The Chameleon Project is a four piece band out of Toronto, Canada who have conjured up a remarkable mix of various genres with seamlessness and fluidity capable of surprising even longtime music listeners. Their blend of EDM, experimental rock, jazz, funk, and reggae, along with other styles, has no real parallel in the modern music scene, but it is possible to discern certain reference points the band draws from. They have subsumed these influences, however, and filtered it through their own rambunctious creativity and experiences into something that blazes like a fire glowing at night. Despite the obvious physicality of the music, The Chameleon Project clearly brings intellectual rigor to what they do reaching far past what typical units in this musical area are capable of accomplishing. The ten songs on Funk ‘n’ Space never disappoint and it’s apparent that the band rarely, if ever, deferred to specific tracks with the idea they are filler. This is a resolutely well crafted album with first class direction and it makes a deep impact on the listener.
Listeners will know they are in excellent hands on the basis of the first song alone. “Milky Way” has a strong groove that lulls audiences in from the first and never lets go. The genre hopping that The Chameleon Project makes their stock and trade gets a rather splendid workout here as the track immediately recalls styles like groove oriented soul and funk, but the drums are culled straight from rock music and lay down an assertive back beat for the stringed instruments and keyboards to dance over. There is a smattering of lyrics on Funk n Space, but The Chameleon Project is more of an instrumental outfit at this stage of their development. They discharge the expectations of such acts with genuine style and few listeners will find themselves lamenting the standing approach of verse, chorus, bridge heard in vocally driven pieces. The funk factor is turned up a little higher on the second track “Playhouse” and The Chameleon Project rides a relatively simple musical motif further than one might ever expect. The band achieves a layered effect throughout the eight songs, but it’s never at the expense of overwhelming listeners with too much sonic muscle. Laid back is a good term to describe many of the tracks on Funk n Space, but not all. There’s a pawing sense of fun about this song that’s also charged with considerable musicality.
Some lightly aquatic sounds accompany the opening of “Kraken” and soon changes into an atmospheric guitar-driven track with strong progressive leanings and just the right amount of power. “Bigfoot” is cut from similar cloth, but its rock leanings are much more pronounced than on the aforementioned number and The Chameleon Project dispense with the prog trappings. The penultimate song, “DiMiTri Code”, revisits the EDM tendencies manifested on earlier songs, but the band never takes the path of least resistance and simply offers up some unquestioning reworking of the genre’s tropes. Instead, they twist everything with inventiveness that will make even longtime listeners of the genre sit up and take notice. The Chameleon Project has produced one of the most formidable efforts of an electronic nature released in 2017.