Record of the day: Jamiroquai, "Travelling Without Moving"

Record of the day: Jamiroquai, “Travelling Without Moving”

Traveling Without Moving (Cd Sony 483999-2)

In theory, Jamiroquai’s records should be (and sometimes are) irritating: after all, with several albums behind them, there isn’t any
they still made one that was made from flour from their own sack. Their “style” is in fact a varied medley that brings together suggestions and clichés taken from the entire history of soul music and blended in an impertinent and ironic way.
The rhythms are taken directly from dozens of funk and even disco classics, with continuous thefts from Chic, Kool & the Gang, the Isley Brothers, Motown, Eumir Deodato, George Duke and even Hamilton Bohannon and Miami Sound by K.

C. and the Sunshine Band.

Singer Jay Kay’s voice is a spitting clone of that of the great Stevie Wonder and he does nothing to hide it, on the contrary he seems to enjoy photocopying every nuance; the arrangements are saturated with psychedelic quotes, vintage-sounding synthesizers and references to the 70s, but the game is so open that you can’t help but smile: how can you explain then that their music works very well and every year the band continues to grind out hits in all the charts in the world despite having almost nothing personal?

Probably because this great recycling operation is conducted with extreme skill, demonstrating the sincere love that these musicians have for the period in which the hair was afro, the tight trousers and the shirts open on the chest, and precisely among the folds of this skill combinatorics hides their recognizability.
In each of their albums you can have a lot of fun recognizing the stylistic allusions and even if in the latest albums the game begins to show its rope none of their work is entirely disappointing.

The best, in my opinion, remains “Travelling Without Moving” especially thanks to the deadly single “Virtual Insanity” (able to make anyone dance) but the Cosmic-Disco pastiche of “Use the Force” and “High Times” are also excellent, which manages to combine an Isaac Hayes-style rhythm with distorted guitars and horns copied from War in a remarkable mélange.

The best way to appreciate this group, however, is to go and hear them live: the game is in the concert dimension
quotationist is significantly reduced to steer vigorously towards fiery funk shores of considerable power.

Carlo Boccadoro, composer and conductor, was born in Macerata in 1963. He lives and works in Milan. He collaborates with soloists and orchestras in different parts of the world. He is the author of numerous books on musical topics.

This text is taken from “Lunario della musica: A record for every day of the year” published by Einaudi, courtesy of the author and the publisher.