Lotti Golden & Richard Scher

Two records were released in 1982 which, for different reasons, helped define a new genre; ‘Electrophonic Funk’ by Shock and ‘Nunk’ by Warp 9. For some time, funk artists had been embracing the new electronic equipment that was coming out, not least Herbie Hancock, and it was inevitable that their experimentations would spawn a new style of funk, driven by synthesizers.

The next generation of artists continued to break new ground, but with the dancefloor firmly in mind, and tracks like Extra T’s ‘ET Boogie’ and Elektrik Funk’s ‘On A Journey (I Sing The Funk Elektric)’ were landmarks. This new music became known as electric boogie, or electro; but whilst ‘Electrophonic Funk’, released on Fantasy, may have helped name this new genre, the track itself wasn’t particularly interesting in musical terms and had a very safe sound, relying on saxophones and guitars for it’s energy. The track that really made an impact, along with ‘Planet Rock’ and ‘Hip Hop, Be Bop (Don’t Stop)’, was ‘Nunk’.

The title was an abbreviation of “new wave funk”, but whilst “nunk” may have lost out to the more exciting-sounding term “electro”, the Warp 9 track itself became one of the blueprints for the electro that would follow over the next couple of years.

Warp 9 was initially a one-off project created by the writer/producer duo of jazz vocalist Lotti Golden and keyboardist/bassist/programmer Richard Scher for the label, Prism. With mixes by John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez, ‘Nunk’ became such a huge hit on radio and in the clubs that Golden & Scher decided to make the group more permanent and hired Boe Brown, Ada Dyer and Chuck Wansley to make Warp 9 an act that could both perform in studio and tour around the country. The epic ‘Light Years Away’ followed in 1983, again with Jellybean mixes, and this track was equally important for the emerging freestyle sound with its emphasis on latin percussion.

Jellybean continued to work with Warp 9 and gets production credit on their debut album, but he would eventually move on to other projects. Although Warp 9 was Golden & Scher’s main outlet, they also worked with Arthur Baker, but the track posted below is one that they produced on their own under the name Chilltown – ‘Rock The Beat’. Both the vocal and dub mixes are good; the accursed saxophone rears its head again but the last minute of the dub rocks hard.

If nothing else, it’s nice to see that within the male-dominated world of the 80s electro producer, there was a woman involved in it too.

Posted by Manny Z

Related Entries:
John ‘Jellybean’ Benitez
‘Play At Your Own Risk’
‘ET Boogie’


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