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  • The missing "Funk" slider.

    I've been using drum machines for 30 years, or whenever the Sequential DrumTrax came out. Since then most every drum machine and a lot of software I've used has a Swing adjustment. Something to push and accent certain beats. Maybe a few DNA patterns as a reference to select from and then a slider for the amount of adjustment. It would have to work as well as the Swing slider. I'd love to have some funk injected into the overused, tired patterns that make up most modern electronic music.
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  • #2






    Quote Originally Posted by Rabid
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    I'd love to have some funk injected into the overused, tired patterns that make up most modern electronic music.




    Sure, and funk is going to be the new refreshing alternative.

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    • #3
      Swing is the secret ingredient for some of the better dance music. I use swing a lot - even a 55% setting makes everything sound a lot more "alive."
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      • #4
        What works for me, is to use 97-99% quantization on programmed drum patterns and record unquantized percussion instruments (shakers, cabasa, tambourine, clave, cowbell) unquantized over that. Also leave some space in the arrangement for other rhythm parts (bass, guitar, keys) to breathe. Most FONK isn't too complex at all.
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        • #5
          Funk is awfully hard to define musically. Many of us, however, know it when we hear it.



          Not infrequently, maybe not as much as back in the 70s, you hear something that is clearly supposed to be funk -- but simply does not sound funky at all.



          I've heard funk that was swung to hell and back and other, equally convincing, funk where the drumming is pretty much smack on the grid. But, of course, timing of drums is just a starting place. Way too many people somehow got the idea that a drum kit should sound like a drum machine, each hit equally hard.



          In the early 80s one of my teachers drummed it into our heads (you should pardon the expression) that the drummer should be encouraged to hit every beat as hard as he could -- because otherwise, his dynamics might vary too much. When someone brought one of the still-new Linn Drums into our class for a demonstration session, he fell in love with it and bought one. "Aside from the crappy cymbals [and, damn, were they], this thing gives me everything I ever wanted in a drummer."



          While I did learn a lot from that guy, I also took everything he said with a grain of salt.



          When, sometime later at the same school, I was able to contemplate and contrast what one of our better drummers came up with to replace one of the Linn tracks (that didn't wear as well as folks initially thought it would), I was able to grasp just how far away my teacher's ideal was from my own. (Mind you, I've owned a fair number of drum machines over the years; I know that turf pretty well. And I did take advantage of an hour or so with his Linn to dub off a number of tracks onto cassette -- as my original DR-55 Dr Rhythm [the one with a kick that sounded like an Quaker Oatmeal cylindrical box, a snare that sounded like air escaping a leaky tire and a hi-hat that was off, 8ths, or 16ths] was a bit confining. That said, I only used one of the taped drum tracks once.)


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          • #6






            Quote Originally Posted by Anderton
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            Swing is the secret ingredient for some of the better dance music. I use swing a lot - even a 55% setting makes everything sound a lot more "alive."




            This is an interesting topic for me because I've never been able to convincingly "program" swing into anything. What do you swing? The high-hats? Eighth notes? I've tried everything and it always ends up sounding like the drummer's falling down a long flight of stairs.

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            • #7






              Quote Originally Posted by Ed A.
              View Post

              Sure, and funk is going to be the new refreshing alternative.




              I was reading a British keyboard magazine a while back and there was an editorial with some guy complaining about the fact that Americans aren't into all the new techo and dance music that's popular in Europe these days. One of his arguments was that Americans invented disco so they should like the new techno stuff. I don't think 70's disco has anything in common with most modern dance music. As cheesy as some of it was, most disco at least had soul and grooved and it was really swinging.

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              • #8






                Quote Originally Posted by Folder
                View Post

                I was reading a British keyboard magazine a while back and there was an editorial with some guy complaining about the fact that Americans aren't into all the new techo and dance music that's popular in Europe these days. One of his arguments was that Americans invented disco so they should like the new techno stuff. I don't think 70's disco has anything in common with most modern dance music. As cheesy as some of it was, most disco at least had soul and grooved and it was really swinging.




                It doesn't have much in common, but it's completely derivative. Modern club dance music is just disco that's been watered down to the point where it's not even recognizable.
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                • #9
                  While funk has some swing, to me it is more about where to push and accent the beat. Of course, when done wrong you end up with bad fusion. There is nothing I hate more than bad 80's fussion.



                  My mental test... If I can imagine James Brown singing over it, then it is a good funk rhythm. If I can imagine Spyro Gyra playing over it, it is a bad 80's fussion beat.
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                  • #10






                    Quote Originally Posted by SoundwaveLove
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                    It doesn't have much in common, but it's completely derivative. Modern club dance music is just disco that's been watered down to the point where it's not even recognizable.




                    Some of it certainly has that profile but, in general, I'm not sure 'watered down' is quite the right word.



