Sumy – “Tryin to Survive” (1983 / 2014)

sumytryintosurviveThere’s a weird thing that happens to me sometimes when I’m blogging.  I’ll be listening to something I’ve never heard or even heard of before, like this re-release of the 1983 funk album from Surinamese funkster Sumy called Tryin to Survive, and think to myself, “you know, this reminds me a bit of early Prince.”  And then I go do a little research and find a review of the same record on The Quietus that makes the exact same observation.  Scooped!  So what to do?  Make the same connection and have people think I just copied it from somewhere else?  <sigh>  These are the trials and tribulations of the non-professional music blogger.  The struggle is real.

So let’s get back to Tryin to Survive.  This is an interesting record to my ears – it’s definitely funk in its overall presentation, but done with heavy reliance on synths and what sound like mechanical beats, which gives the whole thing a sort of sterile feel that one usually doesn’t associated with funk.  It’s like if Ricky James decided that Kraftwerk was the future and went purely electro-funky. (♠)  So it’s sort of disco-funk, I guess.  The synths, though, make it a hard record to wrap your mind around – you can hear the soul, funk, and doo-wap influences all over the place, but they all feel at odds with the instruments used to express them musically.

Tryin to Survive is a fun period piece if you’re into a bit of funk-disco fusion.

(♠)  Go find that comparison in another review!

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