It’s fair to say “Phone Line” has matured into something of an obsession for this writer since hearing it towards the end of last year, and the expectation of gripping it on cold, hard vinyl hasn’t dampened one bit despite its release finally arriving nearly ten months later. The infinitely playful collaboration between Funkineven and Fatima might just go down in history as one of the finest B Sides ever too, as “Phone Line” appears three tracks deep into an EP that further cements how well the duo work together, having previously contributed to one another’s Elgo releases.
As a whole, the Phone Line EP comes across as a perfect summation of what Eglo is all about, proudly sporting their stylistic influences in 90s hip-hop and RnB, West Coast boogie and an undeniable, enduring funk – all of which are wrapped up in that attitude we’ve come to expect from one of London’s most dependable labels. TLC at their most sultry is the most obvious comparison to make for opening track “90s”, a slow burning RnB jam where Funkineven shows a well placed restraint that allows Fatima to explore the full range of her well documented vocal talents. In contrast, “East To West” sees Funkineven match his studio partner every second of the way, burning through their much stated love for Los Angeles boogie vibes with the kind of demented rhythmic embellishments that call to mind Maurice Fulton on MDMA.
And then we come to “Phone Line” which belongs in that rare canon of tracks from the underground which deserve to be embraced by a much wider audience than it’s likely to receive. It’s a certified bastard pop classic which somehow recalls the early 90s hip-hop track “I Got A Man” from Positive K, less in musical style and more in subject matter as the duo indulge in some flirtatious chatter over furiously uptempo demented but sick as f*ck MPC manipulation. For someone who has most recently been exploring how far he can push the experimental barriers of his analogue hardware via his own Apron label, it’s a real mark of Funkineven’s flowering potential as a producer that he can turn around and deliver four tracks which show him as eminently capable of pushing things forward without veering into the red.
2. East To West
3. Phone Line
4. 90’s Reflex