Reviewed by James Vella (cdreviews.com)
How can someone write a review for an album for which there are no words that describe its beauty? How can any simple human being be expected to produce an analysis and examination of a record that a mind – evidently – so evolved past my own created? How can Venetian Snares have written an album that not only marks the best work he has ever released, but that will probably never be even equalled?
Put simply, Aaron Funk has made an album that transcends everything we understand as ‘music’. Judging from the amount of negative comments generated by this album’s release, Rossz Csillag Allat Született is a record that will evoke wide-eyed confusion in the common man, and wide-eyed admiration beyond words in anyone who has honestly taken in music in the true sense.
That is to say, this is not achieved in the same way as have Snares’ previous works such as Find Candace and Horse and Goat, in creating a bizarre and vicious impenetrable wall of noise based loosely around what we have come to understand as ‘breakcore’ or ‘IDM’. Rossz Csillag Allat Született, conversely, has been crafted from a breathtakingly beautiful selection of recordings by Aaron himself, performed on – among other instruments – the violin and the trumpet (both of which he learned to play specifically for this record). The album started out as a post modernist project, eventually melded with breakbeats that frantically swoop and stutter around the eastern rhythms and beautifully crafted textures.
These eastern rhythms are an important part of the record has a whole. Without wanting to undermine the creative process by clumsily attempting to paraphrase it (read the essay on the record sleeve to fully understand this), this record was inspired by a recent trip to Hungary, where one microcosmically ticking second transformed Aaron’s musical outlook. And then Rossz Csillag Allat Született was born. The track titles, like the album title, are appropriately named in Hungarian and feature perhaps the most beautiful imagery evoked on any recent record: the album title translates as ‘Born Under A Bad Star’, whereas track titles include the wonderfully poetic ‘Lone Dove’, ‘Two Doves’ and ‘Nobody’s Theme’ as well as standout track ‘Hajnal’ (Dawn).
The themes of loss and grief are awe-inspiringly poignant, with sorrowful string arrangements underlying despondent monologues in a style not unlike Godspeed You Black Emperor!, while the engaging and vociferous jungle-style breakbeats twist and turn loops around the brain in a wholly incomprehensible way. Put simply (and in layman’s terms), imagine, if you will, a mix between Aphex Twin at his most misanthropic and Schostakovic at his most mournful, and you will have an image along similar lines to the exquisiteness of Rossz Csillag Allat Született.
Opening with the dramatic, piano-based ‘Szervi Elégtelenség’, which segues effortlessly into the Tchaikovsky-esque orchestration of ‘Szerencsétlen’, the breakbeats don’t appear for what seems like a worryingly long time for a record released on Planet Mu (indeed, the first few minutes of this record could have quite easily existed on Naxos). The stunningly spine-tingling ‘Hajnal’ is quite simply unsurpassable by any one, by any stretch of the imagination; here Funk manages to almost militarily cut the beats to the exact millisecond of orchestrated event and the whole synchronised affair simultaneously batters and soars past the listener’s brain like the aforementioned Aphex/Schostakovic concoction (that is, not to resort to the clumsy comparison between RDJ and Snares, more to effectively describe the subtleties and lack thereof of the electronic elements, especially of the percussive sections).
Despite all of these kind words, nothing that I have written here captures, or does justice to, this album. Without making up an alien language to describe the sentiment evoked by this album, there is quite simply no way that I can think of to translate the wide-eyed amazement and heart-meltingly magnificent response that Rossz Csillag Allat Született induces in my soul.
Buy, copy, download, steal (well, don’t do anything except buy – except perhaps become a music journalist and request a free promo copy) this record. I need say no more.
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