Venetian Snares - VSNARES: 2370894

Album: VSNARES: 2370894
Artist: Venetian Snares
Released: 2002
Rating: 4.5

When I recommended this album to Collin Ulferts, I described glitch, which is the genre inhabited by Aaron Funk aka Venetian Snares, as techno/electronica's equivalent of noise rock. This is a passable description, since both genres are often abrasive for the sake of being abrasive and glitch often uses noises played at frequencis that are intentionally unpleasant to the human ear, but it doesn't do justice to the skill and stylistic diversity present in Aaron Funk's work. The usual practice in glitch is to just program drum machines incredibly fast and try and cram the most bpm's into a song, with no regard for structure, melody, or anything else, leading many detractors to call the genre a one-dimensional programmer's showground. While the detractor's are right most of the time, Aaron Funk is different.

2370894 is a collection of songs not included on regular Venetian Snares albums for unexplained reasons. Funk's skill is apparent throughout, as he manages to balance abrasive drum attacks with melodic passages of keyboard and occasional horns. Songs rarely go in expected directions, self-destructing when they begin to repeat and then reemerging as something entirely different. Throughout most of the album, Funk keeps everything unrelentingly intense and assaultive, although his sense of humour is also apparent in song titles like "Happy Morning Condom Factory", "Fuck Toronto Jungle", and "Underground Circus Jesus".

Although Funk's signature style is hyperspeed drum assaults, he does vary things up throughout, sometimes in unexpected ways. There's the faux-metal throwaway "Sybian Rock", the jazz throwbacks "We Are Cesspools" and "2 Dollars", and, most unexpected of all, the practically drumless "Stamina Feat. Cex (Instrumental)", which sounds like it could be from the score of a suspense film. Best of all, though, is the ten-minute, multi-part epic, "Twisting Ligneous", which finds Funk stretching out and trying a bit of everything.

This album obviously isn't for everyone, but for adventureous listeners looking for something new, it'll keep you occupied for a while, and you might even like it.

Highlights: "Twisting Ligneous", "2 Dollars", "Stamina Feat. Cex (Instrumental)"

By P. Segal