History of Electro-Funk
November 29, 2005 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Electro-funk is a often overlooked genre of dance music that is very influential for many genres of dance music that came around it and after it, including Hip-Hop, Dance, Disco, Electric Boogie, Freestyle, Techno and Drum and Bass.
One of the most prominent Electro-Funk DJs was Greg Wilson, who has set up electrofunkroots.co.uk to document the history and influence of Electro-Funk. Wilson interviews Quentin Leo Cook, (a.k.a. Norman Cook, a.k.a. Fatboy Slim) on Cook's impressions of Electro-Funk and how it has influenced him as a music producer and DJ.
Wilson has also provided a personal history and retrospective mix of top Electro-Funk songs to A Guy Called Gerald for Samurai.fm.
posted by gen (27 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you were or are a fan of electro, or electro-funk, please share your favorie tracks and impressions. If you were at these clubs in the 80s and heard these tracks when they were first played, please let us know what it was like back then.
posted by gen at 6:44 PM on November 29, 2005

Not dead!
posted by anthill at 6:48 PM on November 29, 2005

The Jonzun Crew! Malcolm McLaren (Swamp Thing).

I love that line in Shaun of the Dead where he says (derisively) - "Not hip hop... Electro!!"

great track here:


boogie down bronx
posted by vronsky at 7:16 PM on November 29, 2005

Sweet. Thanks so much for this post - always up for more electronic music history.
posted by lorrer at 7:23 PM on November 29, 2005

I must share...

Legowelt = tomorrows electrodisco music history!

Reccommended albums: Wirtschaftswunder and Pimpshifter. Don't say no one warned you :)
posted by starscream at 7:32 PM on November 29, 2005

vronsky: shit, that's a dope fucking track!

/me shakes ass Butthead style ;)
posted by starscream at 7:38 PM on November 29, 2005

That's a fantastic interview with Fatboy Slim, I really enjoyed that.

I think it's impossible to over-estimate how big 'electro' as a concept or a brand is in the club scene right now. But I think the term has become so diluted that it's kinda meaningless. A lot of what is filed as 'electro' now is just what used to be called 'progressive' or 'techno', but with a bassline ripped off from Fischerspooner.

Even so, there is a lot of really fun and innovative stuff coming out now, and I'm really enjoying the change from the oh-so-bland days of the "Progressive" Era of 2002-2003.

If you want to sample or buy some of the 'new-school' electro sound, sample some of the tracks in the 'electro-house' category at Beatport, DJ download or City 16 There is a lot of derivative crap there (dance music has always been about 90% junk, like everything else) , but if you check the top-sellers, you'll usually find some really quality tunes.
posted by empath at 8:03 PM on November 29, 2005

...my main man parrish and cool raoul / cooler than the water in a swimming pool...

electro's been alive and well in the bay area and parts of the midwest. albeit people stopped rapping over it (well the brits are still [MASSIVE!] rapping over it.)
posted by phaedon at 8:03 PM on November 29, 2005

on preview: what empath said.
posted by phaedon at 8:04 PM on November 29, 2005

Make sure to check out Belgium :

Culture Club, Club (Ghent -- not directly linked to Boy George)
Electro/Techno Heaven (Ghent electro/techno festival)
A Brussels hot spot (Brussels -- not a very impressive site, but dont be fooled... they throw down!!)

(Take a look at the prices to get in -- eat your heart out NY!!! These are two of the hottest clubs in Europe. At least in my opinion...)

The US pales in comparison for the scene (again, my opinion) ... although we put out some great artists (who end up touring Europe -- except for limited shows in US cities). But I'm just bitching cause DC isn't cutting it for me on this level..

very short list of some artists I dig :

Dr. Lektroluv
Gigolo label
DJ Hell
Dave Clarke

Belgian radio that plays a bit of everything and is alawys present at most anything electro. They often stream from the big summer festivals like Pukkelpop :
posted by pwedza at 9:49 PM on November 29, 2005

313ctr0 r0xx!

Voltage is my blog about electronic music, with an emphasis on electro and its current derivatives. Then there's my electro alter ego.

Hearing Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet Rock" in a skating rink in Miami in 1983 had a deep impression on me. That, plus "Switched-On Bach" and the original Doctor Who theme music, pretty much got me started as an electronic music fan.

It saddens and frustrates me that the US scene is lackluster compared to Europe. Detroit seems to represent pretty well. NYC had a brief flowing of nu-electro (and overhyped pseudo-electro) a few years ago with "electroclash." The rock critics and music snobs reacted in horror, and now we're three years into an all-rock, all-the-time tsunami. Here's a recent rant on the subject. Here's an older one (the first post on my blog).

posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:44 PM on November 29, 2005

Published 10 years ago, but full of good historical stuff:

A to Z of Electro
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:46 PM on November 29, 2005

"Boogie Down Bronx" is a fantastic track.

