Review Summary: Great, but early on flawed, tenth offering from breakcore maestro Venetian Snares.
The tenth album in the impressive Venetian Snares catalogue, The Chocolate Wheelchair Album (called The Stupid Chocolate Wheelchair Album by Funk himself) stands as an album that is calmer than the fantastic printf("shiver in eternal darkness/n");, yet is much brighter than Doll Doll Doll or its spiritual successor Find Candace. Starting with the hypermania of Abomination Street, which utilizes samples from the theme to Coronation Street over trademark frantic drums that would send any drummer into a state of apoplexy. But the hype and peak ends immediately with Too Young, a dummy's guide on how a gater sounds. The only thing added are asides of short drums, snare rushes, and noise under Too Young To Fall In Love's stuttering idiocy. It's not a stretch to say that Too Young is one of, if not THE, weakest track in all of Aaron Funk's wide catalogue--it makes the sub par Sporto F ucking Sellout Coc ksuckerface sound like Dane Like You're Selling Nails. Almost seemingly out of pity or self-realization, Too Young is the shortest track on the disc (thank God). Langside's frenzied drums and burps and blurps of classic ReNoise synthesizers ring of classic Snares, and revives the otherwise dead disc in a grand way that carries on to the end of the disc.
Einstein-Rosen Bridge's carefree attitude and humorous sample of, "It's about time/It's about space," drives the whole theme of the song home and creates the most colorful song on the album. Even gurgling synths match in to create something that sounds like Stereolab mashed up with Negativland on crack and speed. Hand Throw almost derails things with an almost disturbingly out of place sample from Burro Banton, but it evolves into a grinding, harsh assault using the Banton sample chopped up into oblivion--and it sounds great. Epidermis' root in a moody bass line makes the skittering sprint of snares seem like the ultimate polyrhythm, and the track ends up being one of the most rewarding songs on The Chocolate Wheelchair Album. Between hits from a piano and breakneck cymbal hits, Epidermis shows its true colors as a triple speed Moonglow. Ghetto Body Buddy sounds like vintage Vsnares, and zips along with complete fun and classic breakcore sounds. At the very end, almost as an Easter Egg, snare rushes play the Sesame Street theme in an off-kilter, slightly badly phrased form that makes Ghetto Body Buddy that much better.
Sky Painted On Car's almost techno pastiche is diverted only by rapid rolls and rushes, and Snares-patented sound effects breaking up an oddly beautiful synthesizer playing an introspective melody. By the time the song adds in another line, it has evolved into one of the most touching pre-Rossz songs by Funk, and is a testament to his talent for things that break the breakcore stereotype. Clocking in at 9:17, Marty's Tarids begins and is held aloft by 8-bit sounds (courtesy of ReNoise), scatterbrained hi-hats and a carefully chopped up Amen break. Occasional samples from cult classic Donnie Darko add to the vaguely sinister atmosphere of the song that belies the skip happy beat and loping lead. And closer Herbie Goes Ballistic ends the disc with a blast of distorted, harsh drums and samples that call back F uck A Stranger In The Ass (from Snares' debut Greg Hates Car Culture).
Just like other releases, The Chocolate Wheelchair Album is a precise, direct, cold shower of pure breakcore that never outstays its welcome and thoroughly entertains to no end. Not exactly a classic, but still very good, Wheelchair makes it easy to see why even after nine albums of harsh grating drums and near-Merzbow level noise levels, Venetian Snares not only remains adored by fans, but enjoyed and hailed as a true inventor in a genre that often sounds tired.