VENETIAN SNARES - Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding
Reviewed by Colin Buttimer (the milk factory)
Aaron Funk: a prolific artist with a gaggle of pseudonyms in tow including Venetian Snares, Ventriloquist Snakes and Snares Man!. Declaration of ignorance: Venetian Snares is a significant gap in this reviewer’s knowledge of electronica: if seeking a verdict on the comparative merits of this release relative to the rest of Venetian Snares’ oeuvre, please look elsewhere.
Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding is all fizzing, hyperspeed percussion moving over and under one-finger toystore melodies, stop/start rhythms, sudden switchbacks and shifting layers of musical/percussive activity. Every sound appears to contain a toxic quota of synthetic additives, frequently to the exclusion of anything else.
Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding inhabits an entirely synthetic world, one that’s made of numbered polymers rather than atoms. Despite the titles, this music isn’t allusive: it is self-contained, seemingly self-perpetuating like a series of virtual mechanisms, elegant sci-fi constructions, the musical envisioning of shifting nano-technological gears. There’s something mad-scientist/hare-brained baroque about it.
Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding is a hypertrophied soundgarden overgrown with dayglo plastic plants twitching towards miscellaneous light sources in photosynthetic spasm, their roots a writhing and constantly reconfiguring chaos. Its title is reminiscent of Duchamp’s Nude Descending A Staircase. The graphics recall Me Company’s work for Bjork’s Homogenic.
Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding sounds like a highly skilled exploration of conceptual and musical themes first mapped out by Autechre in their releases between Amber and Chiastic Slide, and more particularly the Peel EPs. Even the titles (Li2CO3, Bonivital, Chlorophyll) are written to the Autechre template so widely adopted throughout electronicaland. Venetian Snares’ latest is certainly enjoyable, but ultimately not exactly earth-shatteringly revelatory, at least to this listener. Once this is accepted (if it is), what becomes interesting is to question the function of exploring previously delineated spaces – the usefulness of genre pieces, so to speak. The pleasure is clearly not to do with innovation, the thrill/shock of the new, but rather the navigation and creation of shapes within predefined spaces. Once such parameters are understood, it should become possible to appreciate other facets of a piece of work. Whether this is worthwhile ultimately depends upon the listener’s preferences. It might be interesting to conduct a blindfold taste test. Which do you prefer: Coke or Pepsi?
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