Label:Daptone Records Release date: 6/12/10 Link: Official Site Buy: Amazon Melvin Van Peebles chose Earth, Wind & Fire to soundtrack his blaxploitation masterwork, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, and they managed to drizzle honey all over some rather grating subject matter. Van Peebles employed an Afro-funk soundtrack to soften his film’s accidental orgies, and to romanticize a cop killing. Future blaxploitation auteurs mimicked Van Peebles’ use of Afro-funk, jazz, and soul to temper their brand of Afrocentric pulp-fiction into something white America wouldn’t take too seriously. The facetious intentions of theses soundtracks were eventually forgotten, and even the wah-wah guitars became brush strokes, not for songwriters or lyricists, but solely for the instrumentalists. While introduced as a cinematic mood stabilizer, this music has remained almost universally beloved, if not always relevant. Competent, modern practitioners, Staten Island’s Budos Band, use the ultra precise genre classification “Afro-soul” to describe what it is they do. Appropriately inked to Brooklyn’s Daptone records, home of another seemingly antiqued yet generally adored act, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Budos Band will release Budos III, their third LP for the indie funk label. Police-program themes, chapping massive El Dorados, and gilded goblets still linger in the minds of many whenever a meandering bass line begins to establish itself. Uncommonly complex, while remaining dance friendly, Budos III ensures that any lingering memories of tongue-in-cheek inceptions will vaporize into a puff of Black & Mild exhaust. Far from contemporary on a cursory level, subtle renovations include modern arrangements, opulent orchestration, and confidently assertive, not to mention nostalgic, jazz flutes. The Budos Band have recreated a potpourri of obscure techniques and global influences, and their captivating use of Bernard Herman’s horns against Tony Allen’s Yorba drums is narcotic. I fell in love with the Budos throng mostly because of their abounding brass, and it appears ‘Black Venom’ wins the award for most compelling use of horns, in a tight race with ‘Crimson Skies’. ‘Raja Haje‘, and its ax hack percussion, is hypnotic with a fresh, methodical pace. ‘Golden Dunes’ is an encapsulation of pretty much everything Budos III has to offer, and the centrepiece of a very easy album to enjoy. Photobucket