Few artists capture the feverish energy of the dancefloor quite like Hot in Da Club. The trio brings together three of the most inventive minds in modern club music: beat scientists Spooky-J and pq, best known for their percussive innovations as part of UK via Uganda crew Nihiloxica (Nyege Nyege / Crammed Discs) along with fellow polyrhythm proselytiser Ekhe (Blip Discs / Hakuna Kuala). Together as a unit, the group’s blistering rhythm workouts stay true to their name – visceral, humid body musics that arc, curve and sweat like the bodies of the dancers they animate. Tracks are not just made for the club, but often in the club – sketched out in the dance and coaxed into their bestial final forms in the studio. Following two incendiary EPs for their own Spooky Shit label, the trio now link up with Berlin’s SSPB for Funktion Banned – a new collection that captures the liberating power of losing yourself in the dance.
Funktion Banned refines the raw energy of the trio’s early outings into something even more potent and precise. Their live improvisations are honed to a razor edge, combining brash soundscapes with rhythmic ingenuity. Opening track “And Were There” immediately sets the pace, delirium slowly creeping in at the edge of the trio’s juddering machine pulse, threatening to tip over into bad trip territory at any moment. “Slaap Lekker” racks up the BPM as we head deeper into the dance, frazzled acid lines arcing atop skull-cushing syncopated kicks. “Ewo Ewo Ewo” descends into sonic gloom, snaking through synthesizer murk before snapping back to pummeling percussion. Funktion Banned’s final two tracks were both recorded live at a concert in Mexico City – “Kalkuhater” switches between caustic breaks and hi-NRG bounce, while “Periferico” slows everything down into a swaggering stomp, demonstrating the trio’s ability to ignite the party even at slower tempos.
As electronic music spins out into ever-more self-reflective threads, Funktion Banned stands as a stark reminder of dance music’s roots in joy and communal experience. There’s no pretentious posturing here, no need for the trio to explain themselves, just beaming grins and sweating bodies.