There’s a Riot Goin’ On is emblematic of a comedown. A comedown from the high optimism of the 60’s. A comedown from the spiritual awakening. A comedown from the sexual revolution. A comedown from the creative union that had reached its zenith in Woodstock, 1969. No one personified that comedown like Sly Stone.
The record was recorded between 1970 and 1971 in the throws of a dependence on cocaine and PCP. The album was recorded and produced almost entirely by Sly Stone, often in the confines of his own bed.
It sounds like no other funk you've heard before. The sound, style and subject matter are so different to anything that came before. Is this, dare is say, post-funk? Excessive over-dubbing gives the album an ultra dense feel, warm like Sly’s bed. The words are often incomprehensible but that don’t matter anymore. Sly creates a feeling. It’s all about the feeling. The bass is thick, electric organs weep throughout and Sly uses a complex mix of drum machines and live drumming which add the albums erraticism.