♫♪  Material Girl - “Funeral Parade of Roses (Instrumental)”

For all the influence that early jazz fusion records have had on hip-hop, there’s a disappointing lack of tunes that examine those roots as closely as this instrumental preview ofMaterial Girl’s “Funeral Parade of Roses.” The usual tropes of avant-garde production — dissonant woodwinds, brushed percussion, abrupt beat-changes — are present, of course, but the producer implements these samples and sounds in a way that more closely resembles Eberhard Weber’s chamber jazz masterpiece The Colours of Chloe (1973) than an instrumental cooked up by Madlib or Lil Ugly Mane. “Funeral Parade” chugs along for 9 minutes, planning its route in real time. Transient ideas come and go, leaving their mark without overstaying their welcome.

Material Girl’s producer Moniker and an guest clarinetist only credited as “.” carefully extend riffs and ideas like mimes feeling out the confines of their invisible box. Murky piano chords ease into pockets of rhythm, occasionally veering into atonality to set the stage for weirder exploration. When the snare disappears, the clarinet answers its cue, spurting avian squawks in conversation with a host of sonorous bloops.

A goose frantically mashes the buttons of a massive dashboard with its beak, crippling the aircraft’s critical functions in attempt to make something happen. Something does.

The piano returns. Footwork percussion slides through, urged by plastic chunks of bass. .’s woodwinds relax, dipping into a more melodic spectrum, their cries becoming faint sirens.

The drums dip once again, leaving behind residual hums and synth pads. Tones barrel past like headlights against a clarinet cityscape, only interrupted by a final beat drop, tinged with smooth jazz swagger and stray phrases borrowed from Memphis hip-hop cassette rips.

While a good portion of experimental beat-craft exists in sketches and snippets, “Funeral Parade of Roses” turns itself in as a realized effort: a formidable tune that effortlessly develops its own narrative structure. Bump this on repeat, and you might find yourself finally qualified to drop that “my life a movie” tweet burning a hole in your drafts.

Chocolate Grinder

CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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