Reviewed by Paul Lloyd (universalsource.co.uk)
Prolific noise liberation activist Aaron Funk (aka Venetian Snares) returns with another new album - Higgins Ultra Low Track Glue Funk Hits 1972-2006 - for Planet Mu. Not only that, he also has his next 2 albums already lined up to release on Planet Mu later this year, and that is besides any releases he may have planned for other labels. Consistently releasing singles, remixes and albums on a variety of labels worldwide, Higgins Ultra Low… is his second full album for the label.
Generally lighter than Songs About My Cats, Higgins Ultra Low… is a collection of increasingly abstract and frantic junglist noise tracks with its fair share of well-selected vocals and samples. Starting out with the fairly relaxed "Dance Like Your Selling Nails", a mad disjointed junglistic tune featuring the operatic tones of Jo Apps singing the memorable phrases such as "junglist massive" and "keep jumping you bastards". Not as hard and adopting a retro 70's funk vibe is "Banana Seat Girl" while "Fuck Off" is an abstract yet oddly coherent collection of tones and scrapes. In a return to more familiar territory, "Make Ronnie Rocket" undertakes a full on beat assault with "Vokeheads" continuing the onslaught with renewed ferocity. "Deadman DJ" and "Cobra Commder" add a heavy dose of experimentation, dispensing with the rhythmic jungle beats and adding increased levels of abstraction and disjointed noise mayhem. "Walmer Side" maintains the theme but adds an eerie cinematic backdrop below the whirs, blips and beats to offer a more atmospheric edge. In keeping with Songs About My Cats, Funk throws a track into Higgins Ultra Low… that is a complete departure in style from the rest of the album. "Dismantling Five Years" is a gently tonal ambient tune utilising orchestral interludes while the album closer, "We Are Oceans", starts out as a gentle orchestral piece featuring unnerving female vocals but soon adds jungle beats to the mix.
Again Funk shows more facets to his talent by presenting a range of varying musical styles fused to form a unique and skilfully concocted original sound. On the face of it, Funk's work appears to be mad drum 'n' bass but it is actually much deeper and more complex than it would first appear. Higgins Ultra Low… represents a shift in style to a more playful and slightly more accessible style from Funk. An excellent follow-up to Songs About My Cats for Planet Mu and an album that should further establish Funk as an artist to keep a close eye on.
- Eskmo - Let Them Sing
- Ikonika - Smuck
- Geiom & Shortstuff - No Hand Signals
- Starkey - OK Luv
- Raffertie - 7th Dimension
- Ceephax Acid Crew - United Acid Emirates
- Kuedo - Dream Sequence E.P.
- Starkey - Ephemeral Exhibits
- Neil Landstrumm - Lord For £39
- Distance - Repercussions
- Last Step - 1961
- Mrs Jynx - The Standoffish Cat
- Venetian Snares - My Downfall (Original Soundtrack)
- Meat Beat Manifesto - Autoimmune
- iTAL tEK - Cyclical
- Mary Anne Hobbs - Evangeline
- Venetian Snares - Miss Balaton
- Various Production & Virus Syndicate - Apollo/Neva Argue
- Sunken Foal - Fermented Condiments
- Sunken Foal - Fallen Arches
- Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist
- The Gasman - Superlife
- Eero Johannes - Eero Johannes
- Virus Syndicate - Sick Pay