GFE
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GFE

Asheville, North Carolina, United States

Asheville, North Carolina, United States
Band Hip Hop Funk

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This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Jun
09
GFE @ The Orange Peel

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Apr
25
GFE @ Sullivan Hall

New york City, New York, USA

New york City, New York, USA

Apr
24
GFE @ Pearl Street

Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

Northampton, Massachusetts, USA

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Music

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GFE: Broken Time Machine
By: Dennis Cook

Asheville, NC's GFE ("Granola Funk Express" or any of a number of lively variations including "Geniuses Formulating Equations" and "Grassroots Foundation Employment") reclaim hip-hop's fundamentals – massive smarts and irreverent humor, dizzying skill and seemingly reckless abandon, beats and basslines, mics and dope rhymes. As fine as they've been in the past, Broken Time Machine (Granola Funk) is an album one can stack next to A Tribe Called Quest's Midnight Marauders, Pete Rock & CL Smooth's Mecca and the Soul Brother, Third Bass' Derelicts of Dialect and Souls of Mischief's '93 till Infinity - each a bouncing, exuberant reminder of hip-hop's artistic potential that sacrifice nothing in terms of entertainment value. Broken Time Machine inspires one to work it like a cage dancer at Ike Turner's house, discovering hitherto unknown depths of booty hiding inside their root chakra, AND tickles the mind like Rakim channeling George Carlin, Carl Sagan, JFK and Joseph Campbell. Weed positive, brighter than most monkeys and decidedly musical, the no-bubblegum-ever GFE is, as they rightly observe here, "a little too LSD for MTV/ A true showstopper like the FCC/ Unleash the ammo on tracks with more bump than camels."

Launching with their traditional ohm and then a punishing crush groove and their right-in-the-kisser energy, GFE's latest reminds us out of the gate they were meant to make this music, hip-hop's real disciples who need no gimmicks, brainless refrains or anything else that diminishes the essential rawness of folks driven by "a beat and the air in their lungs." Their politics and highbrow social discourse are marbled in a far more subtle way this time. Even the most forthright diatribes like "The 4th Estate" and "Sleepwalkers" are grounded in a nasty kind o' robo-funk, the latter cut beginning with a droid voice saying, "Join the dark side, bitch." Increasingly, GFE find ways to put the party in their polemics, yet still never shy away from calling kettles their proper color, sometimes in the bluntest terms ("Sean Hannity is a douche bag, Tony Snow lies, Limbaugh is a druggie, Ann Coulter's a guy.") There's much of The Clash's bumptious truth telling to GFE and one dearly hopes they end up in a studio with Mick Jones one day. Now that'd be some big audio dynamite!

Powered by three marvelous, always-captivating MCs - Adam Strange, Foul Mouth Jerk and Agent 23 - and a smokin' hot band - Josh Blake (guitar, keys), Chad Hockenberry (drums, production), Dave Mack (bass, piano), Jenni Hockenberry (percussion, keys) and Marisa Albert (vocals) – there's multiple layers to their considerable hump attack, flashing intellectual rapiers stabbing at squirming synths, shuffling drums and guitars that crawl all over you. Despite being part of hip-hop's cul de sac, GFE actually share a lot in spirit, execution and talent with freak aggregates like Os Mutantes and Devo…with oodles of ass shake thrown into the strange mix. There's a social agenda inside but it never overtakes their musical instincts. Time Machine isn't hard to get at. It makes your head nod, hard, but never dumbs down anything, from the base rhythms to the skittering syllables floating on top.

"Black Market Red Carpet" bobs and weaves over sinewy, slippery guitars reminiscent of early Gilberto Gil while the boys pass the potato with neck loosening dexterity, one of those songs you'll find yourself hitting repeat on while you blast it loudly from your car, smiling at strangers while you head for the closest flea market to get your fingers dirty. "Regular Basis" is the nasty child of Digital Underground and early cassette Too Short, a dance floor grenade sure to inspire lewd gyrations. Counterpoint can be found in "New Gods," an ambitious, jam-ready exploration of faith and its daily impact, and adventurous closer "Clock Keeps Ticking." Their parody of the current state of hip-hop, "Rich Prick," announces, "Well, baby, I gotta tell you there's nothing quite like it. I'm a jiggy rapper now. I highly recommend it. I ride the bus, drinking a martini with my pinkie out. I'm not bullshitting you, I look like the Monopoly guy." It's full of butlers with their own butlers and boasts like "I don't travel/ I have cities delivered." Adding insult to injury, "Prick" is followed by "The Movement," a lean, boombox slammer driven by Foul Mouth Jerk's body blow prose and knockout delivery.

