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Herbie Hancock - Future Shock CD (album) cover

FUTURE SHOCK

Herbie Hancock

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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js (Easy Money)
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars After a series of rather lackluster disco-funk records (with Mr Hands being an excellent exception), Herbie Hancock totally turned his career around with this brilliant mix of hip-hop, world beat, electro- boogie and jazzy RnB. To some, this record may seem like a cynical attempt to cash in on the new hip- hop fad, but Herbie didn't just 'phone this in'. Instead, this album is bursting with the good vibes that only happen when someone has gotten back in touch with their life affirming creativity.

Hip-hop was a far different thing in the early 80s. Still fresh and new, it's upbeat polyrhythms were rooted in Africa and Harlem and the genre was ripe for someone like Herbie to take it into a progressive and creative direction. Much of the credit on this album should also go to bassist, co- creator and producer Bill Laswell who catapulted himself from NYC's creative jazzy post-punk scene into super stardom with the massive success of this release. Likewise props should also go to Grand Mixer DST who brought the new skill of record scratching into high art and also adds creative avant- garde soundscapes to most of the tunes. This album could have been trendy fluff and easily forgotten, but Herbie, DST and Bill infuse the album with creative melodies and rhythms that helped insure it's place in history well beyond the early 80s.

The lead tune Rockit recalls Herbie's work on crime-jazz soundtracks with it's catchy Peter Gunn type melody. TFS is minimalist heaven with it's short punchy interlocking rhythms, possibly there is a bit of Kraftwerk influence on this number. Earth Beat is elegant and Asiatic while it hints at the more world beat direction Hancock's follow up album (Sound System) would take. Autodrive brings back the minimalist electro-funk of TFS and is equally infectious and also features a great jazz piano solo.

The only clunker on the album is Rough, with it's boring rhythm and numbing repeating vocals. Also, the 80s styled remake of Curtis Mayfield's Future Shock almost fails, but it is rescued by psychedelic jazz guitar guru Pete Cosey who turns in one of the weirdest and funniest solos of his career.

It's always fun to hear this album again as it brings back pleasant memories of when inner city neighborhoods had one last glimpse of sunshine before the dark cloud of crack-cocaine descended and crushed many lives and dreams.

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Send comments to js (Easy Money) (BETA) | Report this review (#192087)
Posted Saturday, December 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
Kazuhiro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars The idea that Herbie had spent in the 70's exactly accomplished a further revolution and advancement by this album. HIP and the break dance became popular on the street and various musicians had introduced the rhythm machine at this time. And, in this album, Herbie announces the idea and the technology that cultivated it in 70's with Bill Laswell. It is guessed that a state-of-the-art technology at this time is surprising technology for the listener. The listener is good also for this album that takes the element of HIP and was constructed, it looks for the sense of known Herbie, and it is possible to know. As for a certain ..HIP , for example, "Rockit".. element, it can know the flow of a point at that time well for people in the known tune. His fan might have gotten excited by a more reformative creation of Herbie. It might be music that never becomes old.

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Send comments to Kazuhiro (BETA) | Report this review (#222579)
Posted Tuesday, June 23, 2009 | Review Permalink
snobb
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Another Hancock 's change of direction. As David Bowie, Herbie Hancock tried to catch every new trend in modern pop-music of the time and use it in his works. Sometimes it gave him a great results, often - not too much. This albums is kind of problem. I understand, that in a moment of it's release Hancock used just very fresh and almost underground hip-hop NY rhythms and techniques ( as many years ago he made with funk). So looking from this position, he is great experimentator and innovator - not many jazz musicians are so open minded for new trends.

But when I just start listening this album, from very first seconds Rockit just killing me! There were hundreds of TV shows and commercials during last 25 years all around the world with this song used as main theme! I hate this sounds! And not only because of this fame - looking from now that naive mix of computerised sound, robotic rhythm and optimistic-without-reason atmosphere sounds terrible right now!

The other songs sound different and often better. But again, large part of material sounds terribly dated now. Disco-like vocal in Future Shock, many sound effects here and there, all this gave the music archaic later disco-era feel.

From other hand, musicianship level is very high, and it is only reason for listening this album. You hardly find any other musical album of similar style recorded by so high professional musicians! I like to listen Hancock keyboards lines there and even few sound effects used ( from million others on the recording I don't like at all).

Speaking about album in whole, I think there are not too many fans of it. It is possible to find many interesting moments in it's music, but as musical work it is not too attractive.

In total 2,5

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Send comments to snobb (BETA) | Report this review (#256372)
Posted Wednesday, December 16, 2009 | Review Permalink

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