In 1968, Detroit's Westbound Records signed Funkadelic, a band led by George Clinton and whose sound blended funk and psychedelic rock; their afro-futurist aesthetic influenced the next generation of Detroit innovation, the techno of the mid '80s, and many more. Now, label Westbound has now gathered a host of modern Detroit artists to revisit classic material from Funkadelic's more experimental and psychedelic period in the early-to-mid '70s, and the resulting compilation is a reminder of the band's lasting vitality.
Opener "Sexy Ways (Recloose Disco Flip)" illustrates the fluidity of Funkadelic's musicianship and songwriting, with only a little more bass drum thump creating a disco anthem that maintains the original's spirit. Alton Miller adds some dissonant synth pads over the chorus of "You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure" to create a sickly, queasy feeling more in line with the lyrics about heartbreak.
Album highlight "Music 4 My Mother (Underground Resistance Mix)" opens with the original's spanky guitar riff, beefed up by new drums and enhanced by distorted synths tied to the "oh ah ay" vocal. The knowledge that Mike Banks played in P-Funk in the '80s before founding U.R. illustrates a dynasty of Detroit talent.
Part of this compilation's charm is its musical diversity. The Dirtbombs' version of "Super Stupid" reminds us of Funkadelic's rock side, while "Take Your Dead Ass Home" lets its ridiculous humour shine. Eddie Hazel's guitar solo on "Maggot Brain" is rightfully revered in guitar rock circles, but the BMG dub highlights more intangible aspects of that song, like the mood and texture.
This compilation shows the lasting impact Funkadelic has had on popular culture and on subsequent generations of innovators, striking a balance between reverence for the originals and creativity from the re-visitors. (Westbound)