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Man, there have been a whole lot of killer 70s funk-inspired tunes floating around these past few months. When I think of 70s revivalists, psych rock automatically comes to mind, but in an age where synthesizers and samples reign supreme, it seems ridiculous to overlook those who are reworking the sexual virility of early electronica, funk, and disco in modern times.
The 70s are back baby. Enter the late night disco funk vibes of Harvey Sutherland and get lost in a colourful vortex of vintage synths and drum machines.
Just a few weeks ago Sex On Toast dropped their manic clip for Oh Loretta!, a brilliant piece of macho-camp electro funk that could have come straight from the late 70s. In my search to discover more, I stumbled upon Harvey Sutherland. The man is an analog synth master, building 70s disco boogie tunes around prodding synth lines, written mostly on a vintage Juno 60 analog synth.
His brand new EP Bermuda blends post-House grooves with disco handclaps and jazz-funk synthesizers. A-side and title track Bermuda is a 6-minute sonic journey through Miami lights and sweat-soaked dancefloors and cheap hotel rooms. The B-side New Paradise is a little more spacious, with insistent hi-hats scattering alongside funk keys and wah guitars. You feel a little sleazy after the whole thing, but goddamn is it infectious.
Harvey Sutherland rose to prominence in the simmering Melbourne underground dance scene back in 2013 with his Nexus EP – a cult favourite amongst dance aficionados and tastemakers around the world. Described as “a trip through lo-fi boogie and Roland house music,” the EP paved the way for more 12-iches, all cult favourites, put out through worldwide record labels like Echovolt in Greece and Voyage Records in Melbourne.
His live show is a spectacle as Sutherland dances his way around analog synths and a Roland TR-808 drum machine. Utilising old school gear rather than modern digital loops, Sutherland does all the hard work, improvising his way around synths and drum samples. He is playing at BigSound this year, and his show is definitely not to missed. One can only hope his showcase is a late one, with music suited to a dingy club at 3am rather than a sunny stage in the afternoon.
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