Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of the One
Rickey Vincent. New York: St. Martins Griffin, 1996.
unformatted; I'll do that later. --bradley
the scholastics didnt believe they could possibly solve the problem, but assumed that man was at the center of the universe. Kepler let himself believe that knowledge of the universe was possible, that he could solve the problem. He borrowed from Renaissance art the idea that the universe can be understood in terms of geometry and symmetry, and that it is only from the correct perspective (which implies a distance) that one can see the symmetry of the universe. Today we do not believe that we can solve certain societal problems, or at least we are unable to. But if we borrow the ideas of anamorphosis, the beat, and funk from twentieth century art, we might be able to find a way that would let us think about problems in a new way. How could I think about my problem (conflict between cultures) in terms of anamorphosis, the beat, and funk? Chapter One: Introduction to Funk: The Bomb 3-7 Funk is the contrary of white repression, comes from teh unintegrated poor blacks, found its expression after Malcolm Xs assasination in James Browns manhood harmony with nature. funk is natural. funk dynasties: its own timeline. funk is vicious and unrelenting. Chapter two: Funk Music: Dance Wit Me funk is a musical mixture, alternating between interplay and synchronization. complex syncopation important. a spiritual thing--musicians have to be in touch with each other. funk can be sampled, deconstructed, taken part by digital equipment, but has to be produced by a band. funk is a fusion of styles. collective improvisation. funk kept its connection to the black underclass, soul did not. funk was the meeting place for state of the art synthesizers and traditional african aesthetic. funk is part of a tradition of black music that has been appropriated and bowdlerized by white musicians Chapter Three: Myths about Funk: All that is Good is Nasty funks nastiness and vulgarity: a good thing: release of tension and inhibiitons. disco reduced the spontaneous element of funk to a mechanical repetition of beats. the whole funk album has to be understood: the pop single juxtaposed with more serious stuff. nonlogical concept--base elements of the soul--lower strata of the body--multiple coded meanings of funk Chapter Four: Roots: Whered You Get Your Funk From? funk: 1. melancholy, sombre state, 2. nasty smell--smoking, mustiness, body odors. Western value of odorlessness v. African value of body odor elements of funk: heterogeny that blends into a groove, percussive playing of instuments, call and response, musically dense complexity of sounds and melodies, body motion inseparable from music making. the intellectual black element of the thirties and fourties dismissed R&B as too country, too unsophisticated; a rift grew between the sophisticated art-oriented blacks of Harlem adn the bluesy blacks of the South and Midwest--swing was the white rip off of black jazz. the be bop and early funk of the fifties led to a fusion of black high and low art, consciousness. Chapter Five: The 1960s: If 6 was 9 the black panthers came from the same roots as funk. the sixties--black consciousness became a focal point. violence, riots in the streets--the dark mood of funk. a sacrifice for freedom. black is beautiful: reversing traditional associations. consciousness expansion (drugs) contributed to a sense that rocknroll could change the world Chapter Six: The Rhythm Revolution: Tighten Up voodoo spell. playfulness (62). Stax v. Motown: an appeal to black audiences, bringing everyone into the production, no mixing, funniness, funkiness. african and new orleans music is built from bottom up: first drums, then bass, then the rest. funk does not reconcile opposites, but fuses and transcends the conflicts of opposing rhythms (71) Chapter Seven: The Godfather: Soul Power work a song around a groove rather than a melody. primitive, visceral emotional truth Chapter Eight: The Family Stoned: I Wanna Take You Higher strange costumes, racial boundaries crossed, freedom, humor, women in the band, more acceptable to mainstrean audience than Brown Chapter Nine: Black Rock: Givin it Back blues was mournful and ironic; blues singing is close to preaching Chapter Ten: Funky Soul: Express Yourself the move from gospel to soul music; from church choirs the move is made from singing about the Lord to singing about love writing music from how people speak, the intonation of their voices, getting a beat from the way they move (127) Marvin Gaye made the move from singles format to album format for black music in 1970 the slave ship: the drama every black american possesses--collective consciousness (134) Chapter Eleven: Jazz-Funk Fusion: The Chameleon postmodern tribal consciousness of funk: echoes of africa. Sun Ra: space travelling, astrology, occult, painting with music (138) an impulse (an evolutionary process) connects