I love the vocoder shout-out to Mayor Koch at about 4:00.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 11:03 PM on November 29, 2005

Quick correction in order here: disco didn't come around or after it. It was actually long before it. If Planet Rock (1982) was one of the first electro-funk records, then it came three years after the 'Death to disco' racist riot at Cominsky Park (1979) which is generally acknowledged to be the end of disco as an overground force, and almost a decade after the release of Gloria Gaynor's 'Never Can Say Goodbye' (1974) which is generally acknowledged as the first disco record.

/removes pedant hat

Great to read about the Timepiece and the Pun in the Greg Wilson piece though. I was a regular in both clubs in the early 70's, and he's absolutely right -- it took a very brave white man to go into either place alone as you were invariably the only white person in the place.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:41 AM on November 30, 2005

Glad I didn't have to be the disco pedant! Otherwise great post.
posted by londonmark at 1:57 AM on November 30, 2005

my fave man parrish track is 'hip hop be bop' - sorry no link tho - someone else ?
posted by dprs75 at 2:46 AM on November 30, 2005

>>But I'm just bitching cause DC isn't cutting it for me on this level..< are you kidding? simon from xm radio threw of the first non-ny electroclash parties in the country down here, called sleaze, and it's still going. he also throws another party called counterfeit. i just went to their thanksgiving weekend party with simon, tiefschwarz and mark verbos and it was awesome. a href="http://www.sleazedc.com">Sleaze is free, too. Just send them an e-mail and they'll put you on the guest list.

Also, I'm spinning at Nation on Friday night with Eddie Halliwell. I don't play very much electro, but I do play some electro-y stuff, and so does Halliwell.
posted by empath at 5:21 AM on November 30, 2005

Great post. Thanks.
posted by Colloquial Collision at 5:45 AM on November 30, 2005

Fun stuff.
It is funny that you're positing Electro as overlooked, since just now is it starting to die off in the indie rock scene. Electro-punk/Electroclash was THE big thing for a bit while the retro-stylists pilfered the '80s (it went with No Wave and Post Punk in getting the swipes, but now things have moved into copping New Wave. See: Adult.; The Numbers; Le Tigre; The Rapure; Danse Macabre; Chicks on Speed; Ladytron; Peaches etc. for electro-influenced hipster music).
posted by klangklangston at 6:29 AM on November 30, 2005

Greg Wilson also had a hand in the Street Sounds electro comps which captured almost all of the classic tracks from the 80's electro movement. Unfortunately, the label hasn't released much of this on CD, but there are also plenty of classics on the Tommy Boy "Perfect Beats" compilations and the Rhino "Street Jams" comp.

I was only around 8 years old when this stuff was taking off, but I remember hearing a lot of this at the time and pretty much thinking of it all as hip hop (along with breakdancing, graffiti, and all that stuff from Wild Style/Breakin'/etc).. Hip hop was not such a well defined movement yet, which left it free to jump around between Disco, Go-go, R&B, Electro, etc. Plus one of the biggest west coast electro groups, World Class Wreckin' Cru, featured the earliest rap stylings of Dr. Dre (I think he was around 15 at the time)..
posted by p3t3 at 7:02 AM on November 30, 2005

empath: Woah, Nation. Great place four years ago, glad to hear it's still up and going. Have there been any big parties other than Sleaze in the DC area, and anything in the spirit you know of in NYC?
posted by lorrer at 7:21 AM on November 30, 2005

Big? I don't know. Sleaze is throwing a very small free party tonight called Counterfeit at Andalu, with Simon and Spiggy spinning. It's on 18th Street, just south of Dupont Circle, in between Five and the 18th St Lounge.
posted by empath at 7:39 AM on November 30, 2005

NYC had a brief flowing of nu-electro (and overhyped pseudo-electro) a few years ago with "electroclash." The rock critics and music snobs reacted in horror, and now we're three years into an all-rock, all-the-time tsunami.

Electroclash was the death knell.

I remember when all the best music and ideas seemed to be coming out of New York. It's been a long time since I felt that way.
posted by First Post at 9:00 AM on November 30, 2005

Hm... I totally agree, again. Can somebody share some great spots to check out in the LA area? I just moved out here and already i am *very* tired of the hollywood scene.
posted by phaedon at 11:24 AM on November 30, 2005

Phaedon, you best bet is to hit Miss Kittys.

LA had some great electro/electroclash nights, but the last decent one died earlier this year.
posted by starscream at 2:05 PM on November 30, 2005

I asked about Electrofunk on Ask Metafilter awhile back. Some good resouces there. Also here. Detroit Grand Pubahs makes me very happy.
posted by Nelson at 2:50 PM on November 30, 2005

Thanks Empath.
I am new here so I need to give it time and get to the right places.
I saw the Sleaze flyer a day too late and kicked myself.
Hope to catch you 'round.
posted by pwedza at 11:35 PM on November 30, 2005

« Older Russian man wants “The Simpsons” banned   |   Darfur 400,000 and counting. Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments