Axiom Funk

Funkcronomicon

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Producer Bill Laswell's Axiom project Axiom Funk was launched under the auspices of a "supergroup," and was certainly one of the most far-reaching and vibrant collections of funk to emerge -- astonishingly long after the genre's heyday. P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell was initially the flashpoint for the project's Laswell/Parliament/Herbie Hancock core, his associations fortuitously coalescing just as Laswell was striving to expand his Axiom empire. Bringing together key players from all decades, he then twisted the mix with clever combinations of newly recorded material and sessions recorded long ago but never released. The Sly Stone tracks were recorded during Maceo Parker's All the Kings Men period, while the Eddie Hazel tracks were among the last he ever recorded, shortly before his death in late 1992. In all its guises, however, Funkcronomicon is a masterpiece. From the old-school jams of George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Worrell, and Hazel to Hancock's jazzed-out funk and the righteously fresh sounds of reggae rhythm section Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, this fat double disc really packs a punch. Add the alternative rock stylings of Anton Fier, best known for his work with the Feelies and the Golden Palominos, and the resulting brew is almost unbelievable. Tracks previously released -- "Cosmic Slop," "Pray My Soul," "Sacred to the Pain," "Sax Machine," "Telling Time," and "Tell the World" -- are cunningly interspersed with new and unreleased material. And, in the end, although old and new schools rub smooth shoulders, it's hard to tell where one ends and another begins.

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