by Irene Lo
Some hold future funk is too different from vaporwave to still be considered a subcategory of the genre anymore.
Cutting ties might be the best thing for future funk, in any case, as the bigger the difference, the better the chance the genre has to become one of the sounds to catch on in a big way in 2015. Like its similar-minded brethren, nudisco and chiptune have all had their day of hype and glory, onscreen and in real life, reaching the radars of and influencing the tracks of EDM star Porter Robinson to pop player Charli XCX. Why wouldn’t future funk pick up steam in the coming year, when one of its very own, Saint Pepsi, has become, with Gin City and the delightful single, “Fiona Coyne,” one of this year’s breakout stars? A good bet would be to look towards more of these artists attracting the attention of trusted blogs and reputable labels. The sound of kawaii disco will be making waves.
Future funk, like vaporwave, uses samples to create songs, but future funk, often compared to French house, is different in how much more accessible and less abstract its lush uptempo is to the ear — it’s an affirmative re-imagining of disco where the arcade and roller rink collide together in jazzy homage. And like vaporwave, future funk has a strong visual component to the music where cover art frequently gives a nod to Sailor Moon and Windows 95 Paint, and where Japanese is the language supreme of song names.
With the Stratford Ct. release of Anibae by Portland’s Yung Bae (Dallas Cotton) back in September, the producer has seen a rise in profile. His love of disco is shown through an on point selection of samples where romance and boogie coexist in Anibae. Signed on to Alt/Cntrl, and set to play at a couple of local places in his hometown, next year will be interesting to keep an eye on the producer whose tracks rarely disappoint. Supersex420 and Macross 82-99 also put out compelling albums this year like the respective Self-Titled and A Million Miles Away. Meanwhile Spazzkid (Mark Redito) frequently dabbles in this genre to beautiful effect; Desire off Keats//Collective is one of the sweetest records to put disco and chillwave in the same room, and his latest collaboration with Neon Bunny for Cascine, “Daytime Disco” is good reason why future funk is a promising genre to check up on.
Because future funk artists rarely sound alike, each emphasizing different qualities or moods, it’s an experimental genre with a wide range of complementary sounds to play with from electro to glo-fi. Future funk, born and split from vaporwave, has proven its adaptability to change is something to admire. Here’s to more of that in 2015.