tylerpistol turned me on to these guys a few weeks ago. Coming out of that early 80s school of funk & hip-hop that was more into generating synthetic sounds and using vocoders a la Kraftwerk instead of rapping over Aerosmith samples.
What I'm impressed with, above and beyond their quaint futurist outfits by way of George Clinton's Parliament/Funkadelic school of stage costumes, is that there's a genuine dedication and intensity to the compositions that Kraftwerk never had due to their more tongue-in-cheek nature (don't get me wrong, that's what I love about them). Not that I'd necessarily say the Jonzun Crew are humourless. While 5 of the 6 tracks off their album are as coated on as cold and futuristic sheen as the above , there's one track where they sing using their real voices called Space Cowboy that sounds like the sort of thing you might have heard on the end titles of a crappy Dan Ackroyd or Rodney Dangerfield movie, it threw more for a loop until I learned that one of the outrageously costumed gentlemen above later changed his name to Maurice Starr and became the svengali-like mastermind of R&B band New Edition and perhaps more disturbingly, the New Kids On The Block.
I'm linking to a few more of their tracks on Youtube. From their declarative album opener We Are The Jonzun Crew to their nod to Sun Ra Space Is The Place to mellow Electro Boogie Encounter to the wonderful melancholy Ground Control, if you like these guys...well you know the options.
After poking around for other tracks of similar bent I found a couple of other tracks from other artists of the period that have a simlar feel. Two of them are apparently on the soundtrack to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City so there's more than a few gamers out there who are hipper than I am at this point (I have no delusions about my musical hipster cred nowadays, or rather the lack of it. For all I know these are played all the time at Electro/Indie nights everywhere because they still they're music from the future but now everyone's sick of them; What can I say, it's new to me so....)
Cybotron - Clear (sampled by Missy Elliott, but that's ok since the song is built around a sample of Kraftwerk's "Trans-Europe Express")
Hashim - Al-Naafiysh (The Soul) (God I love minor keys on synths)
The other two are by Newcleus, who I knew for the goofier Jam On It but I much prefer
1. Cyborg Dance (I mean, the title alone...)
2. Computer Age (Push The Button)
When I was younger I used to sit around with friends drinking while listening to our new music finds, regardless of how new or old it is. Think of this as a virtual alcohol free version of such a night (unless you want to drink while listening to these, which if this isn't you thing, might be understandable.)
If that's the case, bottoms up!
EDIT: Ok, I just found out the hard way the Firefox 3 Html links bug. I fixed it. You should be able to go directly to all the Youtube videos now.