Venetian Snares
Traditional Synthesizer Music


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jacquibim STAFF
February 24th, 2016 | 54 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Funk see, Funk do.

Keeping in mind Aaron Funk’s penchant for ironic, often nonsensical album titles, I went into Traditional Synthesizer Music expecting the opposite of its namesake: machines at the mercy of their operator, percussion that breaks the synaptic connections of the brain, an aural palette that pushes the limitations of sound design, etc. Suffice to say, this album’s comparative restraint came as more of a shock than material of said description could have ever hoped to be. While Funk’s tongue remains firmly planted into his cheek given that this album isn’t “traditional” in the strictest meaning of the word, it’s still quite familiar, bringing to mind the likes of Aphex Twin’s Richard D. James Album, Autechre’s Cichlisuite and even LP5, at times. There is an intangible sense of charisma here, as if Funk has elected to drop his some-would-say-tired shtick and simply made what he felt like making, as opposed to what was expected of him.

The end result, though a dramatic contrast isn’t a total abandonment of the Venetian Snares sound we all know and love; it’s the method behind the madness that has been turned on its head. Instead of breakneck drum programming being chopped and skewed to the point of absurdity, tracks unfold and ideas incrementally build upon themselves in a way that – while meticulously calculated, no doubt – comes across as warm and inviting. At this point in Funk’s career, and considering his aptitude with his equipment, his decision to record this album solely utilising a modular synthesiser while shirking the use of editing software feels like less of a challenge and more like an act of leisure. You almost get the impression that songs like “Magnificent Stumble v2”, “Goose and Gary v2” and “Health Card10” were recorded in his sleep, which isn’t a complaint given that peering into the mind of Aaron Funk at its most sedate would be quite the curiosity.

Traditional Synthesizer Music’s rudimentary way of coming to be has an added bonus in that it’s softer on the ears than pretty much any of its predecessors, making the points at which Funk wakes from his slumber all the more palatable. “Slightly Bent Fork Tong v2” and “She Married a Chess Computer in the End” come loaded with jarring synth lines, squelching accents and metallic percussion of the more typical Venetian Snares persuasion, but never do they transgress. Unlike past efforts, this album is able to traverse from one end of the spectrum to the other without over-stepping the bounds of tolerability, be it of either tranquillity or squeamishness. Traditional Synthesizer Music isn’t an attempt to break what little is left of the mould, then. If anything, it’s an attempt to reconstruct it – one that leaves all the residual cracks plain to see and giving us little choice but to bask in the beauty of their eccentricities.




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user ratings (80)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2016


2926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First staff review, hope you guys like it



Hoped to get this up sooner but IRL stuff has been getting in the way :/



Also not sure if I embedded the bandcamp link correctly so if I dun goofed let me know

Digging: Malthusian - Across Deaths

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2016


7993 Comments


Album stream: http://venetiansnares.bandcamp.com/album/traditional-synthesizer-music

Digging: Yellow Devil Sauce - Zulu

ChoccyPhilly
February 24th 2016


11779 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sweet, didn't know a new one was out. Will get on this soon

Keyblade
February 24th 2016


25993 Comments


super rev, nice and concise. will have to get into this guy one day

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2016


2926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks man, this is the most accessible thing I've heard from him, by far. Also probably his best album in a decade.

Sniff
February 24th 2016


4901 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A bit too accessible maybe?

ChoccyPhilly
February 24th 2016


11779 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

What happened to all your comments, jac?

Atari
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2016


23797 Comments


Fantastic first staff review bud, that was one smooth read

Digging: Outer Heaven - Realms Of Eternal Decay

wtferrothorn
February 24th 2016


5798 Comments


When I saw the summary and album title, I thought this was gonna be a cool synth-funk record lol. But this seems cool too.

Cygnatti
February 24th 2016


32588 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

seems sweet af, must check

Digging: Mid-Air Thief - Crumbling

Jacquibim
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2016


2926 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

A lot of his releases are very distinct, but there are definitely traits of his sound that anyone could have come to expect by this point (ie. "chopped and skewed" percussion and a general approach that disorients and in some cases torments the listener. He was consistent and a little predictable in that regard). Funk making a 90s IDM-inspired record without edits or overdubbing bucks that trend completely. I can see what you mean tho, cheers : )

adr
February 24th 2016


12000 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the cover is so cool

TychoBrahe
February 24th 2016


511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well-written review.Loving the album. Even after hearing the 'Magnificent Stumble v2' single (which I really enjoyed) I kind of feared that his method of music-making here would have imposed too many limitations and perhaps would have diluted his sound. I was also worried about inconsistency, with a few sonic peaks outweighed by more mediocre filler. Wrong. I think his sound actually benefits from restraint, you're not constantly being bombarded with needless complexity and drums that are programmed to punish. 'Dreamt Person' serves as a simple, and powerful indication of what kind of animal you're dealing with here. 'Magnificent Stumble v2' and 'Everything About You is Special' both seemed more focused on melody, weaving together some really elegant synth lines in the process. But like you said, when he does decide to hit you with some wild percussion like on 'Slighly Bent Fork Tong v2' (my favorite track on here) it's much more impactful.



His best album since Rossz Csillag Alatt Született.

Sniff
February 24th 2016


4901 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

TychoBrahe for best username

Supercoolguy64
February 24th 2016


8592 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the cover is so cool [2]

Digging: Autechre - LP5

TychoBrahe
February 24th 2016


511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks John.

Avagantamos
February 24th 2016


6289 Comments


sounds neat. I will get this

JohnnyOnTheSpot
Staff Reviewer
February 24th 2016


6675 Comments


on those grounds, no. two very different albums

TychoBrahe
February 24th 2016


511 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, this sounds completely different. Thankfully my enjoyment of the records isn't mutually exclusive. This album is more in the same vein as his work under the Last Step alias (1961, Sleep, etc.). If you want more Rossz Csillag the closest you might get would be with My Downfall. There's also a name-your-price album called 'Thank You' that he released for fans after his incident that would sound more like what you're familiar with minus all the classical sampling. It has some great tracks on it but is a bit lackluster in spots as well. Still worth checking out imo.

PappyMason
February 25th 2016


5702 Comments


Yeah, must hear this one. Sounds like a good listen.

Sweet review, as always.



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