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Boomkat Product Review:
Obscure futurist funk brilliance from a pivotal and hugely influential era of Afro-American music that now seems all too distant in the rearview - choice cuts for the jazz-funk dancers and breakers
‘Space Funk 2: Afro Futurist Electro Funk in Space 1976-84’ hails the roots of what would become rap and dance music, scanning a stylistically diverse black cohort who applied the funk to machines. For context, this was an era post freedoms won during the civl rights era, when the space program was in full effect, and alienated African Americans were using newly affordable electronic gear to express identity and move asses in new ways. The sort of stuff that fuelled parties in US cities, and reached the UK via imports and select few DJs who spun the music in Afro-British stronghold cities to mixed crowds, massively influencing a whole generation in the process.
Not hard to hear how thrilling this highly stylised stuff must have been when compared with the hoary glam and prog rock that preceded it, and in contrast to the thrash and spittle of punk. We’re talking killers such as Maggotron’s impossible to find ‘Computer Pop’, a sorta ruder answer to Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rockit’ from the preceding year, and the tuff, angular boogie squelch of ‘Breakdance’ primed for kids in tracks on the lino outside the local shopping precinct, and the sort of futurist swag in Mid City Crew’s ‘Get Right’ and the snappy electro of ‘Video Control’ by X-Ray Vision that would have fuelled the imaginations of Electrifying Mojo or Gerald Donald, and proper rug-cutters in Rich Cason and The Galactic Orchestra’s ‘Year 2001 Boogie’ and the vocoder funk of Alien Starr’s ‘Music-a-Lizer’.