|Cultural origins||1960s, United Kingdom and United States|
|Derivative forms||House, drum and bass|
Avant-funk is a music style in which artists combine funk rhythms with an avant-garde or art rock mentality. Its heyday occurred in the late 1970s among post-punk acts who embraced black dance styles.
Critic Simon Reynolds described avant-funk as "difficult dance music" and a kind of psychedelia in which "oblivion was to be attained not through rising above the body, rather through immersion in the physical, self loss through animalism." Simon Frith described avant-funk as an application of progressive rock mentality to rhythm rather than melody and harmony. Some motifs of the style in the 1970s and 1980s included "Eurodisco rhythms; synthesizers used to generate not pristine, hygienic textures, but poisonous, noisome filth; Burroughs’ cut-up technique applied to found voices."
According to Reynolds, a pioneering wave of avant-funk artists came in the late 1970s, when post-punk artists (including Public Image Ltd, Liquid Liquid, and James Chance, as well as Cabaret Voltaire, Talking Heads, The Pop Group, D.A.F., A Certain Ratio, and 23 Skidoo) embraced black dance music styles such as funk and disco. Reynolds noted these artists' preoccupations with issues such as alienation, repression and the technocracy of Western modernity. The artists of the late 1970s New York no wave scene also explored avant-funk, influenced by figures such as Ornette Coleman.
Later groups such as Skinny Puppy, Chakk, 400 Blows represented later waves of the style. By the mid 1980s, it had dissipated, with many of its practitioners becoming a part of the UK's first wave of house music. Avant-funk would go on to influence '90s drum and bass producers such as 4hero and A Guy Called Gerald.
List of artists
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