Anyone who’s been following the Bassfiles column over on the Bodytonic main site will know that I’ve been fairly obsessed with UK Funky House or simply ‘Funky’ for the last 18 months or so. There’s a good few reasons for this, and I hope this mix spreads the enthusiasm. The UK garage scene always made time for traditional ‘funky house’, but as garage got dark and morphed into grime and dubstep, there was more aggression, less glamour and frankly ‘too many men’. Garage, grime and dubstep producers started putting their own signature on house music and combined elements of afro-beat and their own bass music backgrounds to create a really distinctive sound that continues to evolve and mutate at merciless pace.
A principle feature of the genre is its favouring of a soca beat as opposed to a straight 4×4, so there’s a off beat for the hips to swing in and no shortage of melodies supplied to further tempt the ladies to dance. And where the ladies go, the fellahs will follow! The funky scene over in the UK is noted generally for strict dress codes where hats, hoods and trainers are forbidden, but scruffs like me are now more likely to get to hear it out as it has been picked up by wider DJs in the bass music and general dance scenes. Listening to tunes like the Count and Sinden’s ‘Mega’, you can’t help notice that it is essentially a piece of Funky and the genre has been having an impact on the new dancehall sounds coming out of Jamaica. Definitely a genre on the up and up.
This mix showcases the versatility of the genre inna A$$QUAKE style, demonstrating also the influence that the soca beat has been having on wider bass music. Classic funky tunes like ‘I’m Right Here’ give way to some of the sound’s more stripped down and percussive manifestations, with a fair smattering of vocal niceness and dance-floor fillers.
1. Julio Bashmore – Around
The first track eases us in, a Bristol producer whose style isn’t quite ‘funky’ but somewhere between garage and afro-house. The low key percussion and atmospheric synths make for great mood.
2. Dj MA1 – I’m Right Here
This track is a straight up piece of vocal funky from a big producer on the scene. Comforting lyrics, simple beats, piano, still a mood ting!
3. Tadow – Stress Out (Carnival Mix)
Stepping the percussion up a notch, this track courts the Caribbean influence a bit more, with a rousing guitar lick, stabbing piano and hard soca beat.
4. Shystie – Pull It (Ill-Blu Remix)
A massive remix of Shystie’s low key bassline original. The lyrics are pure hype and Ill-Blu does them justice on the beats.
5. Jeremih – Birthday Sex (Venom & Damage Remix)
Venom & Damage who I last saw making pretty impressive ravey remixes have imported some of that aesthetic on their take on funky. This pretty croony original has at least three different funky remixes, but this is definitely the pick of the litter, with the vocal cut up and dubstep-style breakdowns generating pure energy. I should have left this play out longer.
6. Kid Sister – Right Hand Hi
What’s this? Kid Sister on a funky mix? Well, this newest offering from Chicago’s hip rap export is nicely percussive. The vocal is catchy and there’s the usual ‘tude to spare. It’s definitely a good look for her.
7. Major Lazer – Hold the Line (Edu K remix)
Ever since the Lazer boys stuck the acapella for ‘Hold the Line’ up on their blog, there’s been a slew of remixes of various quality plastered across the interwebs. Brazillian Edu K has turned out with one of the best, pillaging his South American roots for influence.
8. K G – Feeling Funky
‘I’m just feeling funky’ – nuff said.
9. Dre Skull – I Want You (Bok Bok Remix)
This tune is cut to the bone bass and percussion with haunting vocals and synths gossamer gliding above. Bok Bok’s sound is really one of the most interesting in funky at the moment.
10. Altered State – Rass Out
Just bass and steppy percussion, it really doesn’t take that much to make me happy.
11. Vato Gonzalez – Badman Riddim
I heard this on Rinse a few month’s back and cursed my inability to find it on any play list, leaving me to mumble stupidly about ‘that funky track that samples Simon Says’. Big energy in this jumpy barrage of chopped sample and tough beats.
12. D Malice – Monopoly (Refix)
More of an electro flavour on this one. There are definitely a group in funky that are owing more and more to the early sounds of Detroit and those who developed it.
13. Roska – Gone to a Better Place
Very techy flavour from the master of minimal funky cuts.
14. Warrior One – I Don’t Need You
A group which brings a pretty unique sound to the genre, a debt here to more old-school sounds.
15. Dj Debonair – Samir’s Theme (Arm’s Remix)
A cut into an A$$QUAKE anthem, a rework of a classic Baltimore track which has been tried and tested pon the floor.
16. Dj Mujava – Township Funk (Radioclit Remix)
Despite peaking more than a year ago, this melody refuses to become any less effective and despite all it’s play – it’s really not getting all that boring. The Radioclit remix provides more of a soca beat that the original and I’m really into that handclap.
17. Steve Angello & Laidback Luke ft. Robin S – Show Me Love (Geeneus Remix)
Some dancefloor dynamite here as the remix of the old school classic is again remixed, providing a more rolling beat.
18. Hardhouse Banton vs. Stush – We Nuh Run (Sirens)
Stush’s always tough vocals go great over ‘Sirens’ which was a big minimal funky track from last year.
19. Donaeo – Raving (JT Productions Remix)
You can’t really do a funky mix without some Donaeo. He has been right at the top of the scene – vocalist, producer and all round talent. In this track his ‘Party Hard’ lyrics are reversioned over a beat provided by a group we’re more used to seeing in bassline.
20. Footsteps – Worker
Footsteps crank out one hard skanker after the other. This is no exception!
21. Emvee – Nocturnal
This track is so wonderfully minimal and the steel drums are just killer. This is one of many tracks that’s demonstrating that serious funky is being made ‘oop north’ and not just in London.
22. Fuzzy Logic – The Way You Move
The last track mixes in a little awkwardly it has to be admitted, but since it had been permanently on loop in my head for a couple of weeks ago I had to finish up on it. To me this track captures that feel good vibe of early dance music. Between this and ‘All I Need’ Fuzzy Logic have really been hitting all the right buttons this year.