Funk is a lot of things: indulgent, unapologetic, bold, filthy. But above all, funk is the powerhouse that it is because of its attitude. The genre’s heavyweights always thrived in the margins, making the most out of their extreme levels of talent and flair. This of course renders a sound that is, along with heaps of technical complexity and experimentation, an absolute blast to listen to.
Enjoy and subscribe to the latest Closer Look above! Scroll down for the individual tracks selected from the Funk of 1974.
Funk Music spawned from an amalgamation of Jazz, R/B and Soul and is known for its groovy basslines that almost force you to nod your head and move your body. The bass plays a more pronounced role in funk more than almost every other genre. Then there are the eccentric layers built around the bass, like the blaring horns, wailing synths, and charismatic vocals. This cacophonic approach to music making brings out the sounds of a wild party; the result is incredibly inviting.
People often point to James Brown as one of the founders of Funk music because of his 1965 track, “Papas Got A Brand New Bag”. Since then, Funk has traveled down countless sonic avenues. Acts like Sly and The Family Stone and Funkadelic/Parliament combined Psychedelic Rock and Funk while Dr. Dre went on to bring Gangster Rap and Funk together to form the aptly named genre of G-funk. Even more removed genres like house show influences of funk with their steady grooves and pounding basslines.
Funk is a celebration if nothing else. It’s the release of years of cultural tension, it’s the amalgamation of style, it’s the big band era on steroids. It’s your mid day bar tab, your calling out of work, your weird kink. It’s Marc Rebillet screaming about sex and looping synths in his bathrobe at 11am. Funk will never die because its flair exists within all of us. It’s what makes music fun.
Rufus and Chaka Khan – Tell Me Something Good
The Isley Brothers – Ain’t I Been Good To You
Parliament- Up For the Down Stroke
James Brown- My Thang
Ohio Players- Skin Tight
Kool & The Gang- Higher Plane
Earth, Wind & Fire- Mighty Mighty
Commodores- I Feel Sanctified
The Meters- Africa
Stevie Wonder- You Haven’t Done Nothin’
If you enjoyed this piece, check out