Liquid Funk is a subgenre of music, deriving from drum and bass, taking stylistic influences from Acid Jazz, Funk and trance music among others that originated in the early 2000’s. It is akin to many other styles of music in a lot of ways, however, regarding samples, it uses fewer bars of repeated material, and it also uses many more layers than most songs. Many melodies and harmonies are built on top of each other, providing Liquid Funk with a much richer texture than most genres of music, and thereby making it incredibly interesting to listen to, as it is so difficult to immediately discern all the layers of the music.
Another distinguishing feature of Liquid Funk is the synthetic nature of it; it virtually does not possess a band, but rather people to operate machines. Drum machines, synthesizers, turntables, sequencers and samplers are the most frequently used ‘instruments’ to create Liquid Funk. As such, the genre has received criticism due to it being almost entirely electronic and composed synthetically rather than on what we view as ‘proper’ instruments such as guitars and pianos for example. Some therefore think the genre does not require much if any skill, and as such deem it a low form of music. I think this judgement is harsh; yes it is an oddly man-made genre, however, I would argue that clearly there is a lot of skill required, such as that required to devise multiple complimentary harmonies and melodies within each piece. Equally, I think that the nature of the music also makes it more accessible to a wider range of people. More people are able to create this music; today they only need a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that can perform the functions of sequencers, drum machines and synthesizers etc, and they can easily write their own pieces.
Fluid synthesizer sounds and deep basslines are notable features, along with a punchy beat, typically a repeated pattern or set of patterns programmed on a drum machine. Some Liquid Funk harks back to the jazz and soul genre more, featuring small horn lines, giving pieces a fresh and vibrant sound and an interesting dynamic when the organic brass sounds are coupled with the contrastingly synthetic sounds of machines.
Liquid Funk is still around today, but is mostly found in clubs, rather than in the mainstream. However, even there, it is still only in limited use, as the preference for dance music still subsists of heaving drum and bass beats, with little care for melody, which so strongly perforates through the Liquid Funk genre. As such, I can only hope that Liquid Funk will achieve more popularity and acclaim, as despite critics, it is a very hard genre to master, due to the complexities of the compositions.