Funk fights back
Following the frenzy of sampling that has carried hip hop and related musical styles into the recording and production mainstream, some of the musicians whose work has been so effectively plundered have found a kind of Robin Hood figure in Bill Laswell. The New York bass player and producer has launched Black Arc, a label dedicated to preserving original playing styles as the floodwaters of sampling rise.
Not that Laswell is a Luddite. He includes 'cyberfunk' and 'future blues' in his roster, and takes a far from nostalgic stance.
"These artists have all their old skills and then some," he says. "To my ears, they're not only still vital, they've evolved since they last made hit records."
Accordingly, a mouthwatering array of exotic funksters will be releasing albums through Black Arc - among them Bootsy Collins, Buddy Miles, The Last Poets, James Blood Ulmer and Bernie Worrell. It seems that, while all and sundry pay their dues to the awesome legacy of Parliament and Funkadelic, Laswell is on a mission to keep that legacy alive in the flesh and not just in the floppy.
News by Phil Ward
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