XL Middleton - Tap Water Runoff (Cassette)
Still on the heels of his critically-acclaimed LP “Tap Water,” XL Middleton returns, however briefly, with a cassette of cuts that were intended for that album but not included in the final run. This is “Tap Water Runoff.”
It includes six tracks, some instrumental, some vocal, all of which are laden with XL’s melodic, bass-heavy synthesizer funk. It is a funk that draws from the same wells of inspiration as “Tap Water” - uptempo 80’s boogie and sizzling, slow 90’s g-funk, united and distilled into Middleton’s signature future-retro bounce.
“Back 2 Tha Slapp!” feels all-too-ready for a verse from Snoop circa “The Last Meal,” while “Tap Water,” the title cut that didn’t make it to its namesake album, sounds like it’s been culled directly from the vaults of George Clinton and Bernie Worrell. “This Funk Ain’t No Phase” gives a strong head nod to the gutter Ohio funk of Roger Troutman. Yet, for all of its apparent reverence to its own influences, “Tap Water Runoff” is yet another reminder that modern funk is just that - cutting edge and always ready to bellow a definitive “yes” to the age old question - “Is this the future?”