Sunday, November 10, 2013

Wha Da Funk?

(Image from Wkikimedia Commons)

For another musical piece to share on my blog, let me offer the latest thing I've created.  This is something I call "Wha Da Funk".

It started as another wikiloops jam -- the original drum and bass track was done on wikiloops by members "Baer" and "FunkT." It's an older track I found when I was looking for something to jam against.  The original backing track on wikiloops is HERE.

I loved the beat and that slappin' funk bass by FunkT, and thought this would be a blast to jam to. So I downloaded the track a while ago and started messing around with it.  But my original intent to just add a guitar track or two kind of expanded.

In the end, I came up with this -- take a listen:

(Note that if for some reason you cannot play the embedded SoundCloud mp3 above, you also can go directly to SoundCloud and find the track HERE, or listen to it on wikiloops HERE.)

So do you hear a lot of different guitar parts?  You should -- there are eleven distinct tracks of them:

  1. First rhythm guitar -- lots of chorus and heard in the first bit of the song.
  2. Second rhythm guitar -- doin' the wah-wah funk rhythm, transitions over from the first rhythm.
  3. Base melody guitar -- at the beginning, and returns for the other times the melody line is heard.
  4. Third rhythm guitar -- long chord strums deep in the mix, but also does melody an octave lower.
  5. "Metal" section first rhythm guitar -- mixed to the right channel.
  6. "Metal" section second rhythm guitar -- mixed left.
  7. Delay-heavy 3rd melody -- heard 2nd and 3rd time of melody, and before the metal section.
  8. High 4th melody -- highest octave part, distorted, at 2nd and 3rd time, also adds fills before metal section.
  9. "Metal" lead -- freak-out guitar soloing over the "metal" section.
  10. First lead -- doubles melody parts and also does the cleaner lead parts.
  11. Second lead -- also doubles melody. The reverb-heavy distorted guitar lead parts.

There is a lot of mixing and fading in and out going on in this piece. But I hope it's not all just a mass of sonic confusion -- there's never more than three or four guitars heard at the same time.

As you can probably tell by now if you've listened to any of my other musical pieces, I love to blend different parts and add a variety of tones to a song to make it interesting.  Adding a heavy freak-out guitar section to a funky track like this might not make sense to everyone, but it does to me. :)

Yet I also wanted to have a cohesive, unified feel to this piece, which is why I created that melody line that is returned to.  And the lead guitars come and go, but both return at the end. I think this helps tie everything together.  So the overall feel is hopefully one of exploration and unexpected twists, but also with a sense of resolution and completeness.

So what do you think?

As with probably everything I'll ever do, I hear parts that I could perhaps "make better" (see my previous IWSG post), but as a whole, I think this tune worked out pretty well.  It was certainly a lot of fun to put together.

I hope you like it, but if nothing else, I hope the power of da funk comes through enough to get your toe a'tappin'...


  1. "So the overall feel is hopefully one of exploration and unexpected twists, but also with a sense of resolution and completeness" ... AGREED. I wandered over here taking another one of my extended NaNo breaks and found myself not just foot tappin', but dancin' in my chair. Way cool, Chris!

  2. This is what happens when musicians get carried away! Nicely done though. It doesn't feel like too much. Definitely like the metal section of the song. What guitars were you playing for each part?

  3. @R.T.: Thank you! Your comment really made me smile. :) I'm very glad you like it.

    @Alex: Thanks! I really appreciate it! And I figured that would be your favorite part of the song, lol. ;) And as for "what guitars" -- it's only one: My Mexi Strat. I just made liberal use of my Zoom GX3 amp-modeller / multi-effects box / Digital DAW USB interface.

  4. Dig it SO MUCH! Love the groove, love most of the soloing you did over it, though I can't say I felt the "metal freak out" fit very well in the overall scheme of things (in my opinion). But I do like the warmth in the sound of the melodic lines. Bravo, dude. :-)

  5. Yeah! I like it. The title fits it well. I could see this making a great backdrop for a Tarantino movie.

  6. I enjoyed it very much. Definitely a toe tapper!!!!

  7. Would make a nice new workout groove for me :)

  8. Yes! Definitely a toe-tapper. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and especially liked the "freak-out" solo part. (Surprised? What can I say? I LOVED Hendrix.)

  9. Good morning, Chris! You're the winner of the first drawing for the 2013 Realms Faire Drench-a-Wench event. You've won a digital copy of the 13th Floor Complete Collection and an ebook of your choice by M. Pax. Please contact me at to collect your prizes. Thank you for participating! Mina really loved it. :)

  10. @Mina: Thanks! I really appreciate your thoughts. And yeah -- I can definitely see why that section might not work for everyone, lol. Like almost everything I do -- it was kind of an experiment. ;) But I will tell you that the transition out of it, back into the regular funk groove is probably my favorite part. I like how it emerges from chaos back into order, and I think the re-intro of the two lead guitars worked out pretty well.

    Oh, and I hope you enjoyed your drench-a-wench from Christine's blog yesterday!

    @Nicki: Thank you! I'll have to ask Quent about that the next time I have lunch with him... (OK that's never happened yet, but if it ever does, I'll be sure and hawk my tunes for him to use in his soundtrack. For a reasonable fee, of course. A guy's gotta eat...)

    @Robin: I'm glad you enjoyed it and that the rhythm got ya.;)

    @M Pax: Thank you! Feel free to download it and sweat to it as often as you'd like -- I'd be honored. :) You can download the mp3 from SoundCloud (or wikiloops -- but you have to create an account there, first, I think).

    @Susan: Thank you very much! Actually, I'm not that surprised -- I knew you had that edge to you. :) And Hendrix's "Machine Gun" from the Band of Gypsies at the Filmore (New Year's Eve 1969/1970) is still probably one of my all-time favorite guitar pieces. Love the range of guitar playing in it -- from raging, screaming, rip-your-head-off to mournful, soulful, achingly-beautiful.

    @Christine: Thank you! I will e-mail you as soon as I update this comment. I'm happy to win. But, um... Does the fact that you didn't mention it mean you didn't like my song?!?! Just kidding. ;^)

  11. Layers. I love layers and interweaving tracks. A couple of my pieces have had as many as 35 tracks, but that's with a full orchestra playing. You know what really gets me? Counter harmonies, playing at the same time. Mmm.

  12. @Crystal: Thanks for the comment! I love layers also. But I've never done anything remotely close to orchestral arrangement -- that's very cool! It would be pretty ambitious -- think I could turn this "Wha Da Funk" into "Wha Da Fugue?"

  13. I think it rocks. I'd seen it on Soundcloud already, but just saw the description here today. Anyone who doesn't think that distorted lead break belongs in that particular piece needs to have a refresher on some Ted Nugent or Pink Floyd or such.
    At this point in my life I'm 65/35 bassist/guitarist (when it comes to stringed instruments anyway). When my band recorded our CD, our guitarist would, at some points, have up to 4 or 5 guitar tracks overlapping, sometimes just for feedback or a single note or riff.

  14. @David: Thank you very much! I appreciate that. And layers of textured tracks can really add a lot, and is a lot of fun to put together. But I also always appreciate that single, as-close-to-"live"-as-possible, guitar track too.


Don't be shy -- feel free to comment. I really appreciate your thoughts.