German indie label Marina Records has been on a roll lately with some killer compilations of funky German music, from the self-explanatory "Disco Deutschland Disco" to the groovalicious "In-Kraut" series, and now this one. Plenty of goodies to be found here.
For some reason, the compilers decided to kick the compilation off not with probably the least representative track on the album, a tepid Eminem-sampling disco-house track from 2000 by Discotizer & Supermax, that's "funky" as a preset and not actually funky. If it was necessary to include this at all, it would've been best as towards the end, maybe as an indicator of the culmination of influences of everything else on the disc that came before it. But who cares, because the second track more than makes up for it: a non-album Boney M. track called "Dancing In The Streets" (a Frank Farian original, and thankfully not yet another version of the well-worn Motown classic) that was basically the most funky track that group ever made.
A few other uncharacteristic tracks show up from unexpected places as well. Pop starlet Veronika Fischer (well, more specifically, her band, as the track is instrumental) brings some classy, funky string-section disco. James Last's disco phase is represented by his adaptation of "Bolero". Possibly best of all is the wonderfully strange "Magic Dance" by schlager star Su Kramer. Euro-disco god Giorgio Moroder actually makes an appearance as well (under the guise Stolen Property), but unfortunately it's with a cover of "Low Rider" that sounds pretty much exactly like the original.
The genre of cosmic space disco is represented by the truly awesome Ganymed, who were basically the Viennese equivalent of the equally awesome and ahead-of-their-time French band known as Space, who themselves were basically the '70s Daft Punk. A few tracks here nod to the dancier side of post-punk. Fehlfarben seemed to have learn a thing or two from "This Is Radio Clash", and Zatopek may as well have borrowed Pigbag's horn section. Family 5 balance industrial barking with insanely funky beats; heavily influenced by The Pop Group, sure, but taken to a whole 'nother level with its sheer funkiness.
As for some of the newer tracks, there's plenty of Ubiquity/Daptone-style neo-rare-groove type stuff. Chances are if you're familiar with this scene, you've probably already heard the Poets Of Rhythm and Whitefield Brothers tracks, as they're from fairly recent, commonly available albums. But, I had no clue either were German, and besides that they're really quite great anyway. Aside from that, there's a few silly, possibly tongue-in-cheek "greasy funk" kinda tracks; a group called Cheeseslider channels The Commodores circa "Brick House" for a little ode to someone they refer to as "Sweat Major", and Lee Armstrong Express sits back with a tall stack of "Chicken N Waffles". Mmmmm, I'm getting hungry just listening to it! The album ends with a track by Montana Chromeboy, originally released on the same label (Yo Mama Records) as the first track on the album, and it sounds too much like Chromeo for me to care about it.
Even with a few questionable inclusions of some sub-par newer tracks, there's more than enough amazing, obscure selections on here to satisfy any lover of vintage funk and disco. 8/10 -- Paul Simpson (9 December, 2009)