For some strange reason, everyone thinks that music in the future will be entirely electronic-based. If this is true, then the future must already be here. With a new genre called breakcore, artists put drum machines to the test, pushed to the highest capacity in terms of tempo, complexity, and voicing. Almost containing no melodic structure, the genre is almost an electronic drum line that speeds through all and any time signature with no trouble at all. With the advent of these electronic machines, the rhythmic possibilities of drumming have a whole new echelon to reach.
One of the pioneers in this genre is Aaron Funk, under the performing name of Venetian Snares. Beginning his career in 1998, Aaron Funk has released 31 musical endeavors and plans to release a 32nd very soon. The man keeps himself busy and obviously produces excellent songs at a blisteringly fast rate. His 30th release, Meathole, is a full LP full of incredible drum machine greatness. He races through complex time signatures and constructs songs incredibly geometrically, always thinking ahead from where he is in the song. Most songs are devoid of any real melody, although occasionally Funk throws in a sample of some sort to create some actual melody, but only serving as background to the ferocious drums. Every song is at an alarmingly fast tempo, racing to the end yet still maintaining a certain cool, never getting too complex for its own good. The songs all exceed the normal song length, always going over 4 minutes. Remarkably, Funk manages to make this an album, connecting some tracks together into one long opus and making a flow about the album that is logical. Some of the vocal samples in here are downright creepy, even if they aren't distinguishable. The effect put on them, whether it is a distortion or a delay or something completely unheard of, creates a sort of dark aura around the sample, especially when accompanied with the emotionless, bleak drums.
The album opens on Aanguish with a groan and some electronic noises. More creepy, futuristic noises come across until creating a rush of electronic blips and beeps. Suddenly, an electronic bassline enters reminiscent of Mission Impossible. Electronic high hat clicks a rhythm as the intensity picks up in the samples, becoming more and more distorted. A full drum beat enters, immediately complex in 7/4. The drum beat frantically jumps around, never sticking on one specific drum sound, only creating a whirlwind of drum sounds. A vocal sample says "My eyes are black and white." Different effects are put on this sample, always sounding absolutely frightening. Constantly, different samples make a short appearance while the drums remain the focus of the song. This continues for most of the song, making a direct impression showing that even if this man releases way too many albums for his own good, he still makes quality music each and every time.
The album continues in its franticness, but all of this leads up to the end of the album, starting with Sinthasomphone. The song opens with a complex high hat rhythm, showing off the incredible speed of these drum machines. A whisper sample is delayed and echoed repeatedly as a full drum beat enters, yet still maintaining the complex enough high hat rhythm. A 4 note bassline remains the only melodic structure in the song. Suddenly, the beat simplifies extremely yet still remaining better than nearly any other electronic beat. The beat continually changes, switching off from the incredibly complex to the simpler, more accessible beat. Suddenly, everything fades out and once more, all that is left is the high hat rhythm. Swells from deep, synthesized voices fade in and out, sounding straight out of a horror movie. The high hat itself drops out, leaving only these random samples that sound dark, brooding, and almost Mortal Kombat like. Spastic drum beats enter and close out, entering at extremely random periods and dropping out just as fast. Finally, the drums become constant, becoming even more spastic than before, and even more complex, randomly becoming distorted and then clean once more. This is probably the most complex section of the entire album, absolutely breath-taking in every sense of the word. The drum beat becomes a bit simpler, although coming in off beat a lot. Randomly bassline samples enter, still remaining just as dark and frightening as before. Drums drop out once more, allowing the samples to do their purpose as a mood setter. Suddenly, a plucked instrument of some sort enters, making a bit of a brighter melody than anything else in the album thus far. This melody transitions right into the next track
Aaperture still sticks with the melody from the previous track, with other bass notes adding in, creating an almost Opeth melodic section. Suddenly, a downright heart-stopping vocal sample comes in, a conversation between two men, one who is apparently being sexually harassed by another man taking pictures of him. A drum beat enters, having a somewhat relevant groove to it. More distorted vocal samples come in as the rest of the music gets noticeably quieter. Funk is trying to convey a story here, but only certain phrases are distinguishable, including "people masturbating all over the place." The drums enter again suddenly, with an extremely frantic beat, although sometimes simplifying to only quarter notes. Because of this occasional simplification, the section makes one of the best on the album. Occasional hand claps take the place of the snare, and upon each listen more and more nuances appear in the samples, the drum beat, and in the overall atmosphere. The drum beat suddenly becomes extremely distorted, which eventually translates into a short melodic bassline. The rest of the samples follow along with this, falling just as the bassline did before them. The drums enter a funk beat but still maintaining an insane speed, changing up the snare voice on nearly every voice from a looser snare to a tight snare to a handclap. The song closes out on more dark, brooding bass samples.
Venetian Snares is an incredible breath of fresh air, certainly devoid of all happiness and joy and definitely a depression feeder. This album, revered for its technicality rather than its emotion, is a hard listen, but once you navigate through it, it becomes a gem and a pure beauty of electronic music.