of funk." Guests appearing on this genre-spanning, globe-trotting collection include hip-hop visionary Afrika Bambaataa, Akil Dasan (Us3
Us3
Us3

band/orchestra
) and various Thievery Corporation members.

Asheru flips the switch for the opening "Insight" with a guest-star rap that's both articulate and greasy as bacon fat in the pocket of the tune's big beat groove. It's probably not too different from dozens of similar tunes; it's "merely" an invitation to jump in the party, but it's loud and proud and with just enough bounce to the ounce. This slips into "The Brazilian Hipster," a deliciously appropriate title for its stylish Brazilian groove, warm and cool, nuzzled and bumped by hip-hop drums.

"Another universal Zulu nation jam session" that features Bambaataa and King Kamonzi, "Radio Free DC" delivers the social commentary hard and funky, in a crackling, energetic sound. "Funk 4 Peace" and "Bhangra Paanch" bow toward India: Rapper Mustafa Akbar leads the sitar and electric rock guitar of "Peace" into a fist-pumping funk anthem; in "Bhangra Paanch," Beta-G chants over a pulsing rock raga that pulsates under the colorful umbrella of electronic strings and other effects. "Blowing Up the Spot" features Akil Dasan and dives back into the retro sound of '70s soul mashed up with a drum sample from the Led Zeppelin classic "D'Yer Mak'er."

"Papa Was Stoned" cleverly builds upon The Temptations' classic "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" as its foundation (especially that wobbly, introductory guitar chord), buttressed by percolating bass and percussion lines, a whirling mixmaster of modern electronic funk. "Papa Was Stoned" originally appeared on the soundtrack to Stand Up Guys (2012, Lakeshore), and makes you wonder if any other titles across these 10 Years are less obviously based on another, more famous tune.

10 Years of The Fort Knox Five is a great-sounding, well-produced party record. Every instrument is miked loud and in your face but the mix is spacious and deep and drives every tune full-throttle into funk-rock paradise—where Sly Stone might have gone had he not first gone crazy.

Neethane En ponvasantham Ilaiyaraja
Soundtrack: Neethane En Ponvasantham ("You are my golden spring")
Sony Music India
2012

In India, the 2012 film Neethane En Ponvasantham and its companion soundtrack proved to be quite the cultural event. Movie scenes were shot in three Indian languages (Tamil, Telugu and Hindi). The soundtrack was collaboratively written by the film's director, Gautham Menon, with lyricist Na. Muthakumar and Ilaiyaraaja, the composer globally known as "The Maestro" because he has written more than 4500 songs and scored more than 950 films in India.

While the film was released in December 2012, its widely anticipated soundtrack was premiered the preceding September at a stadium concert; each song was performed live by the singers and Hungarian session musicians who recorded the original score, Maestro Ilaiyaraaja, and the Anglo-Indian Music Productions orchestra. These musicians include guitarist Attila Laszlo, an Ilaiyaraaja soundtrack veteran, and drummer Ferenc Nemeth
Ferenc Nemeth
Ferenc Nemeth
b.1976
drums
, who's also played with Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman
Joshua Redman
b.1969
saxophone
, Chris Potter
Chris Potter
Chris Potter
b.1971
reeds
, Russell Ferrante
Russell Ferrante
Russell Ferrante
b.1952
keyboard
and the Lionel Loueke
Lionel Loueke
Lionel Loueke
b.1973
guitar
Trio.

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