The Astute Recorder



Music: pc muñoz. That's what happened.

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Illustration: By Jamar Nichols. "pc muñoz in the art-funk lair."

(June 9, 2009)—Once again Bay Area art-funk artist pc muñoz has blown doors open in the realm of musical genre and experimentation.

pc’s 2009 release “What Happened?! ” is an auditory experience so diverse—from song-to-song and within each track—his latest work captures the vibe of a pleasant road trip that promises ever-changing landscapes and sundry cultures from town-to-town.

On July 7, Talking House Records will make the 14-track release available to the public. What’s even better news in this economy: the San Francisco-based record company is offering pc's latest at the recession-friendly price of free—download-only. While kind to both to the bank account and the senses, “What Happened?!” will no doubt have listeners decreeing, “I would have paid for this. Easily.”

Then again, any bootlegger will tell you a free recording, shared among friends, remains among their prized possessions. "What Happened?!" is that prize.

Like his 2008 release “Grab Bag,” pc delivers on the multi-stimulation resulting from his collaborations. Carmen Jones shows up in “I’m in Love,” Kevin Carnes and Joan Jeanrenaud in “The Master Thief” and his own son Miguel performs cameo vocals in the dub remix of “Hurricane Miguel.” And in several tracks, muñoz— in a manner that’s becoming his trademark—makes strong societal and ethical statements through outrageously fun instrumentation, making the experience all the more poignant.

In my favorite, “Good Move/Bad Move,” pc leads off with electro-beats that leaves a club-mix segue from “When I hear music, it makes me dance…” to be desired.


It’s no secret the early- to mid-1980s revealed reckless American spending that helped the U.S. get its Roman Empire cachet. But, in today’s economy—not so much. The electronic aesthetic is so fitting to represent the 1980s. While the lyrics encapsulate the empire that is burning:

And in several verses later, post-refrain:

“Good Move/Bad Move” nears the end of the release, preceded by “I Know How to Handle My Liquor,” a 37-second track that features "Austin Borracho," a looped sample that is a drunken recital of the song’s title and one verse that is pc rapping:

In signature pc style, the artist breaks the club beats down with smooth rhythms. His “Ballad of Dorothy Parker”-inspired “Freaky Delights” features instruments and background vocals by Stephen Smith with a prominent bass that adds touches of retro-soul. “I’m in Love” is pc’s neo-beat answer to love songs—art-funk style with a sensual approach to professing the secrets of the heart.

Topping off this energizing collection is pc dropping it like it’s hot with an a cappella version of “Happy Hour,” the danceable and chantable rap that will no doubt be a club favorite. No instrumentation means a hip-hop sampler's dream.

Yeah. That’s what.

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