Electrofunk Me, Afrika
July 30, 2005 3:39 PM   Subscribe

Electrofunk. Especially electrofunk with vocoder action. I like what I'm listening to, and I want more.

I've been listening to "Planet Rock", "Electric Kingdom", and "Siberian Nights" over and over again, and I need to add to my playlist. I love the Afrika Bambaataa style on these songs, with the scifi-esque funk and the sweet energetic beats and the robot-voice vocoder. I'm checking some of the "if you like this artist, you'll like these artists" websites for other groups, but I'd also love AskMeFi folks' opinions, and especially would like names of individual songs as well as artists, which I haven't found a good resource for.

I do like Parliament Funkadelic, but that sounds like really a different style to me. I really like the Bambaataa drums-and-synthesizer-and-vocoder dance/move/beep sound.
posted by NewGear to Media & Arts (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
jonzun crew's first album is somewhat like that, with some vocal songs ... and if you haven't heard "looking for the perfect beat" by afrika bambaataa, you should ... also "is this the future" by fatback band ...
posted by pyramid termite at 3:43 PM on July 30, 2005

Could Daft Punk work here? Specifically the songs "Around the World", "One More Time", "Digital Love" and "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger."
posted by Quartermass at 4:32 PM on July 30, 2005

I asked a similar question here, the replies there may help you. FWIW, I really like the Detroit Grand Pubahs.
posted by Nelson at 4:42 PM on July 30, 2005

Midnight Star - Freakazoid?
Zapp & Roger - More Bounce To The Ounce?
posted by ktrey at 4:49 PM on July 30, 2005

I second Daft Punk; How about early Mantronix? Yesterday, I listened to "Listen to the bass..." for the first time in years and it still rocks.
posted by swordfishtrombones at 4:55 PM on July 30, 2005

First off, you need to go to the source - Kraftwerk. You knew that "Planet Rock" is essentially a cover of "Trans-Europe Express" by Kraftwerk, right?

Also, for the pure talker (not strictly a vocoder) action, check out Zapp / Zapp & Roger. "More Bounce To The Ounce", as mentioned above, is a classic.

Vintage Electro from the 80s worth checking (mostly on compilations if you can find them) :

Hashim - "Al Naafiysh (The Soul)" (You'll probably know this when you hear it).

Cybotron - "Clear" (as sampled on the recent Missy Elliott single "Lose Control").

It's kinda cheesy, but I've always had a huge soft spot for The Egyptian Lover and Captain Rock. The Egyptian Lover is still around, and appeared recently here in London, for a Rephlex Records (Aphex Twin's label) Braindance party. Incidentally, several Rephlex artistes may fall into your request - DMX Krew in particular.

Here in the UK, we learned the ways of Electro (back when Hip Hop was Electro here) through the series of Streetsounds Electro albums. 2004 saw the release of a 2 CD "Best Of" compilation of these albums (with a few - admittedly well-chosen - additions). Foolishly, it was only issued in a DJ mix format - the mixing is pretty good, but I'd much rather hear crisp transfers of the tracks in their own right, and do my own mixing, thankyouverymuch.

Assuming you're in North America, I checked Amazon.com and they list a bunch of albums called Street Jams : Electric Funk, which seem to have pretty decent tracklistings - the first three at least.

Hey - did you know that Dr. Dre and Yella from NWA were in an Electro group called "The World Class Wrecking Cru". I think at least one of their tracks feature on those Electric Funk CD's.

Hope this helps.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 5:42 PM on July 30, 2005

You should try and track down a copy of the Jedi Knights' track May The Funk Be With You - anthemic mid 90s electrofunk.
posted by forallmankind at 5:58 PM on July 30, 2005

alternatively, I have it as an mp3 - I'll mail it to you if that's your current address on your profile....
posted by forallmankind at 6:01 PM on July 30, 2005

Just in case you haven't seen it, here's the characters from "River City Ransom" dancing to Daft Punk.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 6:10 PM on July 30, 2005

Kraftwerk's Computer World is classic electrofunk - certainly snappier than their earlier (but more widely acclaimed) output.

