Monday, November 2, 2009

on funk

oh yes there's an ambivalence or vacillation there, something unresolved -- sometimes i think da funk is all i ever want from a music, the supreme value is groove -- other times i remember all the other forms of rhythmic compulsion (eg motorik, gabba, punk, meta, reggael) or the fact that the Byrds were great but hardly funky.

i think my beef with funk is when it becomes a kind of ideology, and then an ideological closure -- a sort of a stopping point for thought. so that when you read a review of a record, all it boils down is that the record is funky -- or at least the writer finds it funky. these days, with all the 70s sample-sources so readily available, it's very easy to be convincingly funky. and a lot of music that announces itself as funky is often quite tepid -- all that detroit influenced techno from the last five years or so; acid jazz; etc etc -- have you heard any of that nu skool breaks stuff? it's whole banner is we-are-funky-as-fuck, we love the bass... i can't feel it myself

i guess i'm looking for funk with a twist, a hint of phuture -- some of the twostep stuff is so funky but a lot of funkateers wouldn't be able to recognise it as such. People on the scene don't use the word funk much, it's all 'bumpin'' -- maybe it's actually a giveaway when people use the word 'funk', a sign that it's going to be a pale copy of a past form of funk, rather than a reinventoin of it. maybe funk is to be found in the unlikeliest places -- the Chain Reaction/Maurizio stuff can be fearfully funky without any grit or sexuality. Trance can be funky in its frictionless, clinical way.

that book on Funk by Ricky Vincent -- it's quite well done but because the guy has defined funk for himself as the smokin' interaction of a live band, (or hip hoppers sampling the same), he's immediately closed off whole avenues for himself -- he has a typical AfroAmerican funkateers diatribe against disco, so that he can't take on the funkiness of house music or any all-electronic music -- the best he can come up for exemplars of da- funk-lives-on is Red hot chilli peppers and their like! That's a typical example of funk-as-ideology leading to a dead end.

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