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LAYERS: Examining The Funk Levels Of B. Bravo & Teeko's "The Roll Out"

After decades of a subdued existence on the fringes of mainstream society, the truest, drippiest, most decadent days of funk seem to have returned. But this time around, the flamboyance is less in George Clinton’s unpredictable hair or Prince’s shimmering, ass-less pants and more in staying true to the sounds those men worked with. Authenticity is the name of the game, and for a couple of guys with the right gear and the right ear, it shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to create some real funk.

Part of San Francisco’s Frite Nite crew, B. Bravo & Teeko teamed up a couple of years back and their levels of funk have reached a fever pitch. On their new release, Starship Connection, apparently named for a live funk band headed by the two, B. Bravo & Teeko lay the synths on thick, featuring fellow artists with an obsession for new jack swing, like Tokyo Dawn’s Amalia.

The basic structure is carved from an old Brazilian funk sample the guys were kind enough to include in this LAYERS piece. Hearing it, you can tell that it just begs to be diced up and laid over 16 pads. Let’s kick off this edition of LAYERS with that little piece.

Brazil Tape Sample

We were driving around bumping a 70s Brazilian funk tape that Teeko got from Billy Bones (Mugpush), when this drum break came in. Our ears lit up and we looked at each other like “Ugh! Let’s take this to the MPC immediately.” We made a U-turn to the studio, loaded/chopped up the drums in the 2000 and turned it into the drum beat for “Roll Out.”

Roll Out Drums

This is the pattern out of the MPC. There’s no kick drum on the one beat, so we added a fill alternating 808 and 909 drum machine toms. For the second half of the song, we added booming 808 kicks to the regular kicks to get the booties bouncin’.

Roll Out JUNO 60 chords

We got a nice tone going on the Roland JUNO 60 and after playing around with some different chord ideas, we found the one and layed down a one-take.

Roll Out Moog Rogue Bass

The Bass tone came from the Moog Rogue. It outlines the left hand line already in the chords. Two oscillators with saw waves. Low resonance and high cutoff opening up the tone to really cut.

JUNO 60 Arpeggio

We went to the JUNO 60 again for the arpeggio to add some nice color and movement.

Synth Leads

We each hopped on a synth and started jamming on the track. The A melody came from the JUNO 60 and the B melodies were from the ARP Odyssey. All of the lines were live one-takes that just seemed to flow.

Vocoder

We recruited Max Kane to rock his vintage Roland Vocoder. We recorded the “Roll Out” vocal at his spot and came back to our studio to continue writing and adding the other parts with the MicroKorg Vocoder. There’s something that’s nice about the 808’s with the vocoder. Once the lyrics were written and the parts were laid in, the song really started taking shape.

Put them all together and here’s what you get: “The Roll Out” by B. Bravo & Teeko."

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