Review Summary: This is a Venetian Snares album. At this point, that's a gift and a curse.
I can’t imagine being Aaron Funk. He’s released 18 full length albums in 10 years, not to mention 16 other singles and EPs, and seemingly hasn’t broken a sweat, since he’s been using the same formula every time and his fans continue to eat up his material. Even through such an extensive back catalog that undoubtedly few have listened to, Detrimentalist
seems about as close to a summation of his career as possible. Even in song titles, it ranges from the normal “Gentlemen” to the bizarre, non-sensical “Bebikukorica Nigiri” to the comical “Poo Yourself Jason.” Yet what is most notable about Aaron Funk’s prolific ability is the complicated nature of his music. With complicated time signatures and rhythms that would look absolutely ridiculous on paper, it seems as if the music just flows out of him, and his natural ability for this breakcore style is what sets him apart from his contemporaries.
And at album #18, Detrimentalist
sounds as fresh and new as always. Indeed, there is something new, something more refined about the music here. The cohesion of the album is perhaps the best of his career, as “Gentlemen” features a nice introduction to the mindset of Venetian Snares with the vocal sample “Wasn’t you the type that mimic what you saw on TV"/Wasn’t you the type that mimic what you heard on CD"/You never wanted to work; you wanted everything easy/You heard Venetian Snares, you said…” A variety of responses follows that line, such as “that’s me, easy” and “that’s freaky”, perhaps mimicking the variety of responses that his music conjures. The end of the album offers a slight break from the machine-gun pace of the album with more melodic material, a brief allusion to his more classical material on Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett
, not necessarily in compositional style but in prioritizing the material in the song. His beats take a backseat to the melodies, especially in “Miss Balaton.” There’s also a new sense of simplicity that make the complicated moments all the more exciting. “Koonut-Kaliffee” begins with rather simple beats for Venetian Snares, but slowly, the song gets more and more complicated and twisted as the vocal samples intensify.
For the most part, however, Detrimentalist
is simply more Venetian Snares, and many of the songs will fall right in line with the rest of his back catalog. It’s more of the broken beats at warp speed, the twisted sense that everything is spinning and chaos could break loose at any moment. The commanding sense of control, however, keeps everything in check. On Detrimentalist
, Funk loses some of the more complex time signatures and lets the songs groove more often. At points, the songs might even be danceable for a meth addict. And while the music is indeed the same Venetian Snares we know and love, his sound is still a fresh one simply because few can even compete with him in his mixture of accessibility, complexity, and musicality.
Still, after 18 albums, I think it’s fair to ask for something new. I wouldn’t mind a Venetian Snares dance album. Before his style becomes old hat, he needs some change in his sound – perhaps a new influence, like when he introduce his classical tastes in Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett
. Many consider that to be his crowning achievement. For newcomers, however, Detrimentalist
might be the best introduction to his sound because of its cohesion and overall quality. By no means is this album bad, it’s just the same, and quite simply, sameness gets boring.