Continuing his quest to revive the synth-funk sound of the 80s, Los Angeles producer Damon Riddick, aka DāM-FunK, has roped in an intriguing array of guest artists to provide assistance on third solo album, Invite the Light.
Having previously recorded joint albums with Steve Arrington and Snoop Dogg (the latter of whom also shows up here on the low-slung G-funk of “Just Ease Your Mind From All Negativity”) 44-year-old Riddick isn’t exactly a stranger to the art of collaboration—but this epic 20-track affair is on a whole new level.
Ohio Players’ Junie Morrison opens Invite the Light with a doom-laden spoken-word piece about the horrors of living in a world without the genre, while father-and-son combo Leon Sylvers III and IV (“Glyde 2nyte”) and a supergroup fronted by Shalamar’s Jody Watley (“Virtuous Progression”) also help to boost the record’s funk credentials.
But alongside these bona-fide funk legends, the follow-up to 2009’s Toeachizown also features several unexpected guests. None more so than bedroom pop eccentric Ariel Pink, who showcases his signature slacker charm on the laid-back jam “Acting,” while Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea conjures up some synth-bass magic on the suitably-titled “Floating on Air.”
Invite the Light inevitably suffers when it lacks such star power, with DāM-FunK’s over-reliance on spacey synths, vocoder and heavily processed beats rendering half of the record, and its instrumentals in particular, indistinguishable.
The boogie master does occasionally throw up a few curveballs when flying solo – for instance, the winding guitar solo on lead single “We Continue,” the lounge-y organs on “Scatin’ (Toward the Light)” and the gunshot which dramatically concludes “The Hunt & Murder of Lucifer” – but Invite the Light proves that DāM-FunK is more likely to succeed in his mission when he has company.