SPACE FUNK - Afro-Futurist Electro Funk in Space 1976-84 by Various

Technology fuses with funk on this incredible compilation from Soul Jazz Records - SPACE FUNK - Afro-Futurist Electro Funk in Space 1976-84 collects all manner of rare slices of rampaging future-funk from tiny independent labels. Indies-only 2xLP version comes with a bonus four-track 7” single. 

Vinyl Double LP £25.49 SJRLP449-7

2LP on Soul Jazz incl. bonus indies only Robotron 4 7".

  • Indies only
  • Includes download code
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Vinyl Double LP £22.99 SJRLP449

2LP on Soul Jazz.

  • Includes download code
Sold out.

CD £12.49 SJRCD449

CD on Soul Jazz. Comes in a digipack with slipcase. Featuring Jamie Jupitor, Solaris, Robotron 4, Juju & the Space Rangers etc.

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SPACE FUNK - Afro-Futurist Electro Funk in Space 1976-84 by Various
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9/10 Fred MG 21 November 2019

The computer age established the sonics of futuristic music. While some of it seems dated now, the brave new worlds forged by the electronic music of the mid-20th Century still resonate as the sound of the future. The robots were here, and things were never going to be the same.

It’s no surprise that funk artists seized upon the possibilities of electronic music so readily. The style had always had a(n Afro)futurist disposition, from Stevie Wonder’s pioneering use of synthesisers to the cosmic philosophising of Parliament/Funkadelic. Now, with these helpful electronic tools, artists could more readily conjure up the sounds of space and time.

Soul Jazz Records’ new compilation ‘Space Funk - Afro Futurist Electro Funk In Space 1976-84’ demonstrates how many funk artists almost seemed to assimilate with their equipment. ‘Funk Machine’, ‘Bionic Funk’, ‘Computer Funk’, ‘Computer Games’, ‘Computer Power’ - even when the songs stuck to a more organic style (‘Funk Machine’, by the band of the same name, is a relatively classic-sounding tune), the acts here often ask both themselves and their audience to submit to the power of the machines. Free your code and your ass will follow.

Of course, ‘Space Funk…’ also chronicles how funk began to morph into the techno and electro sound which would be the next great revolution in black music in the USA. The aforementioned ‘Computer Funk’ and ‘Computer Power’ are both proto-Drexciyan pieces that heavily feature vocoder - literally the human voice robotified, and a frequent presence across the compilation’s fifteen tracks. 

Crucially, the compilation shows that this march of progress, while great for music, wasn’t necessarily beneficial for the communities making it - Ramsey 2C-3D’s ‘Fly Guy And The Unemployed’ begins with a voice saying that this imaginary firm won’t hire anyone who’s not an engineer for the ‘space programme’, a sentiment later echoed on Outkast’s ‘Stankonia’ (itself a computerised funk revolution, but that’s another story). This is fantastic music for more qualified times.


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