Helping to establish the progressive Latin-salsa Grupo Fantastico and Latin funk legends Brownout is apparently not enough for Adrian Quesada, a multi-instrumentalist who specializes in guitars and production. So he teamed up and began working with one of Ubiquity Records' most unique compositional and instrumental wizards, Shawn Aileen Clark, who leads the Ping-Pong Orchestra and specializes in keyboards and production. As The Electric Peanut Butter Company, Quesada and Lee spread thick and crunchy collaborative jams all over Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Vol 1.
There's nothing complicated about any individual song or even this music (and, for whatever reason, Quesada and Lee released Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Vol. 2 [2013, Ubiquity] about two years before Vol. 1 came out). But more importantly, Quesada and Lee give Vol. 1 a great sound and an even better feel, like a batch of psychedelic soul, funk and rock pot brownies left over from the 1960s and just discovered in a basement jar.
Rocking power guitar twirls with harpsichord for the melody of the opening "Flexi Funk," while the drum stomp crunches and spreads its simple but sticky beat with a deliciously nasty piledriver sound. Subsequent two-minute nuggets "Beer Good" and guitar rave-up "Go Go Go" are not even songs so much as they're hooks bouncing on a fat backbeat, but they're still a fun ride (and you'd think that "Beer Good" is most likely Homer Simpson's favorite song title).
"Mister Pink" sends a chirping, warm postcard from a Caribbean island while "Mary's Chair" seems to look backward (forward?) to Prince's sinister hip-hop funk, simultaneously creepy and funky down to its thumping drums, multitracked high-end harmony vocals, and shimmering guitar solo.
But none of this really gets to the issue. The glorious simplicity of Trans-Atlantic Psych Classics Vol 1 does not come down to what Lee and Quesada play or whenit's in the feeling with which they play each part and the exacting yet loose way that they fit each part together.
Flexi Funk; Beer Good; Spread the Jam; Stealio; Mary's Chair; Go Go Go; Tennis Elbow; Mister Pink; Damn Skippy; Austin City Limiter; Jenn Wu; Fat Budda.
Adrian Quesada: guitars, production; Shawn Lee: keyboards, production.
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