The Chameleon Project – Funk ‘n’ Space
This album restores your faith a little. The Chameleon Project certainly proves there are young musicians working today confident enough to smash through any barriers, cultural or otherwise, in order to find the measure of their artistic goals. The Chameleon Project is Toronto based quartet who make very little challenge out of mashing together a number of musical approaches and making it sound like these possibilities existed all along and were merely waiting for someone to pick them up. Josh Laing and his cohorts have done so with spectacular results. Funk n Space’s ten songs sparkle with the musical ingenuity that might leave some listeners slack-jawed with their ability to bring it all together and make it sound like it is little trouble at all. They marry unlikely styles like reggae, EDM, groovy jazz, and rock into an union engaging listeners cerebrally and physically.
The cerebral and physical both have a place at the table on the album opener “Milky Way”. There are contrasting musical elements working together on this track to make it an excellent kick off for Funk n Space – namely the hard hitting and well recorded drums juxtaposed against a suitably funky keyboard line. There’s real melodic sophistication in this piece that continues with the next song “Playhouse”, but the funky edge of the first tracks turns more towards a disco sort of sound here while retaining many of the qualities heard in the first song. Their, perhaps, surprising affinity for reggae is revealed on the album’s third song “Steppin’” and it never sounds like The Chameleon Project strains for effect. Instead, it reveals why the band’s name is particularly appropriate. This is a four piece who can blend into a number of different musical guises without ever surrendering certain key parts of their sound – namely melody, instrumental excellence, and a vivid production style that puts all of these songs in the sharpest of reliefs.
The EDM pulse opening “Reactor” soon shifts into a blazing back and forth between multiple synth lines without ever losing clear dimensions and the quick introduction of guitar causes the texture to change and there are multiple changes to follow with the synth and six string alike leading the way. The occasional interjection of human voices on Funk n Space never embraces traditional vocals, but voice overs instead, and “Reactor” features some particularly fiery passages with dueling synth lines. “Bigfoot” mixes some rock music inclinations, centered on Josh Laing’s guitar, with more electronic touches in a way that neatly dovetails into one another. The languid tempo beginning the album’s final track, “Wako” experiences a number of transformations during its six plus minute running time and the band uses this finale as a compelling platform to explore their array of styles in a sort of musical summation. It ends Funk n Space on quite a memorable note and demonstrates for the last time on this release that The Chameleon Project are artistic heavyweights with ambition and skill to spare.