Links: The Future Funk Collective
Where you get the audio clips
The Inside Pulse:
How close can “funk” get to “free” before it turns into a pile of jazz? This is an experiment on a grand scale. Mic Mell, the (what would you call it — conductor, arranger?) center of gravity for the project collects pieces from multiple sources, presumably from the more than 20 artists listed on the website, and weaves them together into songs. You want in? The project is accepting contributions for the next album.
Good thing Mic Mell has a diverse musical resume including playing organ for a hip hop open mic night. It takes someone used to adapting to the unknown to even get this project off the ground.
So how does it sound? Several tracks are club ready (Breather, Vocalize) and some are jazzy space explorations (Blues for Jackie, M Stands for Many Things). Some are headphones tunes that work best when you can roll your neck and catch every loose sound (Ten Words, Maintain to Change). Some just don’t gel, but that’s what you get when you try for something this ambitious.
– The album works best when sticking to the sound (whatever that might be in each track). The Paramount works despite having roughly four different songs running through it.
– Like Edan’s Beauty and the Beat from last year, there seems to be the feeling that hip hop has gotten too formulaic and sometimes you have to bust down some doors. That process is never smooth or pretty, but it can be refreshing and it’s always interesting.
– The album doesn’t stay in one place too long but it also doesn’t throw any curveballs that feel dramatically out of place. It covers a broad area but still hangs together.
– When you refuse to give people what they expect, your failures are going to just fall to the floor. It results in some pretty skip-ready tracks and a couple missteps in the good tracks.
– Here’s where I get to compare Mic Mell to Eddie Vedder, KRS-One and Bono. When the message gets heavy, so does the song. I respect an artist’s right to state views and try to educate an audience, but it — by definition — takes us out of the flow. No one — not Pearl Jam, not U2, not BDP not anyone — gets away with it.
– This is most definitely not for everyone. It’s for ambitious or curious listeners even among funk fans.
A beat box with everything.
Reason to buy:
You are tired of R&B by the numbers and want to explore the corners of funk with a very open mind.