Friday, October 23, 2020
The classic funk gem that inspires one of SF's...

The classic funk gem that inspires one of SF’s best parties

Daft Punk famously sampled it—but the great local Sweater Funk crew prefers the original, now rereleased.

-

With the most peculiar Frankensteining of crunchy guitar chords and Aquaman sonar wave oscillation, bum-rushing a punched-up, scoundrel-like groove. After unleashing the call: “Time to Release the beast!” (sung-shouted in your ear), Breakwater—an eight-man Philadelphia outfit from the ’80s—is about to drop the post-disco Kraken real low and dirty on ya. Just for the funk of it.

A quick once-over of the Splashdown album cover reveals these dudes sporting metallic silver once-pieces, with yellow moon boots completing the space-age cipher, in what seems to be a drained pool. You gotta think. What are these Philly Cats on?   

Uncanny genuineness. 

This punk-funk unit, in one form or another, been blowing wigs back on dancefloors for close to 40 years strong. Over the past decade, a new and patient listening audience, coming from a modernist outlook, found and honored the original composition in its primal sharp-fanged embodiment. Now, classic “Release the Beast” has just been re-released on Be With Records.

But smart partygoers already know the jam, especially if they’ve attended one of SF’s best parties, Sweater Funk (Sat/14 and every second Saturday at the Knockout) “Now, we all knew Daft Punk had sampled it“—on “Robot Rock” from 2001 mega-hit album Discovery—”and that it was probably the most recognizable cut on the record,” says DJ Guillermo aka Jacob Peña, Sweater Funk’s cofounder. “Some of us would avoid it for that reason. But there were a couple of Sweater Funk DJs like me who decided that we needed to take that shit back”

“To me, this tune reveals the ‘true’ heads,” DJ Guillermo says. “Ok, you know the sample, but can you get down like THIS? To the whole thing? ARE YOU REALLY DOWN?” 

The classic Sweater Funk crew

Sweater Funk, a sister party to LAʻs Funkmosphere, recontextualized late 70ʻs and early 80ʻs rare funk and disco sound for the streaming generation, starting 11 years ago in a Chinatown basement. This Bay Area institution was a church built on wax, not CDJs and Serrato. DJ Guillermo and several members of the crew always kept Breakwater on deck. Not quite an anthem, it was definitely a situation when the unorthodox funk-rock guitar, baby-making bass thumps, and space-oddity type synths jumped from the turntable to the soundsystem.

“Obviously, the Breakwater records were a huge influence on Sweater Funk and the sound we wanted the night to have. It was very funky, melodic and catchy, with some advanced arrangements and horns that punched through the mix and really put a bright positive sheen on the music” reflected Pena.

“It was exactly what we were looking for. That’s why we put them on our first flyer highlighting the records we were talking about since we were calling this stuff boogie and no one knew what that meant at the time. Jon Blunk, co-founder of Sweater Funk, hand-illustrated our first Sweater Funk logo to look like the Breakwater logo! Seahorse and all! Then there’s the Splashdown cover art! Those outfits! This was a defining record for us.”

SWEATER FUNK
Sat/14 and second Saturdays
The Knockout, SF. 
More info here

John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

More by this author

Good Things: Andrew Ashong and Kaidi Tatham bless the studio—plus more new releases to soothe

We rounded up the most relaxing beats in the known new music universe. SunPalace gets a 2020 remix pack, a new sad banger from Mac DeMarco and Benny Sings, more.

Local Listen: The rise of Xyla—and even more new Bay sounds to defy October’s gloom

Sunset-based Xyla explores footwork, R&B, club, and orchestral music, while Eki Shola and Yehu Salah tap the head-nod chakra in their new track "Jubilee."

Andy Shauf’s cutting-edge ‘Clove Cigarette’ video skitters with dreamlike scenarios

Cutting-edge technology helps celebrated Toronto signer-songwriter explore what is real and what is imagined.

A playlist celebrating Pharoah Sanders’ 80th trip around the sun

The legendary saxophonist and free jazz icon lstreams a birthday show Tue/13. Here's an intro to his astral output

Tracks: 5 quick hits of musical relief

Generous doses of Rhodes piano, gentle rock nodders, electronic intrigue, and a local underground supergroup tune us in.

Most read

Documentary ‘The Reunited States’ looks to bridge the United States’ political abyss

An interview with filmmaker Ben Rekhi about his seemingly impossible mission to bring us all together.

Screen Grabs: Borat’s ‘totally sensationalized false account’ and other bombshell releases

Sure, it has Giuliani looking suspect—but is 'Borat Subsequent Moviefilm' any good? Plus, a new documentary on the grifters leading the alt-right movement, and 'The Guardian of Memory.'

This weekend, The Breath Project streams 24 nationwide theater works in honor of George Floyd

"It’s another brick in the wall. Or rather, we’re taking the wall down, so it’s a brick out of the wall.”

Best of the Bay 2020: City Living winners

Best Street Fair, Best Salon, Best Politician, Best Tour, Best Hotel, Best Trainer, more in our 2020 Readers' Poll

Róisín Murphy buffs her disco-house crown on gliding ‘Róisín Machine’

The Irish diva showed us who she was through momentously silly quar performances. Her latest album affirms her mastery of the nocturnal club beat.

5 easy Sriracha-blessed bites for when you need that extra kick

It's a pleasure to premiere a peek inside my forthcoming self-published cookbook Sriracha Snacks at tonight's 48 Hills Online Variety Show Gala....

Nancy Pelosi just announced her retirement

Rep. Nancy Pelosi cut a deal that will put her in the position of House speaker for four more years (assuming the Democrats retain...

Are taxpayers subsidizing Uber and Lyft campaign?

Somehow, Yes on 22 mailers got nonprofit status with the Post Office.

The big GOP and real-estate money moves into District One

Fake tenants group and big outside cash is now trying to promote Philhour over Chan in a race that could determine the balance of power on the board.

You’re invited! Join us October 22 online for our ALL-STAR VARIETY GALA

Honey Mahogany, Marga Gomez, Peaches Christ, Davey D, Rose Aguilar, and more help us celebrate seven years!

You might also likeRELATED