Gary Gritness

The Legend of Cherenkov Blue

BY Patrick CardenasPublished Apr 18, 2019

French multi-instrumentalist, session player and producer Tim Becherand is all about "getting straight to the funk." Growing up with his dad's bebop and hard bop records, his own musical explorations have displayed a fond appreciation and a seemingly endless knowledge of funk and funk-derived American music: James Brown and Funkadelic; Too $hort's old-school minimalist hip-hop beats; Rick James' synth-funk; Parliament's p-funk party jams; Todd Edwards' soulful house; and Underground Resistance's techno slappers (among many, many other similar influences).
Backed by the crisp and clear drums of his trusty Roland TR-606, Becherand has donned the Gary Gritness alias to come up with an infectious style of analogue electro-funk instrumentals that interconnect all of the aforementioned influences. This has led to comparisons with Dâm-Funk's sensual lo-fi funk and Drexiya's subaquatic electro excursions. His formula remains unchanged for his first solo LP, The Legend of Cherenkov Blue, but it's the best release in an already strong discography.
Opener "Back With a Vengeance" wastes no time in showing that it means serious business, and perfectly sets the vibe of the album, with its swaggering groove, ice-cold melodic riffs and soaring atmospheric chords. Becherand has mentioned that he composes his music as if it were a soundtrack to a movie, and that's exactly what this track sounds like. Imagine a bad-ass protagonist rolling in his Cadillac at night through a retro-futuristic, neon-lit cityscape during the opening credits of this imaginary film.
Another highlight is the chilled-out and equally cinematic "Big Marcus Knows the Score." The skittering kicks, snares and hand claps give the track an underlying and subtle restlessness; mixed with his improvisational chops on the keys, they bring it to another level.
Maybe the only shortcomings are both of the faster tracks, "Ambush on 149th Street" and "The Hitlist," in which the raw sounds coming out of the analogue machines are a mismatch with the high tempos, but the rest more than makes up for them. And as fans of Gary Gritness know, the refined directness and simplicity of his electro-funk music is rarely matched.

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