Surprisingly funky 1981 Muzak version of "Funkytown," along with reggae, folk, and metal versions

Originally published at:

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Proving once again that music made with computerized rhythm is unbearable.

Well to me at least. Real drummers or bassists always play a little bit ahead or behind the beat, even if we don’t hear it that way.

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Funkytown blends well… as in “Quiet Village of Funkytown to Pee Wee’s Playhouse”.

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All the videos have been taken down. Seems to happen on this site a lot.

How do I know I’m old? The music I listened to in my teens and 20’s is now muzak.

I knew I’d “arrived” when I heard “Whiter Shade of Pale” get the Muzak treatment in my grocery store.

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Decades of house, trance, and various other EDMs would like to have a word with you.


Yeah I know. It’s a matter of taste. Mine runs towards music made my human beings with steel and wood.

I bet it’s paler - in comparison.


Fausto Papaetti: Hold my beer, I’ll take my sax…

This was pretty much the attitude of the backlash against Bob Dylan when he went electric. This was kind of a dumb argument back then as most of Dylan’s audience were listening to a sound heavily colored by the ‘electronic’ recording process. Yep just like electric guitars and amps. (I’m using the word dumb here to say that the argument has no voice not that it is stupid!)

Apologising for the rant but I think when we realise the cultural significance of electronic music e.g. the democratization that happened in African America music with Hip Hop, then this becomes an important discussion beyond personal taste.

For a start many people think that all drum machines and synths involve computers, this is not so, more likely the stuff we hear from the seventies was mainly cv, or control voltage. Computational sound generation often gets confused with analogue electronics.

These days in software like Ableton it is possible to extract and overlay human timing over sequenced drum parts that will spread the timing away from a strict grid. Computer music and rhythm is not an issue now and never really was.

With any instrument it comes down to the musician the band or the composer, as well as the limitations of the instrument. The harpsichord is a mechanical sibling of the piano forte but without any soft and loud, none of the ‘human’ expressiveness of it’s contemporary instruments… depends on how you play the bugger! The prototype synthesizer would have to the the cathedral pipe organ… you would additively increase it’s harmonic content buy physically pulling out more stops… I gather this is where the term “pulling out all the stops” to achieve maximum effect comes from! Listen to Booker T on the B5 organ to hear an instrument without dynamics play a human feel.

The legendary Arp sequencer was the bedrock for the rhythm of the original Funky Town. I suspect nobody really cared about this because they were dancing!

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You obviously know what you’re talking about and make some excellent points. I’m not denying the musicianship of people who work with electronic rhythm generators, only saying that I don’t care for it.

The Dylan thing was more about his divergence from folk music (particularly reproduction performances of actual folk music) into rock and roll, I think.


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