I had a dream you were still alive.

  • Venetian Snares - Winter In The Belly Of A Snake

    Reviewed by Tim Jonze (Careless Talk Costs Lives)

    <b> Venetian Snares </b> - Winter In The Belly Of A Snake

    So reveals Aaron Funk (Winnipeg, Canada's king of the breakcore) at the beginning of "Dad", before describing how his father whistled to his favourite parts of records, the brown and black (brown plaid?) shirt he always wore, the secret signals they would make together and the goodnight kisses.
    "Winter In The Belly Of A Snake" doesn't just feel like there's a ghost watching over it. It feels like there's one breathing inside it. It's there gliding through the bleeps and strings that refuse to die out, even when they're being punished by stop-start drum fits of scatter-gun AGONY. It's there while you float through the womb on a Boards Of Canada LP ("Warm Body"). And it's there while you freak out toAlec Empire burning in a vat of Aphex acid ("January").
    The third album in a year by Venetian Snares, this is Funk pushing ahead to undiscovered places. What this is not is the tale of just another guy and his broken laptop. This is darkness, in the true isolated sense of darkness. These are emotions stood face to face with emotional vacuums, doing battle over sheet-metal terrain. We're talking a depth of feeling that stretches beyond jerking off over major dental suregery (although this record will still make you want to do that and puke up your own teeth just for kicks. just don't even think about fucking to it unless you've got serious cash for therapists).
    "Winter..." obsesses over loss and mortality, resulting in a sound that is often chaotically revolting. It tries to knit patterns with your stomach lining and succeeds. Like on "Tattoo" which forces Funk to shred out the words, "I take your tattoo and sew it on my face" before launching into the sound of someone bombing the Pentagon. The nearest thing to it is ecstasy psychosis - that point when your senses completely lock up between sleep and consciousness and a rush of nuclear white noise blows through you.
    Harrowing, then, but it's also a record that never tires of it's own playfulness. It's not exactly Capitol K, but there are naive moments of childlike terrorism to be found among the rubble of collapsing pianos and circuit-board jazz-spasms. Elsewhere, there's a lonely cover of The Misfit's "She" (performed in the style of Nick Cave dying) hopefully included to piss off the tech-head purists. And some sick fuck should use "Stairs Song" to soundtrack a Darren Aronofsky film, if only to leave the audience with their minds ripped out.
    There are infinite reserves of wonder contained within this digital maze of an album but if you want to know about the highlights, then try "Sink Snow Angel", which loops a string part throughout while the electronics gather and swirl, gaining momentum and structure like a forming tornado. It's a noise that refuses to lower itself to normal descriptive prose. If only it was that easy to paint a sketch of this record with a lazy stimulant metaphor, then perhaps I would, but there are no drugs invented that could sound like this. If there were then we'd all be whacked out on them for the rest of our lives, wondering why we were ever into music in the first place.

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