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Band EDM Funk


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The best kept secret in music


"Jambase Review"

Baraka – 4/29/05 – Sail Inn – Tempe, AZ
Notes from the front of the stage. Rotating cat near drum set. Purple lights on the body, orange lights on the claws, green eyes, white teeth. Hey, the cat brushes. Stickers on the drum kit: Ear, Drunken Immortals, Delta Nove, The Noodles, Mojo Farmers, Particle, Marley, The Motet, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Gelatinous Groove, Signal Path – the band has opened for both Particle and Signal Path during their visits to the Sun Devil State...

"Knight Rider Theme" is rolled out with a short, spacey funk wind up. I never thought I'd think this piece of music was cool, but they've made it swing. Nary a sighting of David Hasselhoff or Kit, mind you, just plain old funked up chicken shack groove. "Hollywood DC" had a rolling stiletto reggae feel that you really can't hear anywhere else but within the Baraka matrix. Ditto the extraordinary lines of "D-Jam" featuring Brendan Shannon on loops, samples, noises and manipulations as he played a very elastic, sexy and warm guitar with a unique tone that is enhanced by the expert interloping bass notes of Jelani Canser. Marc Gunn played the drums as if he was directing the band while the other two bounced in and around a very intoxicating melody. The drums sank inwards touching the beat, moving it forward and paralleling the driving sounds of guitar and bass - the type of groove you wish would last 45 minutes..."D-Jam"– a masterpiece of controlled tension, trance development and jam-funk dichotomy.

"Himalayan Funk" would move the trance to a heavy dance vibe that went down very well. Canser whipped out a hyperspace-fast bass-driven funk monster that dipped down a notch into a free form jam based on both his speed and Shannon's guitar licks. Amazing. Shannon patiently arced more notes into the sonic conversation with a super whiplash guitar sound that escalated into a fantastic jam. Drums, hot; bass, consistent; guitar, incredibly inventive. Canser finally sat down on a chair so he could hit as many notes as possible. The whole funked-out trip teleported everyone into a euphoric state that somehow touched down into a drums & vocal performance from Gunn with a cool little righteous hip-hop toaster. "Ricky's Theme" closed the First Set with echoed guitar, plucked & curt bass notes and steady drums, as always. By the end of that set, I was wondering how long I would get to see these guys in such an intimate setting. Same vibe I felt as TLG. Completely different style of music, but the feeling was that these cats were offering something original, played with great passion and only needed to find a wider audience. It was at that point, I made a mental note: hmmm...wonder if these guys can consistently pull this sort of thing off...

Second set began with 21st Century porn soul and some great buttery guitar lines on "Lotus." Shannon's got me hooked. Best guitarist I've heard in quite a while. Why? Because he's having an exciting conversation with his guitar, the band, himself, the audience and the chick across the way and he never once interrupts anyone else—a wonderful tone that warms while challenging me to get off my ass and dance.

Fuck the notes. Let's party.

The closing "Soul Commotion>Sex Machine>Super Bad (I Got Soul)" features Canser, Shannon and Gunn playing really tight rhythm and funk as James Brown speeded up to a punk epiphany that is just gorgeous. I wrote ‘TIGHT-TIGHT-TIGHT' across the last page of my notebook as I raced across the visual floor trying to keep mental time with the trio. Solid show by a band worth following just about anywhere.

So I did. Onwards...

Baraka – 6/17/05 – McDuffy's – Tempe, AZ
I had just got back from Bonnaroo and I was a little worn out after the 24/7 wall-to-wall onslaught of glorious music from the 4th Annual Festival to End All Festivals. Furthermore, I didn't think I'd have the energy to focus on another set by anyone. Better be a damned good reason to leave the house. Funny how reality adjusts perception, eh?

Baraka opened up with a very cool "Intro Groove" which also happened to serve as a sound check. This initial vibe seemed to dominate the entire show. Unlike the non-stop JB on an expanded Soul Train Midnight Special feel of the April gig, the McDuffy's twin sets defined patient, open communication that focused on mature, twisting directions that were intriguing and mysterious. The party got a little more serious, but I felt like they had made a giant leap forward in just two months.

The "Knight Rider>Something Reggae>Tell Me Something Good" opener was a bit more elastic as the band seemed to take turns echoing the notes played seconds before. Fascinating how each member would turn a phrase, never treading on the other's thoughts. Whereas Shannon appeared to dominate in a subtle way in April, now he was much more willing to become even more elusive within the mix. The notes were surprising; played again with a nod to deep focus and experimentation welded togeth - Randy Ray


We are currently recording our first album.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Baraka formed sometime in early 2003, featuring members of Tempe's own Phatty Acidz and Minneapolis based bands Pharoah's Dance and BokoMaru. Baraka was a finalist in 2003's "Battle of the Jams," as promoted by Intelligroove.
We've shared stages with such national acts as Particle, Signal Path, Captain Solarcat, Jeremy Sole, The Big Organ Trio, BLVD, Alder Dice Trio, DJ Aztech Sol and Modern Groove Assembly. Baraka has played the following venues: The Sail Inn (Tempe), The Aux(phx), The Emerald Lounge(phx), Casa Blanca's(phx), McDuffy's/The Bash on Ash(tempe), The Rhythm Room(phx), The Icehouse(phx), The Orpheum Theatre(Flagstaff), The Paper Heart(phx), Monroe's(phx), The Lost Leaf(phx), The GoatHead Saloon (Mesa,AZ), the Monastary(Mesa,AZ) Oak Creek Brewery(Sedona) and The Loft(tempe).