Taken from Something Else! (June 16, 2016)
Bill Laswell, Bernie Worrell, Karsh Kale - Funkcronomic (2016)
by S. Victor Aaron
Bassist extraordinaire Bill Laswell got together with keyboard extraordinaire Bernie Worrell and Indian-American Asian Underground producer Karsh Kale to make a little record that reduces the music of Worrell’s Funkadelic/Parliament heritage down to its brawny basics. Essentially an EP (it runs shorter than a sitcom with the commercials removed), Funkcronomic is casual fun by serious musicians but as it’s centered around such an influential funk keys pioneer in Worrell, there’s nothing lackadaisical about this kind of fun.
“Woo Doo” gets the party going with a strong but clean groove, paced by Laswell’s thick bass lines and Worrell’s Headhunters-evoking clavinet. The Parliament hit “Flashlight” is reduced down to its tough core pulse, nearly unrecognizable from the original except for Woo’s occasional synth quote of the chorus. “Outer Woo” begins with stately, huge-assed organ chords before Laswell + Kale breaks in with a pliant bass-led vamp that thumps hard as Worrell proceeds to needle his Moog for a bit. Laswell’s bass line is even more righteous for “Flash Back,” a solid bedrock over which Worrell extemporizes with his signature spacy synth quips. And “Shohurolling” breaks the string of songs without a bridge but is just as biting.
These jams aren’t extended though I wish they’d go on for longer even if no one is exerting themselves that much over these simple riffs. Because after all, simplicity is the point of Funkcronomic: you take out all the weird, zany stuff out of P-Funk and what remains is what changed funk music forever. For twenty minutes, Funkcronomic captures that sweet core of George Clinton’s innovations.
Funkcronomic is part of Laswell’s Incunabula Digital Series and available digitally only, by the graces of M.O.D. Technologies.
Note: As of this writing, Worrell is in grave condition from his battle against advanced lung cancer. SER joins the legion of Worrell and P-Funk fans in wishing him a safe, peaceful passage to his final destination.