Art Funk

Art Funk. The term came to me after I saw Pegasus Warning’s new video for “Changes” (included in this playlist). To me it means soul/r&b based music that defies easy characterization beyond obvious clues. Evan^Patrick, Pegasus Warning, Kent Odessa, Robert Lux (producer extraordinaire working with Kent Odessa and Pegasus Warning) and – shedding modesty – my own band Japan Soul. Each of these musicians employs wild experimentation while still somehow staying true to pop hooks and funky bass/drums. I think we all share a debt to OG funk masters like Sly, Prince, Ready for the World, Mtume, EWF, MJ etc. We’re also incorporating lots of elements of indie rock. Perhaps you could put TV on the Radio in this category as forebears. They’ve certainly got tracks that I’d qualify as Art Funk although overall I see them more in the indie rock tradition. Visually Pegasus Warning is beyond compare as I’ve never seen a performer with so much signature and daring style. His almost improvisational delivery, even on a pop song, is truly unique. Kent Odessa owns the electrofunk dance beat and it’s simply not possible to forget his hooks (I dare you to try). Evan^Patricks’s marriage of funk and dream pop is a beautiful thing to behold. And we as Japan Soul, we’ve been chasing the Art Funk ideal for years now. We know it when we hear it. We want all the energy of a raw post-punk band paired with an insistent groove (and some wild improvisation when a song can handle it).

I want more Art Funk in my life. Contemporary artists pushing at the boundaries of funk and indie rock. Send me more bands, new bands (or even old ones that may be lost to history ) that are doing this.