Bran Van 3000 (feat. Curtis Mayfield) – “Astounded”

Gotta love an earworm, right?

Not, uh, a literal one. You know, a musical one.

And all day today this listen has been on my mind. Bran Van 3000 (Which is not a sci-fi series about bread delivery people in the 31st century) is a musical electronic collective out of Montreal who has gained some considerable attention up North for their eclecticism. I’m not too familiar with ’em, I missed the boat on their fondly-remembered 1998 debut record Glee, but they had my attention with this, the lead single of their 2001 followup Discosis, entitled “Astounded.” This particular joint was pretty damn popular around my way in the Spring of ’01. I remember seeing the video, with the star-crossed lovers stumbling around the wonderful city of Montreal, quite often on MuchMusic (think a Canadian version of MTV…which, like MTV, no longer plays actual music) and it was damned solid. And it still pretty much is!

“Astounded” is a vibrant aural trip which is made even sweeter by the fact that BV3 got the legend himself, Curtis Mayfield, to sing on this one, recording his lyrics only a few months before his passing in 1999. The group does Mayfield justice by making this track funky, fast, soulful, and a whole lot of fun, channeling some of Mayfield’s best work of the ’70s. The production suits his performance well, and I love the switch-up in feel, dropping in that flamenco-ish influence towards the end. It’s an excellent track, and I need to get my hands on some of their other works.