Bootsy Collins
Straight Outta "P" University
(Private I/Mercury Records)

Bootsy Collins is known far and wide as "the funkiest man on the planet." having played bass with James Brown and co-piloting Parliament-Funkedelic before 'tooning-in to his inner, animated space case with Bootsy's Rubber Band. Collins hit a dry spell during the reign of corporate rock but has since proved his musical elasticity, recording everything from dance music with Deeelite to chaotic, ambient-noise-thrash-jazz alongside Bill Laswell, John Zorn and The Boredoms' Yamatsuka Eye as Praxis.

Bootsy Collins has "thrown on his jeans and Afrosheen" and cut a big, booty-shakin' party album. Equal parts rap and r&b, with a sprinkling of avant-rock touches (squelchy synth, mad scratching and a psycho loop of killer-bee horns), "P" University is heavy on the funk. Collins works his magic fingers on "Off da Hook" and "Funk Ain't Broke," offering everything from sharktooth-sharp slapping to quaky, low-fi fuzz. He can slink and slide all over creation, or he can play it minimal, with a handful of notes so smooth they melt in your ears like chocolate in the sun.

While "P" University is Collins' project -- he wrote or co-wrote both the music and lyrics, plays everything but the trombone and even gets behind the boards -- it's a heap of collaborations. Bootsy's playful catchphrases are mouthed by vocalists Brixx, Rodney O., Ono and D. Meka. Some are anthemic ("If the funk ain't broke, don't try to fix it/Give it to a DJ so he may mix it"), some are tongue-in-cheek ("I'd love to see your forest, but there's too many trees!"). Only a few tracks disappoint: "Pearl Drops" and "You're  So Fragile" are tangled up in cookie-cutter R&B balladry while "Shiggy Wiggy" comes rash-inducingly close to Big Willy's style.

University is a great party favor -- not too silly, but classy, sassy, and big-bad-assy, with plenty of funky references to the past ("Wind Me Up," etc). As Bootsy says, "Move over, Rover, let the Funk take over!"

(Skylaire Alfvegren)

The League of Western Fortean Intermediatists

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