Dam Funk Joshua Hanford/Red Bull Media House North America, Inc.

The first day at Movement 2011 was a hot mess. First, it was hot. It was also fairly humid. This usually means rain. And yes, it was pouring rain for a good chunk of the day. Some took cover, others got brave and just dealt with it. By the time Dam-Funk took the stage, it didn’t much matter. With the clouds clearing up and the sun setting, it was almost like natural lighting for the funk storm that was about to arrive.

That’s right -- we’re leading into this feature with “funk storm.” This dude deserves it. Do you know many other artists that draw comparisons to the early work of Prince on the regular? Didn’t think so.

Boogie Machine

Hailing from the West Coast, Dam-Funk is part man, part retroactive boogie machine. The music he makes is the soundtrack to his days of riding around Pasadena, finding the “tempo of funk to fit the soundscapes and visuals of southern California” far more than the hip-hop the rest of his hood was feeling.

During his set, Dam-Funk demonstrated that beautifully. He shattered any sense of novelty when he brought out the bright red 1985 Roland shoulder synth (some of you fools out there might still be calling it a key-tar). Keyboardist Computer Jay rocked it out in front of a small wall of analog gadgets including an Atari module rigged to play drum and synth lines. Drummer J-1 played some of the snappiest beats we’ve heard in a while.

“It’s analog mixed with the future,” Dam-Funk coolly states shortly after his funk-filled set on the Red Bull Music Academy stage.

Dam-Funk didn’t hesitate unleashing unheard material for the Detroit audience, either. “The Honeymoon’s Over,” a track off of his upcoming release Invite The Light, was a modern take on the same funk that painted his point of view growing up in Pasadena.

“Even though funk is my base, I’m trying to take it to another level,” he explains. “I want the kids coming up behind me to know it and respect it. You have to study those who came before you to understand the future … and I don’t want funk to be lost in the mix.”

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