Tag Archives: Electro-Funk

The New Face of Funk & Boogie

Diamond Ortiz

Diamond Ortiz by Danny Spence

In music, the term “boogie” usually refers to early ‘80s funk and post-disco, a sound that peaked in 1984 and relies heavily on drum machines and synthesizers as opposed to the live bands and orchestras of disco. In fact, the sound was in some ways a reaction to disco; a problematic backlash against the music in 1979 resulted in major labels like Epic, Atlantic, RCA, and Capitol pivoting away from the sound. With fewer commercial opportunities in big-budget disco, artists and producers pursued the accessibility of synthesizers and drum machines, which were just beginning to enter the market. But the major labels mostly missed the boogie train; it was indie labels like Salsoul, Prelude, Radar, and West End Records that nurtured the sound. Songs like D Train’s “You’re The One For Me” and Evelyn “Champagne” King’s “If You Want My Lovin,” both released in 1981, are some of the earliest and most well-known examples of boogie. Now, the genre is experiencing a resurgence, after a near decade-long cult following in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and parts of France.

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The APX Revive the Sound of ’80s Electro-Funk For a New Era

APX

Photo by Shelby Gordon

Erika Dawn was midway through her umpteenth rendition of ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” when she finally hit her breaking point. “I felt like a drama queen,” she says. “I literally ran off stage and started crying in the bathroom.”

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How Kafundó Records is Preserving the Marginalized Cultures of Brazil in a Changing Political Climate

kafundo-600-1

Collage by Valentina Montagna.

Maga Bo and Wolfram Lange’s relationship with Brazilian music and culture dates back almost two decades when both immigrated separately —Bo from the United States and Lange from Germany—to the South American nation to immerse themselves in Rio de Janeiro’s ever-expanding music scene. Lange, who shares found sounds and posts mixtapes on his popular SoundGoods blog, arrived to Brazil with a passion for jazz, bossa nova, and samba, while Bo was immersed in percussion-based genres, like batucada, through his work as a musician in Seattle with pianist Jovino Santos Neto.

While their shared love, knowledge, and passion for Brazil’s musical output may have brought them together, one of the main practical engines for the creation of Kafundó Records was…  backgammon. “We live really close to each other, so we play backgammon a lot,” Bo says. “We would play and listen to music, and be like, ‘Hey, check this song out,’ or ‘Love that song,’ or ‘Can you send me that song?’ So, we were constantly trading music and researching and sharing. Finally, we thought, ‘We should put something together a little more official than just trading MP3s,’ so it became a label.”

Since its establishment in 2014, Kafundó Records has played a pivotal role in the musical landscape, directing the spotlight toward the music on the Brazilian periphery, like the the sounds emerging from the favelas or those from regions far from well-known city centers like São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro. As Lange explains, kafundó is a term for isolated, faraway places. “I often relate this to a non-geographic cultural space, where this music is coming from,” he says. These spaces are also intrinsically related to Afro-Brazilian culture and its expressions, like the candomblé religion, that were undeniably brought by the Portuguese slave trade and that have been kept alive—against all odds—by the African diaspora.

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Breaking Down the Kinetic Funk of ZuluZuluu

ZuluZuluu

The six multi-instrumentalists that comprise the Minneapolis band ZuluZuluu–rapper Greg Grease, Proper-T, Myk, Trelly Mo, DJ Just 9, and ΔRT PΔRTE–are well-known in a city famous for its soul, funk and hip-hop scenes. Since forming in 2013, they’ve performed concerts with Femi Kuti, Busdriver, Dam-Funk and other touring artists, and have earned a reputation as an exuberant live act. The collective’s debut, What’s the Price?, fulfills that promise with a startling and imaginative suite of fuzzy synth-funk, from the impassioned title track’s indictment of police brutality—which seems particularly timely in light of the recent shooting of Philando Castile by St. Anthony, MN law enforcement on July 6—to sensuous electro-love crushes like “On Our Way” and “Bicycle Seat.” It’s a sign that the group may be destined to become more than local heroes, while reflecting their Afrofuturistic ideals and lineage as the latest manifestation of the Minneapolis sound.

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