                    A lot of disco (in the popular phase of disco in the late 70s and early 80s) was already watered down. When I started going to discos around '74, people were dancing to funk and R&B. They were dressing up crazy, to be sure. (What was it with the jockey uniforms?) But the music had some bite and a sexy beat, by and large. Me and my friends were shocked when a disco movie came out in '78, because, to our way of thinking, disco had all but died out. What I didn't, at the time, get is that such social phenomenon are a little like a skin outbreak: the original scene, filled with (putative) hipsters erupts, makes a bunch of noise, outrages the easily outraged, and then the hipsters slowly drift off to whatever shiny object next catches their attention... leaving the marketing structures that had begun evolving to serve the newly perceived market. Those marketing structures then work on campaigns to sell the fad to the mainstream, often dumbing down the cultural product to make it more palatable, less shocking, and easier to adopt.





                    Today's club music has had a long evolution from the popularly accepted 'golden age' disco. It owes a considerably more direct cultural debt to the rave and club music scene in the UK and Europe in the late 80s, as well as the burst of club and dub-influenced electronica, trance, etc, of the mid-late 90s. Seems to me.


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                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by Rabid
                      View Post

                      While funk has some swing, to me it is more about where to push and accent the beat. Of course, when done wrong you end up with bad fusion. There is nothing I hate more than bad 80's fussion.



                      My mental test... If I can imagine James Brown singing over it, then it is a good funk rhythm. If I can imagine Spyro Gyra playing over it, it is a bad 80's fussion beat.






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                      • #12






                        Quote Originally Posted by blue2blue
                        View Post

                        Some of it certainly has that profile but, in general, I'm not sure 'watered down' is quite the right word.



                        A lot of disco (in the popular phase of disco in the late 70s and early 80s) was already watered down. When I started going to discos around '74, people were dancing to funk and R&B. They were dressing up crazy, to be sure. (What was it with the jockey uniforms?) But the music had some bite and a sexy beat, by and large. Me and my friends were shocked when a disco movie came out in '78, because, to our way of thinking, disco had all but died out. What I didn't, at the time, get is that such social phenomenon are a little like a skin outbreak: the original scene, filled with (putative) hipsters erupts, makes a bunch of noise, outrages the easily outraged, and then the hipsters slowly drift off to whatever shiny object next catches their attention... leaving the marketing structures that had begun evolving to serve the newly perceived market. Those marketing structures then work on campaigns to sell the fad to the mainstream, often dumbing down the cultural product to make it more palatable, less shocking, and easier to adopt.





                        Today's club music has had a long evolution from the popularly accepted 'golden age' disco. It owes a considerably more direct cultural debt to the rave and club music scene in the UK and Europe in the late 80s, as well as the burst of club and dub-influenced electronica, trance, etc, of the mid-late 90s. Seems to me.




                        This is all pretty right on. And it might also want to be remembered that 70s disco was largely reviled by many musicians at the time BECAUSE it was so lacking in funk and groove. I remember reading an interview with Maurice White many years ago where he spoke of disco being the worst thing that ever happened to R&B.
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                        • #13
                          Most of you probably haven't been exposed to a good variety of EDM



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                          Originally Posted by bloodxandxrank


                          ... If all else fails make the guitarist do it.....



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                          Originally Posted by wrongnote85


                          They wont go away, they'll just start making dubstep.



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                          • #14





                            I remember reading an interview with Maurice White many years ago where he spoke of disco being the worst thing that ever happened to R&B.



                            That's how I felt. Interestingly, though, I was not much of a fan of EW&F. My GF in the late 70s had just left White's employ as his live-in, macrobiotic chef and she was big on their music. I was more a P-Funk guy. (Surprise, surprise.)





                            Speaking of club music, I know I made a big noise about how deeply annoying I found Skrillex some months ago... but after surveying the contemporary club and dubstep scenes, I'm prepared to say that he's the Jimi Hendrix of that stuff. At least Skrillex had a couple of ideas. (Which he then proceeded to exploit so tirelessly they became signature features of 'brostep,' the more muscular, machizimized club pop made by him and his imitators.) But even if I appreciate it to some degree intellectually, still doesn't mean I can listen to that utterly squashed, cliche-ridden, formulaic product for pleasure. It's best contemplated at a distance -- and in silence.


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                            • #15






                              Quote Originally Posted by Folder
                              View Post

                              This is an interesting topic for me because I've never been able to convincingly "program" swing into anything. What do you swing? The high-hats? Eighth notes? I've tried everything and it always ends up sounding like the drummer's falling down a long flight of stairs.




                              I usually apply swing to an entire pattern, as it ignores everything that's not supposed to swing. It normally applies to high-hat patterns, but I sometimes use kick patterns where a pickup will be "swung."



                              The key is to use a subtle amount if applied in this manner. It's the kind of thing where you don't know it's there unless you turn it off.



                              The only musician I know who can make excessive amounts of swing work is Dr. Walker over in Germany. He sometimes uses 75% swing but applies it selectively instead of to the entire track.
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