Monday, August 03, 2009

3, 2, 1 . . . Space Funk to the Future!

I've been thinking about "space funk" for quite awhile. In fact, I have a special record box where I keep space-related records and obvious space funk gems for the day when I make the long awaited space funk mix. Given my dedication to the subgenre its a bit surprising that it's taken me this long to commit a Soul Spectrum post to the topic. No doubt that this will be the last, today we're just gonna dip our toes into the milky way of intergalactic funk.

I don't think many people would argue that George Clinton and his P-Funkateers were the first conquistadors of the interplanetary funk, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. What I find interesting and will surely comment on in a more detailed post (maybe accompanying the long-delayed Space Funk mix) is how for a solid decade or more (let's say 1968-1983) SPACE was a big inspiration for musicians, artists and civilians alike. Space represented a whole number of things. To some, like Manzel, it was an excuse to play with some pretty crazy keyboards. For Marvin, Space was a romantic getaway where you take a group tour and maybe do some space drugs ("no, this thing I got it ain't classified as dope, stuff I got from Venus, I had it all week, it's gettin' old, come on and try this new stuff with me baby") or take a spin in some futuristic sex machine (I'm thinking the "Orgasmatron" from Woody Allen's "Sleeper"). For some, like Marty Moore, or is it Maxwell - it's not clear who the artist is on this 45 - Space represents a scarier place where technology runs amok and we're stranded to deal with the "fall out." I love how the dance involves that "everybody, fall out!"

Don't underestimate the Space Funk as Dr. Funkenstein once said:

Funk upon a time
In the days of the Funkapus
The concept of specially-designed Afronauts
Capable of funkatizing galaxies
Was first laid on man-child
But was later repossessed
And placed among the secrets of the pyramids
Until a more positive attitude
Towards this most sacred phenomenon,
Clone Funk,
Could be acquired

There in these terrestrial projects
It would wait, along with its coinhabitants of kings and pharoahs
Like sleeping beauties with a kiss
That would release them to multiply
In the image of the chosen one:
Dr Funkenstein.
And funk is its own reward.
May I frighten you?

Manzel - Space Funk (extended version)

Maxwell (Marty Moore) - Radiation Funk

Marvin Gaye - A Funky Space Reincarnation (alternate extended mix)


Chandra Kamaria said...

I'm a Funkateer to my heart. Just wrote a blog pose myself about the funk. Check it out at

J-Unit 1 said...

This stuff is great. I do a radio show that is entirely sci-fi/space themed and I've been trying to find more funk for it. I will definitely be talking up this entry this week. I look forward to the Space Funk mix.

It is interesting how you focus on the 68-83 time period as being the time when space had an influence on music. It makes a lot of sense given the Apollo program and subsequent technological leaps, but I actually find quite a bit of material from the 50s that reference space etc... Granted, a lot of that is focused on say monsters etc..., but there are quite a few "Honeymoon on the Moon" type tracks from that time.

Anyway, I just wanted to say this is a great blog and I look forward to visiting more often.

J-unit 1

Taylor Hermes said...

Any word on this Space Funk mix?