On a weekend in August of 2015, I discovered Maggot Brain. I may have been 44 years late, but I’m just now realizing the depth and power that Funkadelic were capable of.
I’ve been on a funk kick, spurred on by the incredible new Dam-Funk album, and stumbled up on the evocative cover of Maggot Brain, with a woman’s head planted in the dirt, face frozen mid-scream.
It’s deeply unnerving, an iconic image that immediately sears into the memory. It fits the music completely.
It’s early Sunday morning and I don’t have much to say beyond this: the title track is built around a 10 minute guitar solo that will melt a grown man’s heart and face at once. It’s dark, searching, screaming, an emotional powerhouse. The rest of the tracks cover a landscape of hard funk rock, progressive and jazzy in its ambition and structure. Even if you’re familiar with George Clinton’s unending parade of projects, from Parliament to the P-Funk All Stars, this one will feel like shot to the gut.
There’s not much that I love more than the feeling of discovering a pure, unadulterated masterpiece that was previously in my blind spot. It’s one of those Ark of the Covenant moments, a blast of white hot energy closing my eyes and bracing my body. I’m shaken, I’m changed.