• Venetian Snares - Meathole

    Reviewed by Keith Moline (The Wire, Nov. 05) (The Wire)

    <b> Venetian Snares </b> - Meathole

    Some seek in music what Arthur Rimbaud sought in poetry - a "derangement of the senses", a window on transcendence, a landscape wherein rational thought is relegated to a position of negligible importance and sensation is all. It might be said that all musics can be listened to this way (perhaps 'heard' is a more appropriate word), not only the obvious cases like the twin psychedelias of acid rock and Trance Techno. Even the most fearsomely theory-driven music - Boulez, say, or Stockhausen - is arguably best encountered, at least on the first hearing, as a farrago of startling effects and disorientating assymetries. Indeed, for listeners schooled in popular music first and musical theory second, who perhaps constitute the majority of today's avant garde audience, it may well be the only way we can really get to grips with it. Though certainly far from serious academic music, the work of Aaron Funk, alias Venetian Snares, is also best experienced as a passive, awestruck observer. Funk's arrangements are so busy it's difficult to know what's going on, let alone what it all might mean. 'Meathole' is superhuman - and that's the problem. It may well be the most technically complex drill 'n' bass album yet released, the apotheosis of twisted Hardcore science. But in raising the programming bar to the point where it's mentally exhausting even to consider the prospect of a music that is harder, faster, bigger, more complicated - hell, more everything, one starts to crave something more human, more fallible, less, well, good. Meathole is like an explosion of gore in a Belgian lace workshop, fantastic and repulsive in its gymnastic tastelessness, flaunting a lack of restraint that rivals the fabulous excesses of Prog rock and grand opera. Funk makes me think of Mahavishnu-era John McLaughlin wielding a laptop rather than a Gibson doubleneck, parading his skills with a rictus grin of astonishment at his own genius. And with this album, like Mahavishnu's 'Inner Mounting Flame', or 'Tristan And Isolde' (the one by Magma as well as Wagner's), or Stockhausen's 'Helicopter Quartet', sometimes it's best just to submit, not attempt to understand or relate to the spectacle, not try to listen, but just hear.

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