Happy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday! (Soul Swallowing Sounds)

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Happy belated Happy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday! Today I bestow an evil brew of Funk upon you.

Axiom Funk’s Funkcronomicon, released in 1995, was produced by the prodigious Bill Laswell.  A man of many releases, Bill has worked with Bootsy, George, Bernie, Eddie, and other members of the P on other releases.  On Funkcronomicon, a vast collection of talent is utilized, including many essential members of the P-Funk Empire.  Hence, it is eligible for Happy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday.   Thankfully, the two discs of material  allow the various talents moments to contribute effectively.

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http://www.divshare.com/download/6317415-c56

Funkcronomicon,  a play on Necronomicon, the book about summoning ancient evil gods by H.P. Lovecraft, is actually a compilation album made up of rare, unreleased, and previously released song P-Funk recorded for the Axiom label.  “Cosmic Slop” (Material’s The Third Power), “Pray My Soul” & “Sacred To The Pain” (Axiom Ambient collection), “Sax Machine” & “Tell The World” (Maceo Parker’s For All The King’s Men), “Animal Behavior” (Praxis’ Transmutation), and “Telling Time” (Nicky Skopelitis’ Ekstasis) were all previously released on other Axiom records.  “Hideous Mutant Freaks” was recorded for the film Freaked, but no soundtrack was released for that film. The opening of “Order Within The Universe” is taken from the first part of a Praxis song called “Seven Laws Of Woo,” which features a wicked Buckethead performance.

Opening the album is “Order Within The Universe,” which begins with a little Bernie.  At about the 1:30 mark, it turns into a noise hip hop track.  Bill Laswell provides the bass, beats, and sound efx while DXT operates the turntable.

“Under The Influence (Jes Grew)” is laid back funk featuring George in sterling form. Dropping some conceptually clever lyrics and existing in a world where Funk is illegal, a concept explored in other GC songs, “Under The Influence (Jes Grew)” has catchy supporting vocals (Gary Cooper, Bootsy Collins, Michael Payne, Debra Barsha, Zhana Saunders), a tasty piano played by Herbie Hancock, and unusual horn section, Edwin Rodriguez (tuba), Joe Daly (baritone horn, euphonium), Ted Daniel (trumpet, flugelhorn), Janet Grice (bassoon), and J.D. Parron (tenor Saxophone, flute). The congas (Daniel Ponce) underneath add greatly .  Bootsy is again on guitar as Robbie Shakespeare handles the bass duties.  Jes Grew is a concept that comes from Ishmael Reed’s  Mumbo Jumbo.  Ergo, the horns channel the dixieland swing.  This song dates to around 1993.

Covering Jimi’s “If 6 Was 9,” Bootsy does a fantastic job.  He is one of the few individuals with the spirit to do the song justice.  The theme of the lyrics is perfectly echoed by the ambient music and Bootsy’s delivery and nuanced space bass.  Blackbyrd McKnight and Nicky Skopelitis provide straight guitar, while Robert Musso plays some backwards guitar and Buckethead provides the intro.  Lili Haydn’s violin is a nice addition to the sound. The funk is so thick you can pull it off the binary bone.

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Go ahead on mister business man, you cant dress like me

Eddie Hazel shreds on “Orbitron Attack”.  One of his hardest, and finest, riffs, he is backed by Bootsy on space bass, Bernie on organ, and Jerome “Bigfoot” Brailey on drums.  Eddie and Bernie, who plays a  always worked really well together.  Bootsy’s bass is mega-monstrous on this one.  When P-Funk was in sync they created songs that were brilliant on the individual and collective level, i.e. the solo parts of the song were outstanding on their own and worked well together with the other elements of the song).  It is a lot harder to put together songs  than it appears.  It just sounds real easy when done.   The quartet keep pushing each other during the epic jam which ends in a freak out.  As heavy as it is, “Orbitron Attack” still grooves.

Strings, provided by the Material strings directed by Karl Berger, dramatically transform “Cosmic Slop.” The famous Jamaican rhythm section, Robbie Shakespeare (bs) and Sly Dunbar (drms), lay down the bottom.  P-Funk used congas, here played by Aiyb Dieng, on “Cosmic Slop” when they played it live, and they are a nice touch on this version.  The guttural vocal adds to the weirdness.  Garry Shider sings the lead just as he did during the 70s.  Garry Shider, Bootsy Collins, Michael Hampton all contribute guitar, while the Wizard of Woo sits on organ and Nicky Skopelitis plays the Fairlight, the first polyphonic digital sampling synthesizer.

“Free-Bass” is a guitar wanking duel between Zillatron (Bootsy Collins) Menace (the Dawg of the C) on Stun Guitar that goes on a bit too long.

“Tell The World” is a slow ballad with Maceo Parker, Bobby Byrd, Godmoma handling the vocal duties.  It is a little hard to listen to after the previous few songs.  Written by Sly Stone, who plays the keyboard and also provides vocals, it is a solid song.  Although, this material was from recording sessions more than ten years prior to the release date.  Bootsy also contributes to the music.  “Tell The World” is out of place on this compilation, but otherwise worth a listen.

Eddie shines again on “Pray My Soul,” where he gets to frolic exclusively with Bernie.  The other day I posted “Sacred to the Pain,” a version of this song with a poem over the instrumental.
A few times it seems like Bernie is playing a short riff from “Phantom of the Opera,” including at the beginning.  This one reminds me a lot of “Maggot Brain.”  First of all, Eddie drops amazing solo performances on both.  Secondly, Eddie’s playing is complimented by minimal instrumentation, provided by the great Bernie Worrell.  Eddie “Maggot Brain” Hazel could tap into that reservoir of sublime suffering and unleash  it on strings.

Funkcronomicon is a first-class collection of ambient funk.  The Eddie performances were some of his last recordings before he died of liver failure and internal bleeding in 1992.  Pedro Bell delivers another piece of great cover art.  I guess on the inside there’s a hilarious cartoon about a female demon devouring assorted members of Axiom.  Soon I will drop part two.

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