You might be inclined to think that quality funk music disappeared after the 1970s - and, for the most part, you'd be correct. After all, James Brown's last (ostensibly) memorable song was composed over 25 years ago, and bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers play music that is more of a fusion of funk and straight-ahead hard rock than pure, groovalicious funk.
So, what is a fro-sporting, platform shoe-wearing Superfly-type to do in light of the funk drought of the past two decades? It can get awfully lonely at times without the trademark honk of a wah-wah pedal or the smooth sounds of a fantastic horn section laid over a rump-shaking bass groove.
I, my friends, am here to offer you funk salvation.
In late 1996, production began on Activision's Interstate 76, a driving-based game set in an alternate version of 1976 in which the gas crisis ballooned to all-out war. I won't delve too far into the storyline for fear of getting off topic, but suffice it to say that Interstate 76 was masterfully produced, mostly due to Activision's attempts to make the game feel like the 1970s
What will interest Funkateers, however, is the fact that Activision, in its quest to evoke the vibe of the 1970s, commisioned Arion Salazar of the band Third Eye Blind to create a funk soundtrack reminiscent of period cop shows. Arion Salazar may seem like a surprising choice of musician to create a funk soundtrack, but he and the band he assembled, known as Bullmark, created masterful arrangements that showcased brilliant, subtle playing, and enough funk cliches to warm the heart of anyone who lived through the 1970s or who for some reason feels a bond with Shaft.
Paramount to Bullmark's excellence is the production of each of their tunes. Without having to mash your ear against the speaker, each layer of each track is easily heard and enjoyed, and contributes to a whole that can only be described as "Funkadelic". In addition, every song is an aural masterpiece with its own very special vibe, running the gamut from laid-back, bass-heavy vamps to in-your-face, jam-the-accelerator-to-the-floor horn-fests. The Interstate 76 soundtrack is a complete world of funk, worthy of comparison to any classic funk music. I myself believe that Bullmark's songs even outdo the origins from which they were culled - but you don't have to take my word for it.
I suggest that as soon as possible, you rush out and buy either Interstate 76 or the self-titled Bullmark album. Funkateer or not, you'll be glad that you did. Whether you want to cool your heels and just chill, or put the pedal to the metal and cruise, Bullmark and their creations in funk are the perfect musical companions, and true funk salvation.