Parisian 1970s disco and house music done by a foursome from Louisville, Kentucky? Intricately processed computerized dance tracks made by real instruments? Sound like terrible ideas? On their debut album Le Funk, originally released in 2002 via On, the members of VHS or Beta do a remarkable job emulating the glitzy and decadent sounds of Studio 54 with the accuracy of adept musicians and the passion of true fans.
It’s not an album you’ll listen to all day, and songs such as “Solid Gold” (and its three remixes included on this reissue) can get repetitive and tiring (this is dance music after all). But it’s certainly more than background music, and what sets VHS or Beta apart is the all-important human element. Dance purists may argue, but the members’ instrumental interplay and keen sense of momentum and build on songs such as “Disco Paradise” and “On & On” can’t be matched by most records.
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