Stephon Alexander & Rioux 'Here Comes Now'
If a mad scientist who had a solid taste in music decided to mix a Trinidadian-American astrophysicist, an electronic producer and a splash of saxophone together to create the ultimate electro-funk album it would be Here Comes Now.
Stephon Alexander and Rioux have, to use a pitchforkism, transcended electronic funk music. Literally transcended to another plane of existence.
This little release is ten songs of organised chaos as each track surpasses the typical electronic sound and hits a level of psychedelic jungle grooves. If that description means nothing to you, just listen to Return to Home – a fresh collaboration of soaring brass tunes and fast beats.
There are a few experimental pieces on the album – namely A Brief History of Time and Tessellation. The latter of the two is my favourite as it takes me to a completely different world through its fragmented composition. Tessellation features a multitude of different elements from splashes of half-second vocal grabs to trippy distortions, as if Alexander and Rioux have used a few individually mediocre sounds and then combined them to form one intriguing song – the whole here is far more than the sum of its parts.
The standout track is Dance of the Illusion: a funky rhythmic number with an unexpected surprise. The pair explore alter-egos and being torn between being who you are and who you want to be, in a light-hearted dance number. I like to think of it as a reference to the illusion of dance, aka when you’re out in the bar, had a shot of liquid confidence and are now tearing up the dance floor to this song – you think you look hot and dangerous, everyone else disagrees.
Dance of the Illusion is formatted in a way which brings the funk to the forefront but still maintains a strong electronic back beat. It’s (not surprisingly) easy to dance to and also easy to play regularly as background music. The ridiculously catchy hook of ‘I just want to be the person that I am in my mind’ is guaranteed to be stuck in your head after each listening. Track Highlight: listen out for the saxophone that slyly makes its way in during the last thirty-ish seconds.
There’s no denying Here Comes Now features common beats used in electronic music. What makes this album unique and addictive is the odd mixture of these beats with a oddly captivating African influence. Together, the two work to create a sound which is inclusive of repetitive dance rhythms and a touch of afro-carribean soul. Oh, and the fact there’s also a saxophone. A cosmic saxophone.
Finally, shoutout to track seven (Ornette’s Vortex) which for a solid few days I thought was called Omelette’s Vortex. Now I just feel silly.
Here Comes Now is available now as a digital album or you can grab one of the (as of time of writing) last seven vinyl copies left on their bandcamp.