Funk/fusion trio Dirty Loops and guitarist Cory Wong have teamed up for an epic rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” The collaboration amounts to something of an international summit for these two titans of funk. Dirty Loops, based in Stockholm, share their technical wizardry and pleasure-principle sensibilities with a line of Swedish producer forebears. Wong, long based in the Twin Cities, comes from quite a musical lineage himself: He gained his funk chops performing in clubs with Michael Bland and Sonny T, members of Prince’s band. (Beyond his solo career, Wong is also known as a featured player in Vulfpeck.)
Though both artists certainly have enough going for them than to be defined solely by their respective cities’ scenes, it’s hard not to hear this kind of macro through-line when playing with a song as massive as “Thriller.” The performance finds both Wong and Dirty Loops both playing to their regional musical strengths — impeccable pop precision, instrumental chops for days — and assembling a cover that is the best of both their worlds. On top of all this, the collaborators also seem to take some deliberate sonic cues from Quincy Jones (a mentor of sorts to Dirty Loops, and the producer of the original “Thriller”). The song features an extended fluttering horn arrangement that emerges slowly in the mid-section and grows to a powerhouse wall of sound by the close.
Dirty Loops and Cory Wong’s “Thriller” is drawn from the collaborators’ new full-length record, Turbo, released earlier this month. Buy/stream Turbo here, and check out the cover below.