Close Encounters of the Funk Kind

Some random covers of the theme from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind.

Because I just somehow accumulated all of these by accident.

I know, I have weird problems.

Hideki Matsutake
Theme From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Hideki Matsutake is a genius so it’s not a surprise that his version of the theme takes the most liberties with it, using the technology available to him at the time to really expand and divert upon the original in interesting and fun ways. At times, all this version has in common with the original is the basic melody we all know, using that as a backdrop for some smooth funky jazz. If you removed it, the song would become entirely unrecognizable. Great instrumentation and sound effect choices on here as well.

Electoru Polyphonic Orchestra
Theme From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Oh boy, this thing.

So I bought this record on a whim. Mostly for the cover, but also for the tracklist, which includes some severely oddball selections like the themes to “Zero Population Growth,” “Barbarella” and the cult classic, “No Blade Of Grass.” Although that one is spelled as “No Blade of Glass” because English is hard.

Was it worth it? Eh, not really. Humor derived from the cover and poor translations aside, there isn’t much to enjoy here. The covers far too faithful to the original versions. Instead of using the electronic technology to branch out from the originals, I feel like this album goes for mimicry far too often.

There is a bit to like in this cover though, the weird wah-wah bassline at the end is groovy as fuck.

Toru Hatano
Theme From Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
Talked about Toru Hatano last year in my last Star Wars post, so I’m not going to repeat myself. I dig his cover of the theme, even if it’s not all that out-there when compared to some of the others. I really like the effects on the synthesizer in the last minute. Got some good space funk going on there.

Close Encounters
Spectrum was a late-70s/early-80s Japanese funk/disoc/soul/electronic act who released six damn albums in just three years. Most of their stuff that I’ve heard is by-the-numbers disco and funk, with a slight jazz influence. Nothing all that special.

However, their second 1979 album, In The Space, is something else. Half of the record is your standard jazzy pop-funk, but the other half is made up of funky disco covers of sci-fi movie themes. They got Star Wars on here (of course) as well as the above version of the Close Encounters theme, but there are some oddities thrown in as well. There’s the theme to War In Space, a third-rate Star Wars rip-off by Toho, and also a cover to the theme of Space Battleship Yamato. Because holy shit that thing was popular in Japan. A take on “Also Sprach Zarathustra” aka “That song from 2001” is here as well. The best of the bunch is their version of “Close Encounters” though, good disco bounce.

But that’s not the best thing about this album. No, the best thing about the album is the DOPE AS FUCK art inside the gatefold.

Squad goals.

One Response to “Close Encounters of the Funk Kind”

  1. Tim Hulsizer says:

    Dynamite stuff, thanks for the shares!

Leave a Reply