• Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Alatt Született

    Reviewed by Jim Siegel (brainwashed)

    <b> Venetian Snares </b> - Rossz Csillag Alatt Született

    From the ominous chords of 40-second opener "Sikertelenseg," a solo piece for untreated piano, it is clear that this is a very different Venetian Snares record than any of the previous 11 albums Aaron Funk has recorded. The titles appear, at first, to be some sort of prankster gibberish, a la Aphex Twin or Autechre.

    Upon further inspection it is revealed that these are in fact Hungarian titles, as this album was inspired by a trip to Hungary, during which Funk had some sort of epiphany involving imagining himself as a pigeon. As absurd as that sounds, it has fueled the most cohesive effort by Funk to date, on which Eastern European melodies dominate and his trademark blastbeats are used to accent orchestral composition. "Hiszekeny" is a beautiful miniature, which features bells and harp rhythmically dancing around melodic string patterns. "Felbomlasztott Mentokocsi" features no percussion at all, and instead features weeping cellos and violins whose sweeping tones play against each other to echo the tension in life through rhythmic and melodic tension. Funk's take on Rezso Seress's Hungarian suicide song "Ongyilkos Vasarnap" ("Gloomy Sunday") manifests this sense of sadness and loss in a more direct way, by combining stuttering beats with Billie Holiday's vocals from the 1941 recording of the notorious song. Jazzy drumming and downright pastoral wind instrumentation figure prominently in the first half of "Hajnal," before strings combine with hectic breakbeats. As chaotic as the rhythmic programming often becomes, these tracks are always grounded by the melodic elements. This is most effective on "Szamar Madar," during which a gorgeous melodic theme recurs throughout the track's six minute duration. Much of Funk's music is centered around beats in odd time signatures played at break neck speed, keeping listeners on their toes. These pieces, although rhythmically challenging at times, aspire to achieve a higher sense of compositional cohesiveness. Funk is communicating in a language that will appeal to more than just those who are breakcore enthusiasts. Although he has not abandoned the use of intricate rhythms, he allows these tracks more breathing room. Most pieces have long beatless passages during which all manner of acoustic instruments create a tension that makes the rhythmic bombasts more effective when they appear. This is not to suggest that he has simply distilled his usual fare to reach a wider audience. Instead, he has finally shown that he is capable of, or interested in, combining his skills as one of today's most advanced beat programmers with unprecedented foreign elements. In the process he has broken out of the holding pattern his prolific career was beginning to settle into and produced an accomplished work of incredible depth.

<< Back to reviews