Alphabetical Order: Q
Q – The Voice of Q, Philly World Records 1982
Yes, pedants, it’s cheating. This should strictly speaking be filed under T. But Q’s ‘The Voice of Q’, is the finest Q related vocoder funk track you’ll ever hear. It’s the national anthem of Q, goddamit! Anyway, now I’ve got that awkward justification out of the way let’s talk about the music.
Voice of Q came out in 1982 on the small Philly World imprint, a label that went on to put out some choice boogie and disco classics including such gems as Cashmere’s Do it Any Way You Wanna and Terri Wells I’m Giving All My Love. Q was the pseudonym for producers/writers Bruce Weeden and Michael Forte who worked at Alpha International studios in Philadelphia – a production hothouse that acted as a production line for some of the finest boogie brought into being.
The bassline on The Voice of Q is ridiculously funky, a bouncing, popping and locking joy of slap and tickle. Crisp drums, a spooky synth line, a relatively well- sung male vocal and a tinkling arp prepare the ground for the voice of Q itself, a sinister disembodied vocoded alien that swoops over the track intoning:
‘This is the Voice of Q/Whatcha gotta do/Open your mind and listen/Prepare to receive transmission’.
Wooshes of spacy white noise snake in and out at the breakdown, and at the end we are treated to a child’s voice imploring Q, the lovable alien funkateer version of ET, to come back as he jets off in his spaceship shaped like a Prophet 5 synthesizer. The instrumental version takes the track even further out into hyperspace and stretches the arrangement out to over seven minutes.
The Voice of Q is space funk at it’s finest, it sits high in a canon of offbeat early eighties classics that still get rinsed today – partly because the production and songwriting was so tight and influential but also because people’s imaginations have contracted to such a degree that they just don’t make em like this anymore.
Perhaps Q will return some day soon and put an end to all this hyper-compressed, formless and soul-less digital shite that masquerades as music nowadays. We can but hope.
By Joe Evans