• Venetian Snares - Winter In The Belly Of A Snake

    Reviewed by Marc Freeman (sonumu.net)

    Venetian Snares - Winter In The Belly Of A Snake

    'Winter In The Belly Of A Snake' signals an important development in the accessibility of Venetian Snares material. Snares, aka Aaron Funk, has historically dished out the most brutal sonic assaults money can buy. His themes are wicked, his samples malicious, and his beats are akin to being repeatedly hit in the face with a mud-caked shovel. Funk's early full lengths, 'Shiver in Eternal Darkness' and 'Doll, Doll, Doll' are masterpieces of malevolent breakcore, and represent his darkest themes and structures. Subsequent material has signaled a shift away from overt maliciousness; still, the Snares sound reliably finds audience with a masochistic underground capable of stomaching hardcore electronic brutality.

    'Winter...' continues the trend away from explicit viciousness while dwelling within the sinister confines of disturbance. The full on aural assaults characteristic in Snares' material have been greatly diminished as Funk provides the fragile-eared with reduced ferocity, interludes of dark ambience, and musical elements to include vocals, strings, and actual song structures. The disk opens with the stunning and somber 'Dad,' an actual song featuring agitated rhythms and Funk's memory-laden lyrics about his departed father. 'Tattoo' also features Funk's vocals though thematically and sonically more malicious. A cover of Danzig's 'She' concludes Funk's ominous vocal portion of the release and includes only minimal strings and keys to back him up.

    The majority of 'Winter...' is comprised of recognizable Venetian Snares tune structures, unruly rhythms, and eerie keyboard undertones. The hardcore barrage of static-distorted aural poundings is substituted for more accessible electronics. Take 'Gottrahmen' a dark ambient combination of processed vocals, subtle distortions, and swelling keyboard sweeps, which morph into the raucous glitch-boom-ba's of 'Suffocate.' 'January' features thumping rhythms, music-box textures, and a few wonderfully bizarre samples of public radio guru Garrison Keillor. 'Fraujager' is an explicit relapse into brutality, but mellow keyboard ramblings follow as 'Warm Body' furnishes the listener with a serene interlude.

    Intentional or not, 'Winter...' is an effective step in the direction of accessibility for Venetian Snares. It is not a drastic departure into new territory; it is simply an evolution of the Snares sound. A bit less bloodcurdling, a bit more listenable, 'Winter in the Belly of a Snake' is another Venetian Snares triumph shrouded in unsettling shadows.

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