VAN 3000 - “Discosis”
VAN 3000 - “Discosis” - In 1996 Montreal's JAMES DE SALVIO and 30 or so friends
(DJs, musicians, producers, singers, MCs...) created with outrageous means and
consequences, the Bran's first album, "GLEE" (Audiogram/Capitol) a sharp, refreshing
hybrid of conscientious musical styles and tinkerings.
The single "Drinking
in LA", a little bit camp, a little bit slick also managed to secure chart success
on both sides of the Atlantic. Five years on, the operation is still running as
smoothly and as largely anonymously as before. They continue to create those latino,
rap and soul discussion threads, as well as great tunes.
however, late but legendary funk head, CURTIS MAYFIELD, provides something of
a remarkable addition the DJ set tos MC steps with a vocal provided to James just
before Mayfield's untimely death. The point of debate though still today is the
kaleidoscopic approach to style:
Crud asked James if he was afraid to
get 'locked' into some unscrupulous genre dressing:
" It is a little
like an engagement between us. It's not necessarily the fear of finding us locked
up in some style, but rather the desire to escape it . The idea is to represent
the Montreal community and the multiple musical cultures which compose it. I am
a producer but I also do all the computer stuff. I make beats and grooves. Sometimes
that comes from the sampler. But it's not an envirnment I like to return to often.
At certain points it's necessary to call upon MCs, singers. Sometimes our three
votes are enough (with Sarah Johnston and Jayne Hill chanteuses/paroličres of
the group, note) but I could not never sing like Youssou Dour (present on two
songs of the album). It's times like these that we seek that escape, and actually
Crud points out the first song on the album,"ASTOUNDED", a
song which has a deeply 70s environment, and the vocal delivery of funk head,
" We did not want to be entirely faithful with this song, which
resembled the Curtis Mayfield version of 2000. The whole thing could of so easily
got mixed up with our usual kinds of approaches, like the electro and latino.
To work with the GRAND ROYAL label and the BEASTIE BOYS helped us to approach
it more purely. When Curtis said yes, that opened the gate to us and gave courage
to call all the others. The idea was to go on a journey in the mixed musics. But
we never really went out to seek to produce a Jamaďcain or Qawwali sound, for
3000 have the largest number of and most adoring fan websitesI’ve seen yet for
a band perched and ready for it, but not quite huge. Yet. “DISCOSIS” is thefantastic
voyage into the warm waters inhabited by this merry nine piece who mix hip-hop
rhythmswith smooth femme harmony vocals and all encompassing 4-D production techniques.
Big Daddy Kane returns to a music world wondering where he went, especially
after adding his unmistakable vocals to the title track and “LOADED”. There’s
also contributions by the great CURTIS MAYFIELD, EEK-A-MOUSE, YOUSSOU N’DOUR,
Dizzy D, Jean Leloup, Dimitri from Pari, Momus, Summer Rose, and Badar Ali Khan.
The best tracks here, however, are “SPEED” and “BV3”, which feature
the nine piece collective by themselves. This is the kind of follow-up 1998’s
"GLEE" deserves. It’s even better..
By Jason Thornberry
Review by Jason Thornberry