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