What makes funk sound as funk? How is the interplay of musical events and the experience of being in funk? And why is the Western understanding of funk as it is? This study in the classic funk grooves of James Brown and Parliament from the 1970s, identifies funk as a combination of certain polyrhythmic patterns and a certain style of performance. The study shows how musical aspects of funk may be connected with the intensity and presence characterizing the experience of being in a funk groove.
The funk experience is also discussed in relation to the mind/body-split of Western culture, and funk is interpreted as a refuge from the dominating claim for control and self-presence. The common primitivistic understanding of funk as 'body-music' is re-interpreted in the light of contemporary hermeneutical reflection on the metaphysics of Western philosophy and its denial of domains and experiences that escape the thinking subject. This changes the focus of understanding from topics of body and desire to questions of temporality and presence, that is, to the possibility of being present, without distance, in a musical experience that happens now.