Second vote for Jedi Knights.

Cheesy and tongue-in-cheek late-90s electrofunk: Les Rhythm Digitales, Jacque LeConte and Zoot Woman.

Is there any point me mentioning anything as well known as Mantronix or Herbie Hancock's 80s output (eg Future Shock)?

Gimmicky and slightly wide-of-the-mark but maybe worth suggesting nonetheless: Plone, Trademark.
Not as gimmicky but still maybe wide of the mark: Ladytron.
posted by nylon at 6:40 PM on July 30, 2005

I hate to be "that guy", but wikipedia does have a good article on the history of the vocoder. It includes a decent list of the vocoder's use in songs from the 1960s and up.

Also, this may be a little more funk than electro, but you can't miss out on "Word Up" by Cameo. Hell it might not even be a vocoder he's using, still worth it.
posted by o0o0o at 8:55 PM on July 30, 2005

You might like Benny Benassi and the Biz. It's a bit cheesy, but then again, this is a thread about music with robot voices in it... I like it.
posted by mmoncur at 9:30 PM on July 30, 2005

Herbie Hancock - Granted, it's rarely the stuff of G-funk rap samples, but Hancock did a lot of vocoder experiments, notably on 'Sunlight' and occasionally on some of his better '70s efforts.

And, depending on just how much you enjoy the vocoder, you might also listen to Neil Young's Trans.

And seconding "Word Up." It's the code word.
posted by box at 10:37 PM on July 30, 2005

I'd second the Egyptian Lover mention. He also did one really great track called "Computer Power" under the name Jamie Jupitor.

A few more worth checking:
World Class Wrecking Cru: "Surgery" and "Juice" (these are some of the earliest Dr. Dre productions as well - pre-NWA)

Pretty Tony: "Jam the Box"

Freestyle: "Dont Stop the Rock" and "The Party has Just Begun" (Florida style breakdance)

Grand Master Flash & The Furious Five: "Scorpio"

Hashim - "Al Naafiysh" (already mentioned, but a classic)

Newcleus: "Computer Age"

Sexual Harassment: "I Need a Freak"

Dominatrix: "Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight"

Laidback: "White Horse"

Debbie Deb: "When I Hear Music"

Shannon: "Let The Music Play"

Strafe: "Set It Off"

Quadrant Six: "Body Mechanic"

John Rocca: "I Want It To Be Real"

Freeez: "IOU"

Man Parrish: "Hip Hop Be Bop"

Mantronix: "Bassline" and "Needle To The Groove"

Jonzun Crew: "We Are the Jonzun Crew", "Pack Jam" and "Space is The Place"
posted by p3t3 at 11:04 PM on July 30, 2005

Check out this Pablo Moses record
posted by 31d1 at 12:45 PM on July 31, 2005

Any full mp3s of this stuff? I'm curious, but not enough to buy an album without having a better idea.
posted by klangklangston at 4:53 PM on July 31, 2005

For full mp3's you might have to search a p2p, but Amazon has sample clips for a lot of these which show up on various electro comps.

I just found most of the tracks from this thread between Tommy Boy Records "Perfect Beats" comps vol.1-4 and the "Street Jams" comp series on Rhino.
posted by p3t3 at 6:06 PM on July 31, 2005

Not quite "electrofunk," but does fit the vocoder bill nicely:
"Intergalactic" by the Beastie Boys.

I also remember a track called "One Nation Under A Boom" by Bassadelic that had that same Bambaataa-esque electro feel (and cribbed liberally from the similarly titled P-Funk song). No idea where you could find it, however...
posted by anthom at 7:50 AM on August 1, 2005

Okay, ALL of these answers are amazingly helpful, informative, and positively faboo, and my search is on to find each and every track listed here. Many thanks to everybody.

(Now should I mark everything here as a "best answer", or would that be obnoxious to people who search for best answers?)
posted by NewGear at 11:12 AM on August 1, 2005

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