Category Archives: Funk

1997+20: Foyer

My excursion into cheesy, middle of the road, smooth jazz yacht was purely amusement, with no commercial purpose. The contemporary classical composer was thus along for the ride, speaking up now and then, casting a certain late century, “Saturn return” mannerist harmonic shadow. My R&B and pop influences are reflected in the palette of sounds, as is my own early history of parody as style. Despite the presence of a verse-chorus song structure, there are techniques similar to those I’ve used in my abstract pieces: in particular, harmonic variations on a limited set of repeated riffs. The bridge and outro feature a static funk groove, one which focuses on and extends one of the riffs. The phrase was probably grafted from Stevie Wonder’s song “I Can’t Help It” as sung by Michael Jackson (“running often through my mind”). The technology especially gives the whole thing a “your call is important to us” quality. Yet rather than programming in all the tracks with perfect timing and key volumes, everything was recorded by playing it in, with minor touching up of the timecode and velocity settings.

Composed and recorded 1997
Korg 01/WFD

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce Russell 2017

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rundfunk

rundfunk (1994) is the extended instrumental of my song “run2Dfunk.” The music is based on a four-part canon loop played on two pianos, from which all the other parts are derived. The first section is in B Dorian with a time signature of 7/8, and the short second section, D major hexatonic and 5/8.

Like many of my pieces, this could almost be subtitled “after themes by Steve Reich,” recalling in particular Eight Lines and Music for a Large Ensemble. It is otherwise a direct response to the global popular music of my youth.

Composed and recorded 1994
Remixed 2007
Korg 01/WFD

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce Russell 2017

Best of 2016

Childish Gambino “Awaken, My Love!” (Glassnote)

Vicky Chow A O R T A (New Amsterdam)

King We Are King (King Creative)

Laura Mvula The Dreaming Room (Sony · RCA)

Holly Roadfeldt The Preludes Project (Ravello)

Solange A Seat at the Table (Saint · Columbia)

Esperanza Spalding Emily’s D+Evolution (Concord)

reissues · remasters · restorations · box sets

Wally Badarou Back to Scales To-Night (Barclay · Expansion)

The Emotions Blessed: The Emotions Anthology 1969-1985 (BBR)

Philip Glass The Complete Sony Recordings (Sony)

Bernard Herrmann Twisted Nerve (Stylotone)

John Williams Jurassic Park · The Lost World: Jurassic Park (La-La Land)

Various Artists Doing It in Lagos: Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980s Nigeria (Soundway)

Various Artists Star Trek: 50th Anniversary Collection (La-La Land)

Good News

Absurdist techno funk. A version of this song appeared on my cassette album Eccentricities (1990). Days before making the recording I’d had my first encounter with a Roland TR-808 drum machine, and spent hours learning how to program it (considering this was before internet).

The time signature is 4/4 parallel with 12/8. To achieve this, I created a grid of 24 sixteenths, which was a bit of a slog considering the front panel of the 808 only has 16 buttons. The effect is not unlike the programmed rhythmic patterns in new jack swing, a genre which was popular at the time. The resulting beat here is quirky, however, with a march-like snare dominating towards the end. There is a Reichian finale with multiple pianos and voices in a phasing soup.

Eccentricities was a project done in my student years, though not a part of my sanctioned studies. I was leaving my  “no-perfectionism” period, wanting my music to be more precise. The vocal and pitched instrumental parts are in the Lydian dominant mode in E-flat, with bluesy colourations. The original vocal lines have been substantially edited out or shuffled here. I will note the lyrics had an environmentalist theme. With that in mind, the title is evermore sardonic.

Note : Extreme nerds may enjoy knowing that I sampled the orchestral stab used on this track from the opening of the John Williams score to “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” The source recording was a cassette dub of a worn vinyl LP.

