[_ ' Funky town
Get up, get down and get on it, man! As techno starts to die a death, Donny Allan investigates the new interest in all things funky.
Cool and mellow sounds were most definitely lN this summer. The sounds that were OUT, in fashionable circles at least. have been rather a inaccurately and dismissively lumped together as techno (or even worse ‘rave’). Before the terms jazz and funk become similarly pointless and over-used it might be a good idea to find out what we really mean by them. The huge increase in popularity of club music with the jazzjfunk tag has led to the birth ofseveral fine clubs in recent times; 3 we asked a couple of the DJs involved to shed a little light on the subject.
Jamie of Chocolate City is a hard man to pin 3 down. but we finally cornered him at the end of a ; long and sweaty night at Edinburgh’s Venue. The tunes he plays come almost exclusively from what he calls the purple period of black music, ie from around 1969 when funk as a sound was conceived, to 1975 and the first recognisable disco tracks. From there on in he reckons things went rapidly downhill! So that other oft-used tag of ‘70s music’ would hardly apply to his playlist, which largely ignores the second halfof the decade. ‘The early 70s were just so rich.‘ he enthuses. ‘There must . have been literally thousands of bands in the States l at that time, but the music is still just so unheard.’ His fellow DJ John seems to specialise in particular in the deleted and rare grooves of that era.
While the current interest in things funky owes a lot to a new generation of bands on labels such as Acid Jazz, About Time and Talkin Loud and the DJs who started playing them in clubs and on the radio in the late 805, compared to the originals Jamie doesn’t rate them much. ‘A lot of it just sounds soulless to me; it‘s concerned too much with style and not enough with a strong and sexy groove!‘ But he concedes that people hearing the l
LISTINGS: GLASGOW 54 EDINBURGH 55
likes of the Brand New Heavies and Galliano will
j be increasingly tempted to explore the roots ofthe . . music. Evidence ofthisinterest is to be found in x the healthy trade in Chocolate City tapes. which
are not only extremely groovy but an education in themselves. With the exception ofJames Brown and a couple ofothers you'd be unlikely to
recognize many ofthe names on the tracklist. but
you might well recognize a good number of your favourite hip hop and house samples!
Over in Glasgow, DJ Hamish ofThe Apollo’s AJN club elaborates on the link with hip hop: ‘They’ve been sampling jazz and funk for ages now, but the New York scene over the last year or so has become thoroughly jazzed up, with musicians playing live both on the records and in the clubs. Europe and the UK are beginning to follow suit.‘ He also points to the success of excellent young Glasgow bands like Elias and Funkollective who are returning live shows to the club scene. In terms ofvinyl he doesn‘t think the distinction between old and new is so important:
.%m owns WW
‘Heaps of the new tracks are straight covers ofold
classics anyway and the playing is often just as
good. lfit's hot enough to dance to I‘ll play it.‘
And that‘s what it boils down to: jazz. funk. disco, house and hip hop are all just labels for styles which share the same roots and which constantly borrow from and compliment one another. A recent record by Longsy D (described
? on the sleeve in one shop as a techno oddity)
‘ samples jazzy piano and brass on one side and matches snatches of the smoochy classic ‘Fever‘ with squiggly acid noises on the other. In the face of releases like that. pigeon-holing becomes
' increasingly pointless. If it makes you want to
move. then get up, get down and get on it!
1 Chocolate City is taking a well-deserved holiday but
5 returns to The Venue next month. A] N (and every
| other club and band scheduled to appear at the
: Apollo this month) has been indefinitely postponed following the tragic ﬂooding of the building last week.
Stars oi this issue are Terry and Jason, quite possibly Glasgow’s busiest DJ-lng partnership. Coming irom a serious punk rock background, they started working professionally in clubs only last April, lirst with Breze at Rooftops, Vertigo and the Wintergardens (plus the Cyclone allnlghter) and then setting up (together with Frances McKee -- lormerly oi the Vaselines!) their current Pussypower Productions in
agree on it!
No one can do it better.
September. Since then we've been treated to the club Psyche, lour Blast-Oils, occasional nights in the Volcano, innumerable excellent house parties and a spot at the last Rezerection. 'Nuil said. Here are live at their current laves; the lirst two are Jason’s selection, the second two Terry's, and the iinal one is such a monster that they both unreservedly
1. Todd Terry: Sound Design (TNT03). Five house classics lrorn the master.
2. Phase teat. Dr Motte: Der Klang Der Familie (Tresor Berlin). New planet acid lrom Germany.
3. Eddie Flashin’ Fowlkes: 470-Low (Tresor). Thumping Detroit Techno. The Real Deal.
4. Dellnlte Lee: Subliminal Criminal (Easy Street USA). Hip hop lrom Hell! 5. Ben Dover: Get Down Tonight (Lower East Side Recordings). Gay acid disco lrom the Fierce Ruling Diva team. Has to be heard to be believed!
sponsored by BACARDI RUM
54 The List 11— 24 September 1992