• Venetian Snares - The Chocolate Wheelchair Album

    Reviewed by Ben Sansum (RobotFist)

    <b> Venetian Snares </b> - The Chocolate Wheelchair Album

    'HORRIBLE', 'unnecessary', 'completely pointless' and 'a nasty noise'.

    That's the considered verdict of my girlfriend, who thought every time-stretched snare and stuttering sample on this record was further proof that I am just wrong in the head.

    Maybe she's right.

    Maybe the fact that I can listen to and enjoy such disconcerting, discordant, noisecore music means I'm not fit to walk the streets.

    If that is the case, however, what about Mr 'Aaron Funk' who is Venetian Snares? Is it right to produce a song called Abomination Street (with its tiny snatch of the opening trumpet from the Coronation Street theme so mangled and garbled that it sounds as if the instrument has been inserted into a cat and played from within its bowels)? Should its creator be allowed to have contact with anyone, let alone impressionable youngsters? There's no sticker on this saying 'Parental Advisory - this record contains completely fucked up brain-mashing shit'. Should I call Social Services now? Make them put him on their 'not fit' list? Or maybe just go straight to the police, for the good of us all.

    That's too harsh. There are some… I struggle to call them songs, lets say… pieces. There are some pieces here that are actually quite nice, little loops and basslines and tingly-plinky samples meshing together. Then the percussion starts and it all changes. Offbeat, hardcore drum and bass styles taken to their extremes, stretched to breaking point, filtered to fuck, at times oppressive. Very occasionally the mood changes and suddenly it come over all delicate, with an almost feathery touch. But the delicacy never lasts for long.

    There's always something truly, truly horrible lurking around the corner, waiting to scare the shits out of you, waiting to grind your brains down your nose and out of your ears. And for me, a boy raised worshipping at the feet of the four/four gods, the lack of a reliable beat kills me. I want to dance to it, I really do. I try nodding my head, skanking in a ragga style, foot tapping and finger waggling. Anything. But it's just impossible. 6/3 time? 7 beats per bar, thirteen bars before it changes again? I just don't know. It's unsettling. I reckon that's the point.

    Despite/ because* (delete depending on prevailing mood) of all of that I love it. Maybe it's the footloose, fancy-free just-don't-give-a-fuck-ness of it all. Maybe it's the ridiculous samples in the final track Herbie goes Ballistic, in which human squeals and screeching tyres compete to split your eardrums. Maybe it's the joy of playing it to friends who pride themselves on liking extreme music, and watching them splutter tea down their fronts. Whatever it is, I like it a lot.

    Not one I'll play when my Nan pops round for tea though. She loves Corrie, so I think she'd be upset.

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