At the beginning of the second quarter of 2016, David Pattillo (aka Strange Majik) released ‘Raised On Rock ‘n’ Roll’, an exploration of rock and blues styles that celebrated a love of music. It was arguably the best album released that year.
As he then set about busying himself with other extra curricular projects, it seemed fair to think there wouldn’t be any more new music from Mr. Majik for a time. …And then, in March 2017, he dropped a new EP without any real prior warning. Why the need to follow up such a great work so quickly? Simply put, the awful political climate in the US inspired Pattillo to make his thoughts public. In his own words: “We got a soul crisis. USA 2017. A white power machine in the white house and a protector seems nowhere in sight. Don’t let the demagogue get you down. Get out and represent your people, show your love, and keep the faith.”
2016 has been an interesting year. We’ve heard hundreds of albums and we’ve heard lots of good ones, but in comparison to the previous couple of years there has been a paucity of great ones. Nevertheless, there’s always gold to be mined and here are Real Gone’s top ten albums of the year.
[As always, in the interest of fairness, the choices are limited to those actually reviewed on the website]
In an unexpected move on his 2015 release ‘Lights On’, Strange Majik – aka David Pattillo – cast aside the raw blues of his band The Dead Exs for a deep voyage into funk and soul textures. The results were the very definition of “mixed bag”; while the music was often great, the variety of vocalists – and, rather more specifically, the inclusion of rap elements – meant some tracks worked far better than others, and it didn’t always connect with his existing fans. Taking a musical sidestep on 2016’s ‘Raised On Rock ‘N’ Roll’, it seems Pattillo has taken a long hard look at his musical past and crafted a record from the best of his findings. In many ways, it is the missing link between The Dead Exs and the first Strange Majik project. The funky edge and some soul aspects from ‘Lights On’ are firmly present, but the rap is cast aside. The end results firmly grasp the Santana-ish and Funkadelic grooves from that LP, but fuse them with a little blues and rock along the way…and with Pattillo handling all vocal duties, everything sounds like the funked up cousin of The Dead Exs, with some hard grooves delivered by a crack selection of back-up musicians.
Strange Majik mainman David Pattillo is a well known studio hand from New York, whom between 2011-2013 was most often seen as half of garage blues duo The Dead Exs. After two excellent albums in that stripped back and distorted style, his Strange Majik project finds the multi-instrumentalist spreading his wings. Pattillo’s Strange Magik guise is primarily a vehicle to experiment with a world of music that largely would never have fit The Exs straight ahead mood and also allows him to work with a revolving cast of musicians and vocalists. The end results straddle funk and r ‘n’ b, with a swathe of old fashioned psychedelic guitars beefing up the sound – the message here is to close your eyes, open your mind and feel the majik.