#quartercentury

Composed, recorded and mixed July 1990
Analog 8-track 1/2 inch reel-to-reel tape, mixed to DAT
Instrumentation: Roland TR-808 (programmed), Roland S-50 (played manually)
Re-edited December 2015

Music and composer’s notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2015

Boogie Dedication

The Salsoul Orchestra ft. Loleatta Holloway | Seconds

Linda Williams | City Living

Stephanie Mills | You Can’t Run from My Love

Esther Williams | I’ll Be Your Pleasure

Odyssey | Inside Out

Pleasure | Nothin’ to It

Unlimited Touch | I Hear Music in the Streets

Kool & the Gang | Steppin’ Out

Prince | I Wanna Be Your Lover

Eighties Ladies | I Knew That Love

Logg | Dancing into the Stars

Change ft. Luther Vandross | The Glow of Love

Stevie Wonder | As if You Read My Mind

B O O G I E D E D I C A T I O N

79-82

To Nina with Love

beatmixing and harmonic mixing has been employed
without altering the tempo or pitch of the original tracks

Ibrahim El Mahboob
July 2015

All These Things

Taiguara ft. Hermeto Pascoal & Wagner Tiso “Samba das Cinco”
F major, final chord: D-flat major

Bebel Gilberto “Samba da Benção” (backing track: Amon Tobin “Nova”)
D-flat major

Esperanza Spalding “Ponte de Areia”
D-flat major

Aline Morales “Como Pólen”
F-sharp minor

Airto Moreira “The Happy People”
F major, transition on G minor

Banda Black Rio “Mr. Funky Samba”
G minor

Djavan “Nereci” ft. Marianzinha
A minor, transition on E open fifth

Carlos Dafé “De Alegria Raiou O Dia”
E minor

Antonio Adolfo & A Brazuca “Transamazônica” (excerpt)
E minor, transition on G minor/C

Gilberto Gil “Maracatu Atomico”
G minor

Robson Jorge & Lincoln Olivetti “Aleluia”
G major in key of C, transition on F minor riff

Flora Purim “From the Lonely Afternoon”
F minor

Tim Maia “O Caminho Do Bem”
D minor

Paulinho da Costa “Déjà vu” ft. Philip Bailey
D minor, D-sharp minor

Sergio Mendes & The New Brasil ’77 “The Real Thing”
D-sharp minor

Burnier & Cartier “Mirandolina”
F minor, A-flat major

Jazzanova “Gafiera” ft. Pedro Martins & Azymuth
F minor

Elis Regina “Tereza Sabe Sambar”
B minor

Arthur Verocai “Na Boca Do Sol”
B minor

Toninho Horta w/Orquestra Fantasma “Aquelas Coisas Todas (Sanguessuga)”
B minor, E major/minor

A L L T H E S E T H I N G S

At the invitation of São Paulo-based DJ Petri Glad on the occasion of World Cup 2014, here are a few well-loved songs composed and/or performed by Brazilians (and one Brazilian Canadian).

Also on request, I’ve provided simplified key information for each song to better illustrate where harmonic mixing (key matching or transitioning) has sometimes been employed.

I B R Λ H I M ΞL M Λ H B O O B
July 2014

Get It up for Love, Five Pianos Re:cover

This is based on Táta Vega’s 1978 cover of the song by Ned Doheny, played downtempo. It is for multiple pianos and combines elements of contemporary classical, jazz and popular dance music. The track could serve as a demo for a live performance, or for a studio recording with acoustic pianos.

The first two pianos, the bassline and main chordal part, were recorded in an evening as a last minute favour for a producer friend. An additional three pianos – lead/solo, second bass/chord and repeating patterns – were added over the next several evenings. A notated version would condense the music to four pianos (score pending).

The piece is faithful to the original material, with a layer of variations added later on, especially in the long outro section. The spirit is one of fun and admiration for the artist and repertoire.

Recorded March 27-31, 2014
Roland digital piano direct to GarageBand, no effects
All playing is live; no programming, looping or quantization

Original recording on Motown arranged by Al Johnson, produced by Winston Monseque, co-produced by André Fischer

Music copyright Warner Music Group and Longdog Music (ASCAP)

This arrangement and notes copyright Bruce A. Russell 2014