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Published: 2002/07/23
by Mike Greenhaus

From Tomorrow – Recycled Future

Jambands are often described as synthesists weaving together different
styles and sounds. Using American roots music to create a modern mosque, a
jamband can be popular for putting a new twist on an existing sound, not jut
for generating their own genre. Recycled Future have clearly taken this idea
to heart on their second release, From Tomorrow. Hailing from
Wisconsin, the progressive trio’s moniker states their mission — Recycled
Future have brought acid jazz into the age of electronica.
Mixing John Medeski-style organ funk with DJ peppered space-trance that
recalls Lake Trout, Recycled Future aren’t ashamed to show their influences.
From Tomorrow’s opening track "Duck Butt" could be a misplaced track
off of the Bubblehouse EP with its drum-bass-organ groove and
seemingly chaotic (though obviously well crafted) chords. "Neshema" opens
with a Stanton Moore-like drum count and proceeds to pump out the funk
characteristic of his band Galactic. A funky slice of fusion, "Neshema" also
allows organist David Wake to play around with his synthesizers, often times
borrowing from the New Deal’s sound. Likewise, the space-trance of "Cheer up
Charlie" seems to have been broiled late one Baltimore night by Lake Trout,
especially when that group is aided by frequent guest DJ Who.
But, Recycled Future aren’t totally caught in their influences. Their
jazz-funk sound is considerably rawer than many of the groove collectives
touring today and is spiced up with a number of power ballad style vocal
numbers. The best of which, "From Tomorrow", is an excellent slice of
jam-pop, with a cutting alt-rock edge. Recycled Future’s sound is also
dubbed with a reggae beat. With all three band members exercising their
voices, lyrics seem to be an important, though secondary, ingredient in the
band’s funk formula. Each band member is also apt at several instruments and
the group uses their studio setting to allow overdubs to fill out their
sound. While only a trio, Recycled Future manage to pack the punch of a
rock band, as heard on the rocking "Oversoul".
Ironically, From Tomorrow’s finest moments are not its most unique.
The group’s vocals fall flat at times, especially on "Things Will Never Be
The Same". Yet the album’s most straightforward groove numbers, "Conqueror"
and "Green Stew" are well oiled groove machines. "Newshema," which acts as
the album’s centerpiece, highlights the fast paced organ prowess and
instrumental tightness that makes or breaks a great jazz-funk combo and the
album’s funkiest cuts will most certainly provide danceable numbers in
concert. Even the most straightforward funk tracks manage to hold their own
on disc, giving the group’s influences a left field run for their money. In
fact, the album’s heart seems to lie in its recycled sound.
With young jambands increasingly splitting between jazz-funk and
trance-fusion, Recycled Future have managed to bridge these two diverging
sub-genres. Recycled Future may use jazz-funk as their launching pad, but
often reach the spacey heights around which many trance groups orbit.

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