Needless to say, a lot changed since those days. Meecham and Meredith went on to ditch the gawdy, diva-centric sound, formed the leftfield-leaning Lips and hooked up with Steve Kotey, himself a heavy hitter in the UK underground disco scene and owner of the influential Bear Funk records. The highlights of their subsequent ten years of output are gathered for the first time here, and if you've had even a remote interest in nu- cosmic- beardo- weirdo- whatever-you-want-to-call-it- disco you'd best make haste and find yourself a copy of this. It contains entire DNA strands of this hard-to-label subgenre.
Consider the seminal "He Not In" to be case in point, an indestructible bit of strutting weirdness from 2002 that still sounds poppin' fresh. With a swiveling groove and broken slivers of bass and vocals, it's too minimal to be properly disco but too loosey-goosey and weird to be house. You'll also note key Lips elements like chunky, compressed hi-hats, heavily echoed percussion and a generally stoned-out sense of humor. In general, the Lips seem to have taken the dub/instrumental sides of the 12-inch world as a starting point, either replacing vocals with analog riffs or simply letting dubbed out claps and hand percussion take the lead.
A few exceptions are on display, like the supremely goofy "Hot Love," which features come-ons like "give me the reins and I'll ride you like a coat" sung in group falsetto. It reflects a belief that dance vocal performers don't necessarily need to be trained, they just need to sound like they're having fun—see as well the oddly pitched calls and responses on "Sweetcow." It's a far cry, perhaps thankfully so, from "I'm Gonna Get You."
The Lips' sense of pressure-cooker mixing has also been of noticeable influence, particularly on the disco edits scene, which makes considerable use of revved-up, tightly-wound repetition on tracks like "You're Playing Dirty." A nicely roughshod quality like the steam-building "Is That You or Me?" utilizing coarsely-applied extended breaks that recall Walter Gibbons or Larry Levan mixes. These tracks stick out against the pseudonymous Zeefungk tunes included, which sound a bit tidied-up by comparison. As names like "Chicken Lips" and "Bear Funk" might indicate, the sound works best when it's rife with a bit of bestial stank, hairy and in need of a bath.
Tue / 3 Aug 2010
01. Chicken Lips - Is That You Or Me
02. Chicken Lips - Sweetcow
03. Chicken Lips - You're Playing Dirty
04. Chicken Lips - Hot Love
05. Chicken Lips - Blanc Tape (Unreleased Dub)
06. Chicken Lips - He Not In
07. Zeefungk - Robot Lips
08. Chicken Lips - Wind Ya Neck In
09. Zeefungk - Clapslap
10. Chicken Lips - White Dwarf (Zeefungk Dub) (Kotey Edit)