The fourth full-length album Superconductor by Swedish boogie-funk extraordinaire Peter Major, aka Opolopo, emphasises his musical roots in the 80s funk and disco-scene, as well as old school Chicago house.
It’s been five years since Opolopo put out his last full length album, Voltage Controlled Feelings, on the Tokyo Dawn label. These past years he has instead been putting out remixes and edits, resulting in both the remix-album Mutants from 2011 and a whole bunch of 12’’. Now he’s back again on another label, Z records, with music ranging from his more ambient-style instrumentals to house and old school 80s disco-boogie.
The first track on Superconductor, The Best, features UK broken beat-vocalist Colonel Red, from Opolopos former label Tokyo Dawn Records. A classic electro-boogie banger with familiar fusion-inspired chord progressions and keyboard layers. It’s a cut that’s reminiscent of early 80s-bands like Change and Orlando Johnson and Trance but without being retrospective.
Opolopos unique sound is always present; the mix between his trademark keyboard-sounds and the seemingly live-recorded funky basslines, but some tracks show a kind of new side to him. Like his collaborations with Taka Boom, younger sister of Chaka Khan.
Taka’s known for her work with the psychedelic soul-outfit The Undisputed Truth, singing background vocals with Parliament and for collaborating with DJ/producer Dave Lee’s project Joey Negro.
Feels good 2 me, starts out with Taka’s voice down-pitched and throughout the song Opolopo goofs around with vocal cut-ups, playing her voice like an instrument. This makes the track feel a little bit french-touchy, although maintaining the jazz-fusion-feel that is unique for the Opolopo sound. The other Taka Boom featured song, Just feel the music, is maybe the peak of the album. Her classic, thick disco-diva vocals together with the garage-y broken beat-groove fits perfectly.
Another highpoint of Superconductor is Staying Power, featuring Pete Simpson. For the nu disco-connoisseur he’s maybe most famous for his lead-vocals on the 2004 Joey Negro-track ”Fly Away”. On Staying power, Opolopo works with horns and an analogue, yet futuristic, sound.
Apart from Taka Boom and Pete Simpson, Opolopo collaborates with singers such as Keni Burke and Diane Charlemagne, both deriving from different parts of the disco-era: Burke from the 70s and Charlemagne from the 80s and 90s dance-scene.
Superconductor also contains collabs with singers well known to the fans, like Sacha Williamson on the funky Candy Coated Perfection and the aforementioned Tokyo Dawn-signed Colonel Red, on the opening disco house-track ‘The Best’.
What differs this album from his previous record, Voltage Controlled Feelings, is the structure. The songs on Superconductor feel more independent and decoupled from each other, whereas Voltage Controlled Feelings was more of a concept album, bringing the listener to a far away jazz-funky galaxy. A more George Clinton-like approach, if you will. Maybe that’s why I still hold the predecessor dearer to my heart, after all.
Superconductor, although being a great electro-funk record, also leaves me wondering. Where’s Amalia Townsend? In this cavalcade of great vocalists, she’s still missed.
Listen to Joey Negro’s DJ MIX of Superconductor below: