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Codes and Conventions of
Transcript of Codes and Conventions of
Funk rock is a fusion genre that mixes elements of funk and rock. James Brown and others declared that Little Richard and his mid-1950s road band, The Upsetters, were the first to put the funk in the rock and roll beat, with a biographer stating that their music "spark[ed] the musical transition from fifties rock and roll to sixties funk". In my presentation I will focus on the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Funkadelic.
Many instruments may be incorporated into the music, but the overall sound is defined by a definitive bass or drum beat and electric guitars. The bass and drum rhythms are influenced by funk music but with more sonic intensity, while the guitar can be funk- or rock-influenced, usually with distortion, which is similar to overdrive or fuzz.
History and Origins
Jimi Hendrix was the first well-known recording artist to combine the rhythms and riffs of early funk to his rock sound. Perhaps the earliest example is his song "Little Miss Lover" (1967).
George Clinton has been considered the godfather of this genre since 1970. Clinton created the name "P-Funk" for the innovative new concepts of funk that he culled from former members of James Brown's band (such as Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins) and new young players like the guitar hero that rivaled Hendrix named Eddie Hazel.
In the late 1970s Gang of Four, Iggy Pop in his Bowie-produced LP The Idiot, the Big Boys, Xavion and Rick James along with new wave mainstays Blondie and Talking Heads created their own sound mix of punk/funk. One famous funk rock song of the period was "Another One Bites the Dust" by British rock icons Queen.
Red Hot Chili Peppers's second and third albums (which were released 1985 and 1987 respectively, and featured guitarist Hillel Slovak) are seen by many fans as the more funk-oriented albums of their collection. This is often characterized by a driving bass-line which is played over a sparse guitar track occasionally punctuated by metal-like riffs and solos (such as the solo in the middle of "Backwoods").
Mise en Scene
Artists in Funk Rock style tend to just stick with their own personal style, which often is quite unique anyway so therefore it gives the video and the genre a distinctive look. This also happends during shows and concerts. This can be seen in many video such as "Can't Stop" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The band members are dressed in something that they would wear normally, as well as their hair and 'makeup' (which they don't have on anyway) looks 'normal'/every day. Ocasionally the band will wear costumes for a comedic effect of the video. A good example of that could be another RHCP video for the song "Dani California". Partial nudity can also be a key element of some of the bands and their videos.
Another example could be taken from the band Parliment-Funkadelic. In both videos and concerts they wear rather bizarre and unique clothing. For example, a member by the name of Bootsy Collins, wears sunglasses with jewels on them shaped like a star, a top hat, and usually some type of a suit with a lot of gems and jewels on it.
Most famous bands
Funk rock's earliest incarnation on record was heard in the late 1960s through the mid-1970s by acts such as the Jimi Hendrix Experience (later work / Band of Gypsys), Eric Burdon and War, Ike and Tina Turner, Trapeze, Black Merda, Parliament-Funkadelic, Betty Davis and Mother's Finest. During the 1980s and 1990s funk rock music experienced a surge in popularity, with bands such as INXS, Rage Against the Machine, Incubus, Infectious Grooves, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Faith No More and Primus.
Codes and Conventions of
History and Origins Contd.
One of the best examples of the fusion can be heard on the critically acclaimed Blood Sugar Sex Magik album, released in 1991 by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Lenny Kravitz is one of the most prominent musicians today in the fusion of rock riffs and funk rhythms, as exampled in tracks such as "Tunnel Vision", "Always on the Run", and "American Woman".
Neo soul musician D'Angelo was influenced by the funk rock sound of P-Funk, Jimi Hendrix and other such artists, while his hit single "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" has been noted by critics for containing elements of and similarity to the Maggot Brain sound of Funkadelic. Jane's Addiction have included many funk based routines in tracks.
Give It Away - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Cosmic Slop -Funkadelic
Can't Stop - Red Hot Chilli Peppers
Only in some funk rock bands makeup is worn and usually it is mostly for a comedic or artistic effect. For example in another video by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Give It Away" the band members are painted silver and gold lipstick. In the muic video for "Dani California" (mentioned before) the band members are wearing costumes and makeup to imitate other bands, through time. They start with Elvis Presley, go through and honour bands and artists like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Funkadelic, David Bowie, Nirvana, as well as themselves at the end. This video is a good example of makeup and hairstyling being used for a humorous effect.
Again, most of the time the hair is styled by the band members and looks like it would look in their everyday style. The only exceptions are videos which have the intention of being more artistic - such as "Give It Away", where the Anthony Kiedis wanted to make something that wasn't just filmed for MTV - or comedic.
In "Give It Away" Sednaoui experimented with a variety of cinematography techniques including wide-angle lenses, shots from below the subjects, superimposition, vertically cut screens displaying different angles of the same shot, reverse film effects and multiple lighting situations. The editing is also very interesting and quite advanced for the time that it was filmed. there are many parts in the video where two or more layers are put onto each other, for example there is a part in the video where the guitar neck is above the band members however this is not done by using perspective. Another example could be the part where the lead singer's face is on one side of the screen and the guitarist is on the other.
In most of the Funkadelic music videos there isn't any interesting or unique camera work, but mostly becasue the band is quite old and back in the 70s the technology was not as advanced as it is nowadays.
Lighting, Colour and Props
Mise en Scene
Make-up and Hair
Mise en Scene
Camera Work and Editing
Mise en Scene
In the music video for the song "Can't Stop" by the RHCP, the lighting was positioned in order to provide a clean-cut, contemporary atmosphere which would integrate with the video's concept. The orange colour in the background was chosen to be the backsplash color by Romanek in order to further imitate the Erwin Wurm's style and accentuate the use of lighting and colour.
As for props, in the same video there are quite a lot of props, such as empty water bottles, lamps, plants, buckets, and mirrors. This adds a contemporary and unique feel to the video which is a key element of the funk rock genre.
In other videos, the use of colour and lighting varies, and that change usually depends on the intended mood of the video or the idea behind the performance. However the colours are usually vibrant and eye catching,and the lighting focuses on the band members. Props usually consist of instruments, unless the video is intended to be a narrative or homage.
This is the most commonly seen theme throughout funk rock music videos. We can see the band playing the song either on stage, on location or in the recording studio.
This theme is not as commonly seen, and if it is, it’s usually mixed with performance.
Homage is seen the least throughout the funk rock genre.
This is not as rare as homage, however it's not that popular within this genre.
Dani California - Red Hot Chili Peppers
The primary target audience for his genre would typically include males in the age ranges of 25-45 since the music was quite popular in the 80s and 90s. However nowadays, because the bands are coming out with new albums and a little different sounds, which I guess we say are updated (to a minimum), we can also add younger, teenage listeners between 16-24, which can and usually do consist of both males and females.
Example of Costume, Hair and Make-up in "Dani California"