hiphop, blues, jazz, funk Hancock used African instruments. funk allowed black music not to be devitalized by electronic music Chapter Twelve: Power to the People: Its Just Begun artists with control of their music could put out messages in their songs, but at the risk of professional suicide the white owned record companies wanted to appropriate the appeal of racially conscious black music Scott-Herons revolution funk was a change from the divine-oriented gospel-rooted soul singers. The revolution will not be televised--pragmatic approach to change (162) is funk incompatible with serious revolution? (164-165) Chapter Thirteen: Those Funky Seventies: Livin in the City funk: satisfaction in a way of life that one isnt supposed to do(167-168) blaxploitation films: style and image more important than ideology--loud tastes funk went from being a curse to a blessing: self-aware, comfortable with ones freakiness Kool and the Gang: african percussion, deep spirituality the rise of disco and control of black radio stations by white corporations made it difficult for black musicians to make any profit unless they cut a pop single when disco was finally rejected by the public, no distinction was made between disco and anti-disco funk, so funk caught the blame too. Chapter Sixteen: Dance Funk: Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me? K.C. and the Sunshine Band (as opposed to Sly and the Family Stone) were multiracial in a mindless colorblind way that bastardized into disco the original funk sound disco: monorhythmic, inane, endless music; funk: substance, thumping, sloppy dinosaur, meat and potatoes, goofiness, country-fried--funk has no rules, can incorporate jazz, classical, anything: punishing Chapter Seventeen: The P-Funk Empire: Tear the Roof Off the Sucker postmodern black aesthetic as opposed to integrationism as opposed to social sciences the double consciousness of P-Funk: played rock as the funkadelics for white radio, played soul for black radio: one entity with many dimensions. but unlike the thirties, sophistication and intelligence are here associated with black rather than white 235) maggot brain: the need to rise above the fear and the maggots--death worshipping Process Church--one must see ones own fear in the fear of others to recognize ones part in the violence of society (236) The Mothership Connection--angry for giving up the funk, a visitation. Jamming first, concepts later(240). Rubber Band--if you fake the funk your nose gots to grow(243). no on was in charge of the P-Funk--introduced a cosmic space of freedom, bringing electrical technology into black music but retaining a funky groove (244) Chapter Eighteen: The Metaphysics of P: The Mothership Connection The funk as religion, as a new worldview. The P-Funk looked like a cross between Star Trek adn Sanford and Son. with his spaceship coming to gather the funk from the pyramids (to the sound of Swing Low Sweet Chariot), the P-Funk placed African-American sensibility at the center of the universe (254) Sir Nose, the unfunky bad guy, spread around the placebo syndrome; basically, Clinton, Pedro Bell and the P-Funk rewrite history and creation and cosmogony in an ironic, jokey, surreal way erotic and funky fantasies of reality that incorporated african traditions and modern technology. mythic cartoon figures (e.g., Sir Nose) were part of this new mythology. because of the jokey context and preposterousness of the claims they made, they could make all sorts of outrageous claims about african characteristics. (255-256) the Mothership was the reworking of the exodus (?) myth behind Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. 258-259 Clinton wanted rock to become what the church was. he took a universalist, Africa-rooted sense of cosmic oneness, different from the Western religion of fear and dichotomies 260 the P-Funk has a message of redemption: get into the groove to overcome strife and the impossible. the funk is the individuals self-realization and spiritual cultivation rather than following a leader to religion 262-263 in african religions, sexuality and spirituality were harmonically united in a life force--centered around the ecstatic trance. Clinton created an alternative worldview for interpreting reality Chapter Nineteen: Funk in the 1980s: Super Freaks the 1980s saw the loss of any central, unifying positive roots-oriented black male or female pop icon. synthesized music was so perfect that the unconscious became bored with it (273) explicitness and simplicity replaced complexity and innuendo in the 1980s black music all but died in the eighties--all became sell-outs and George Michael topped the R&B charts Chapter Twenty: Hip Hop and Black Noise: Raising Hell Twenty One: Funk in the Nineties: Return of the Funk the silly -serious dichotomy of black political consciousness (309) the funk provides an alternative, non-Christian way of thinking of otherworldliness (312-313) Twenty-Two: Postscript on the Funk: Sons of P