Evolution of French & Funky House

History

 

First popularized by Daft Punk in the early 90s, French house and funky house are about keeping classic funk and disco at the forefront of dance music. Many genres of house music incorporate funk and disco, but none have created a blend of classic and innovative sounds as refreshing as French and funky house. French label Roulé, started by Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk, was one of the many early labels that made the effort to distinguish French house from the other styles throughout the 90s. Funky house has a similar background outside of France, with labels like Ministry of Sound focusing on the genre since the mid-80s.

 

Influences

 

French and funky house are heavily influenced by funk and disco and particularly, in the case of French house, euro disco. While the lines are blurred between French and funky house, the latter tends to take more inspiration from p-funk than from the clean disco aesthetic found in French house.

 

Sound

 

Unlike other funk- and disco-inspired genres of house, French and funky house don’t just sound like refurbished versions of their predecessors. Obvious nods to funk and disco are offset by modern production aesthetics, notably the use of drawn-out filters in buildups or breakdowns.

 

 

Daft Punk - "Around The World"

Paris, 1997

 

Daft Punk release debut album Homework including singles "Around the World" and "Da Funk".

 

 

Stardust - "Music Sounds Better With You"

Paris, 1998

 

Stardust's "Music Sounds Better with You" was recorded in Paris at Daft House. It was their only release.

 

 

Alan Braxe & Fred Falke - "Intro"

Paris, 2000

 

Fred Falke began his musical career as a bass player, which is evident here on "Intro" that features a prominent and very funky bass line.

 

 

Justice - "D.A.N.C.E."

Paris, 2007

 

Justice's "D.A.N.C.E." won a Grammy for best music video in 2008.

 

 

FKJ - "Lying Together"

Paris, 2012

 

On "Lyin Together" FKJ (aka French Kiwi Juice) nails the funky laid back vibe that made French house so popular.

 

 

Daft Punk - "Get Lucky"

Paris, 2013

 

This is a supreme feel-good track that features Pharell (as well as the Daft Punk's trademark robo-voice) singing low-key anthemic lyrics like "We’re up all night to get lucky".

 

 

FKJ Live - "Improvisation"

Paris, 2014

 

FKJ displays his incredible musical abilities on this track composed entirely on the fly.

 

 

Fabian Luttenberger - "Vague"

Graz, 2015

 

Fabian Luttenberger combines the filter effect, a trademark sound of French house, with the saxophone to create a song that is dripping with 80s nostalgia.

 

 

Justice - "Safe And Sound"

Paris, 2016

 

Their first single in five years after the release of Cross (the album featuring "D.A.N.C.E."), Justice drops this funky disco-inspired tune.

 

 

Franc Moody - "Yuri"

London, 2016

 

Duo Franc Moody add the guitar stylings of early Pink Floyd into French House on this highly danceable track.

 

 

CAPYAC - "All Your Life"

Austin, 2016

 

The influence of French House on American DJs CAPYAC is obvious with the use of the filter effect, jangly guitar, and smooth but spacey synth.

 

 

Cassius & Pharell Williams - "Go Up"

Paris, 2017

 

Phillipe Zdar (one half of Cassius) died from an accidental fall in 2019, but songs like "Go up" with Pharell and Cat Power remain a testament to his immense talent.

 

 

Malaa - "Paris 96'"

Paris, 2017

 

While Malaa is mostly known for releasing ghetto house music, "Paris 96’" sits comfortably inside the funky house family with a great sample of "I Love You More" by Rene & Angela.

 

 

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Evolution of House Music

Check out our 31-part series, starting with an overview of house music's 40-year history.

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