Recognition has many faces in the case of The Halftone Society Rhythm Section. As a listener there’s the suspicion of familiarity, like the recognition of the vocal melody on “Caribbean Queen”. For the members of The Halftone Society Rhythm Section is recognition as admiration for the originators like Dennis Edwards and Billy Ocean.
The Halftone Society Rhythm Section is a shrouded collective of instrumentalists from the Bay Area. Known contributors include renowned Change The Beat dance night founder Mophono, drummer Patrick Korte, and vocalist Young Aundee, among others. For the HSRS project, the collective adapted a couple 80s electric boogie classics into primitive beat-scene modernity to effective results. On their rework of “Don’t Look Any Further” gone is any recognition of the Edwards’ original as the source material for Junior Mafia’s “Get Money”. The HSRS version is a jazzy rollick of menacing grooves and the haunt of a harmonica, extra chilled by Young Aundee’s crooning. For “Caribbean Queen”, the regional flare is accented in dub echoes that properly fit the subject better than Ocean’s original boogie bounce. Not to suggest there’s a conflict within the original, but The Halftone Society Rhythm Section’s dub rework simply remains faithful to Jamaican rhythm and studio techniques of luminaries like The Scientist, while Ocean’s crystalline synths and kitschy sound effects are just distracting in comparison. Such was the way of 80s production. Sure, the HSRS version still has those laser effects when Aundee sings “electric eyes that you can’t ignore”, but it’s done in a manner that would please Lee “Scratch” Perry.
Purchase The Halftone Society Rhythm Section’s “Don’t Look Any Further / Caribbean Queen” 7″ on CB Records Bandcamp.
The Halftone Society Rhythm Section will celebrate the release of its 7″ with a party on December 12 at Space 1970 in San Francisco.