Humanize – William Gagnon (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Raw-edged, metal-infused guitars quickly turn into slick soul licks, funky bass lines take over the lions share of the groove-work, falsetto verses become gang vocal sing-alongs and the whole thing takes on a Prince-like vibe perhaps taking Bootsy himself along for the ride. And that’s a cool sound to be able to conjure up but that’s what’s happening on Humanize…all within the first minute or so. It’s an incendiary and genre-hopping take on funk but then that is the world that we find ourselves in, genres are things of the past and the idea that rules are made to be broken has never been more true.

Rock, hip-hop, funk, rap, soul and plenty of pop accessibility is woven into the sound of future funk but at the centre of the song beats a heart which the Funkateers of old would easily recognise too. But then the genre has always been about looking forward, mixing glam vibes with alien encounters, social awareness and calls for unity with sonic exploration and outrageous moves. So, perhaps the idea of so many unexpected musical threads being woven in to the design and so many gene-splicing sonic experiments being carried out along the way is perhaps not as unexpected as you might think.

You might think that funk is perhaps a style consigned to a very specific past, a definite time and place. Humanize is evidence of it embarking on a bright new adventure. The Funk is dead. Long live The Funk!

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