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Ricky Vincent: Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of the One

this is a review i found of this book.

Chapter 18:
the metaphysics of the p:
the mothership connection

Matt’s notes on…

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
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,

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
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
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

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