Monday, May 13, 2013

PARLIAMENT, Uncut Funk--the Bomb--the Best of Parliament(Club)
Melody Maker, Sept 6th 1986

by Simon Reynolds

From singing doowop on the streets of New York In the Fifties to this year’s electro-monstrous “Do Fries Go With That Shake” is some singular funk-odyssey. Everything Clintoon has touched in funk has been state-of-art AND out-on-a-limb. What he does is take funk’s already lurid cartoon vision of street swank and give it an extra acid-tinged dose of unreality.

The result is a dance music that manages to be indecently, lewdly visceral, and at the same time strangely disembodied, even spectral. With P-funk we see again that sex and dance--supposedly the most natural, realest things -- are really improbably, ludicrous, surreal activites.

P-Funk means pure funk, uncut with vanilla substances, but Parliament are far from the clipped minimalism, the simple good-times groove of a Kool & The Gang. The key to P-funk is that basic funk signals are scrambled into a funk-gibberish, but one that still makes perverted floor-sense. Or rather overloaded, cluttered with too many funky strands, draped with so many tangents, follies, flights of fancy, you fear the groove will collapse under the strain. But no, everything pushes forward, moves you.

Early Seventiest tracks like “Tear the Roof off the Sucker” are like warped Ohio Players, all kooky harmonies and loopy keyboards frolics. “Flashlight”, exemplary late Seventies Clinton, is all itchy, squitty synth squiggles and harmony backing as unhinged and eerie as Sun Ra. And Bootsy Collins (as much a genius as Clinton) is the Hendrix of his instrument. How his bass bulges, drools, clenches, strains, evacuates, folds in on itself, haemorrhages. From thorough to nimble, that bowel-deep feel hits you in your funky fundament.

The lyrics gibber too--a whole creed swollen from a single, slippery, elusive concept: funk. Funk as salvation, funk as epistemology, funk as revolutionary praxis. The nearest to articulation we get is: “a creative nuisance… the recognition of stupidity as a positive force.” P-Funk is BLENORRHOEA--a spurting of folly. Enrol in this madness today.

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