With slick sleight of hand, GFE unveils the inherent ridiculousness of what most people call "rap," and then slice off limbs with insightful acumen, in between their humorous hyperbole (though it's not THAT unreasonable to think of one of these corporate beat goons putting out a video game about them smoking weed). Their jabs arrive without bitterness, and like true jesters, GFE just bruises the meatheads that fully deserve every black n' blue.

GFE are unsentimental humanists, fighting the good fight for good things. Their refu - Jambase.com


North Carolina's hippie hip-hop ensemble Granola Funk Express got george Clinton to guest on "Everybody Get High" , From Bigger Than It Really Is. "Smokin that dope" Clinton raps, "I'll take one toke & choke". The next track "Asheville Smoke" is about GFE hometown homegrown. - High Times Magazine


The origins of hip hop are just as hard to pin down as it's vast influence today. MC's are popping up everywhere, many living completely different lifestyles from those projected by the Jay-Z's & DMX's who dominate the Billboard charts. Asheville North Carolina's Granola Funk Express & Philadelphia's clicks, Disciples of Discipline & Lmmental-crews so underground they make Common look like P Diddy. With four MC's two drummers, two guitarists, and a bass player, the Caucasian super group, GFE stays playing packed clubs nationwide. The band pulls a wide range of musical inluences from Public Enemy, Funkadelic, even a space jam vibe from the Grateful Dead. "we're not inner-city hip hop" front man [Adam Strange] explains "We use beats & we rap to represent our subculture".
Inspiration runs thick in Philly, a city that birthed the Roots, Beanie Seagle and Eve. The city's shady political past makes it fertile ground for socially conscious music. Disciples of Discipline and Lmmental channel their frustrations with the powers that be thorough hip hop. Like GFE, Disciples add to the momentum of what's changing in music today, using their craft as a catalyst for social change. "As artists I think you have a responsibility to portray a certain amount of what's happening in the population" asserts D.O.D.'s Jawnzap7. "In hip hop right now, that seems to be lacking".
Lmmental's live band play soulful jazz and funk grooves inspired by rhythm & blues behind lead Akil Baker and Khalil Byrd, who spit intellectually heavy lyrics on issues like Mumia-Abu Jamal and racial envy.
These crews have no problem living in the underbelly of the mainstream. They aren't stressing major deals, though nationwide distribution wouldn't hurt. Until they're looking at trumped out offers, they rely mostly on their websites & selling cd's out of their backpacks at the many benefit shows they play. They're no doubt a product of hip hop culture, but in a somewhat abstract niche. Their category is best described by D.O.D.'s crystalmetaphor, "We call it 'now-school', instead of old school or new school, we're just in the moment" -Leah Rose - XXL Magazine


"Sean Hannity's a douche bag!" Yeah we all know, but to play a new CD and hear those words makes one smile. The Asheville, North Carolina based hippie hoppers are back at it, pronouncing their love for marijuana and calling the irresponsible rulers governing our nation a bunch of assholes. Organic compounds including live instruments and rhymes, are layered with [sampled] beats and it all comes together like a vegan lasagna seasoned with plenty of herb. The album veers into a more commercial sound on a few tracks, but swerves back to the right side of the road when they call Ann Coulter a guy. -Levon Kinney - Valley Advocate, Northampton, MA


Discography

Beat Poem Manufacturing 1998
The Good Life 1999
Slactivism vinyl EP 2000
Raodscholar vinyl single 2000
Water/Sew Your Seed 7" single 2000
Slactivism(LP) 2001
Bigger Than It Really Is 2004
Broken Time Machine 2008

Photos

Bio

GFE is an eight piece hip hop funk ensemble featuring drums, bass, guitar, keys, percussion, 3 MC’s & one female vocalist. Their members hail from all over the country and their musical influences are as varied as their social & geographic background. Their sound consists of mainly bass driven funk grooves covered by intelligent, thought provoking lyrics, and has been referred to as “Big, thumpin’, politically charged dance music”.
Formed in 1997 the band has toured nearly every state in the union, performed & recorded with such musical heavyweights as George Clinton, Masta Ace, Eric Krasno of Soulive, Murs, hip hop pioneer Granmaster Caz and many more. They have been written about in such national publications as XXL, High Times, Spin, Relix & the Source. GFE has recorded five full length albums to date, several vinyl singles and one EP as well as a substantial collection of solo releases from individual band members. Most importantly in today’s musical landscape of sound-alike bands mimicking one another & whatever is popular, GFE has spent years crafting an original, signature sound that sets it light years apart from anything else out there.