Magnatite's "Fifth Level En Route"
Onstage, Magnatite is a four-piece, with guitarists Selden Tual and Zach Smith filling out the front line, but on record, it's basically Sam and drummer Bo Thomas with occasional assistance. (While Sam doesn't rate himself as a guitarist, he's fluent enough on the six-string axe to play Kirk Hammett in Big Mike's Metallica project.)
Magnatite's funk is stripped down to the essence, which is to say, the groove. Most post-RHCP white funkateers overplay like a mofo, but Sam knows that in funk, simplicity is the key; the lock that makes the groove comes from the subtle interplay of multiple repeating parts. Even when he flaunts his impressive chops (as he does on "What's In Your Wallet"), it's always in service of the One. Sometimes the spareness of the tracks cries out for another instrument (a keyboard, say), but when it's working, as it is on the opening "Cryptography" (replete with a vocoder that summons the spirits of Zapp and Roger), "Return of the Fly," "Gangsta Jam," and "Astral Travel," a casual listener might think they were listening to an outtake from Motor Booty Affair or Electric Spanking of War Babies. Get down in this filthy mess and wallow around. It'll get good to you.