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Entry updated 24 August 2020. Tagged: Music.

George Clinton's musical collective. Some consider it ineligible to consider Funkadelic as separate from Parliament, Clinton's other famous band, although the origins of the two are separate (Funkadelic was originally the backing group for "the Parliaments", as Parliament were originally called). Legal difficulties led to Parliament becoming subsumed entirely within Funkadelic by 1968, although these difficulties were cleared away by the early 1970s and Parliament released independently thereafter. A rough sense of the difference between the two groups might see Parliament as concentrating on funk-soul singles where Funkadelic took up the traditions of Black rock and funk from figures such as Jimi Hendrix in more ambitious album-oriented works. The band's early albums are non-sf, but the third release Maggot Brain (1971) is an extraordinary, brilliant and sometimes baffling apocalyptic fable read via sexual fantasy, Drug-altered mental states and what had became for Clinton an entire ethos behind the true meaning of "funk". Cosmic Slop (1973), despite its title, is not sf; but the band's most famous release One Nation Under A Groove (1978) is a concept-album that elaborates the true significance of funk. As such it is one of the very few positively Utopian records in popular music, a joyous celebration of the possibilities of community, independence and freedom from the "uptight" restrictions of contemporary living. In part this depends upon the large Clinton-esque mythology of "funk" as a science-fictional narrative, fleshed out by for instance Parliament's Mothership Connection (1975). The Electric Spanking of War Babies (1981) manages the unlikely co-ordination of futuristic sex-fantasy, scatological playfulness, dance funk and an allegorical treatment of the Vietnam War into a workable whole. The seriousness implied by the latter theme does not overwhelm the album: track 2 "Electro Cuties", for instance, sings the praises of a sex robot, and track 9 "Icka Prick" seems delighted with its science-fictional techno-dildo. From the 1980s onwards Clinton has preferred to release albums as a solo artist. [AR]

see also: Afrofuturism.

works (selected)

  • Maggot Brain (US Westbound Records, 1971)
  • One Nation Under A Groove (Warner/re-released Priority Records, 1978)
  • The Electric Spanking of War Babies (1981)

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