German label Tomlab has this week reissued a seminal, if incredibly obscure, 1985 album by Jeff Phelps.
Magnetic Eyes is a masterpiece of boogie-funk and electronic soul, originally available only as a painfully limited private press edition. It was composed, performed and recorded by Phelps in his bedroom studio in Missouri City, Texas, and features incredibly silken, stirring vocal contributions from teenage singer Antoinette Marie Pugh. The album was marketed poorly upon its original release, and, having sold a healthy 1000 copies in their local area, the duo moved onto other ventures. Since then Magnetic Eyes has become a much talked-about collectors’ item, not least because its analogue boogie-funk style has come back in vogue thanks to the likes of James Pants, Dam-Funk and Nite Jewel.
Tomlab have fully remastered the album from the original vinyl cut, retaining the original artwork and liner notes, with the addition of ringing recommendations from fans Dam-Funk and Nite Jewel.
“One of the most enjoyable ‘private press’ records own,” says Dam-Funk. “Beautiful chords throughout via warm synths and keyboards, great drum machine usage, topped with unique vocals, resulting in satisfying aural ‘electric-analog-soul’ pleasures. Ever since my friend Jon Blunck turned me on to this LP years ago, it’s remained a staple in my bedroom listening and joy ride journeys.”
Nite Jewel is even more gushing in her praise: “I thank [Phelps] so much for this music. The arrangements and tones and the overall emotional character of his music has been so inspiring. It definitely gave me the confidence to record songs that were at once bubbly and pop while also, for me, deeply personal and emotionally diverse.”
The Magnetic Eyes reissue is now; you can listen to clips here. Read Phelps talking more about the making of the record here.