VENETIAN SNARES - Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding
Reviewed by Charlie Frame (stylus magazine)
aving released just under a squillion albums in 2004 alone, Venetian Snares’ Aaron Funk not so much returns as bursts in through the back door, helps himself to whatever’s in the fridge, jams your toilet up with bog roll and ends up dogging your bird while you look on in disbelief.
It is this kind of arrogance that makes him so obnoxiously compelling, well, to begin with at least. The last album, Chocolate Wheelchair, saw Funk effortlessly firing off Coronation Street samples and ragga jungle pastiches whilst all the while maintaining that vicious chemical sneer not seen since Aphex Twin’s glory days. Specialising in messed-up hardcore vitriolics, Venetian Snares is electronica for only the toughest of bedroom nutcases. Everyone else can bugger off back to their Royksopp CDs.
And indeed Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding, whilst being a little more focussed than previous outings, still isn’t scared to put its foot to the mentalist pedal and dive headlong into the dashboard. Ditching the horror movie gabba-schlock of previous efforts for a more complex sound, this release is more reminiscent of acts like Autechre and Richard Devine than any of Funk’s drill-n-bass peers.
Tracks such as “Cadmium Lung Jacket” conjure up images of impossible asteroids crashing and smashing their ways over molten Martian soundscapes, while a broken Speak’n’Spell attempts communication with the burbling lifeforms below. Enormous metallic creatures grind past each other, fighting for space—all controlled by a laughing Funk.
But despite the more refined sound, Huge Chrome… is still as uncompromising as one would expect from the Snares. Many, however, may be tempted to replace “uncompromising” with “difficult”.
It’s very easy to be impressed. Venetian Snares has proven himself to be the king of sonic manipulation. The ever-warping robot voice on “Ion Divvy” is testament to the power he has over his equipment, moulding and stretching the samples like putty into a hundred different shapes. Said samples are then fired through the speakers, stuttering, jittering, and gurgling out at tremendous speeds. This sonic mastery, coupled with the fact that his output is almost as frequent as his BPMs, indicates a clear pretender to Aphex’s IDM throne.
But impressive as it may be, Venetian Snares’ music does grate over extended periods. Too fast and abrasive to sit and chill with, yet too meandering and lacking in groove to dance to, even the most die-hard listeners will find a whole sitting of Huge Chrome… pretty daunting. Instead, it’s best enjoyed one bit at a time or else the initial rush is lost. This is the way to witness Venetian Snares at his most devilish.
And now I must leave to enjoy my lunch of three-month old peperami, then to unblock the toilet and lastly a round of sloppy seconds with my now ex-girlfriend. That Aaron Funk, what a bastard, eh?
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