CD Review: Funkadelic "First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate"

George Clinton’s messy, three-disc Funkadelic freakfest is a thoroughly modern structure built upon the ghosts of yesteryear, and the results are reliably boombastic and bass-tastic.
Author:
Publish date:
Updated on

George Clinton’s messy, three-disc Funkadelic freakfest is a thoroughly modern structure built upon the ghosts of yesteryear, and the results are reliably boombastic and bass-tastic. The theme? Folding the flavor of second-and third-generation funksters back into the Mothership, and regenerating immortal Funk Mob DNA with strands of Autotune, hip-hop, and a guest list of legends. Highlights include “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard on You,” with classic synth bass by G Koop (plus bass by Lige Curry); Anthony Nickels’ velvet groove on “Jolene”; David Lee Spradley’s “Nuclear Dog (Part II)” in-your-face key bass; and “Pole Power,” which features Bedrosian on synth bass and G Koop’s tasty double-stops. G Koop and Jimmy Ali tag-team the head-nodding groove on “Zip It,” and instead of recreating James Jamerson’s classic line on “Bernadette,” Spradley rocks a juicy key-bass part straight from 1985. Rob Manzoli knocks it out of the park on “The Naz,” featuring Sly Stone, and on “Yesterdejavu,” with a riff straight from the classic Funkadelic playbook. True P-Funk bass legends step up to bat, too: “As In” winds the clock back to the ’70s with era-appropriate low end by Cordell “Boogie” Mosson, and the big, active slap tone on “Talking to the Wall”—as well as the goopy goodness on “Where Would I Go”— belong to none other than Rodney “Skeet” Curtis.

The Gate’s sprawl, modern touches, and refreshingly under-produced mix may not appeal to everyone, but it’d be silly for any true funk fan to not visit a house packed with so many juicy goodies. First, though, you gotta shake the gate.

Related

CD Review: Legally Blynd "You"

They call themselves Legally Blynd because they’re oblivious to genre, and sure enough, this band of Bay Area badasses combines reggae, soul, gospel, R&B, and blues for a sound that’s both refreshingly original and surprisingly familiar.

CD Review: Bill Laswell "The Process"

How do you think it’d sound if bass magus Bill Laswell and his fretted, fretless, clean, and effected P-Basses got together with drummer Chad Smith—yes, the Red Hot Chili Pepper—and young New Orleans keyboard master Jon Batiste? If you guessed that it’d be spiritual and sweaty, and that you might hear Smith as you’ve never heard him before, you’d be right.

CD Review: Damian Erskine "Within Sight"

On this collection of mostly Latin-flavored groove-based tunes, bass ninja/educator/author Damian Erskine teaches a masterclass in leading from the bottom, giving his bandmates plenty of space while delivering carefully chosen solos and flaunting sumptuously recorded fretted and fretless tones.

CD Review: Bill Laswell "Incunabula Digital Series"

Whether rumbling and rolling in a duo with rhythmic shaman Milford Graves, engaging in complex dialogues with master trumpet player Wadada Leo Smith, or augmenting Japanese hip-hop pioneer DJ Krush’s ambient backdrops and breakbeats/scratches, Bill Laswell and his fretless chorused P-Bass are deep, authoritative, and upfront, ready with chords, picks, and solos at a moment’s notice.