Winnipeg, Manitoba must really suck. Taking a look at a general summary of the city, it really is the stereotypical city. The city has 4 major universities, 2 daily newspapers, a historical district including St. Boniface Cathedral, and an international airport. The city boasts (although not lovingly) a huge crime rate, more than double the crime rate in Toronto. Winnipeg produces a music scene, bringing out The Guess Who and Neil Young. A little less known, Aaron Funk, going by the stage name of Venetian Snares, came from Winnipeg, and he is not proud of it. Winnipeg Is a Frozen ***hole, as the title suggests is an album entirely about his hate of Winnipeg.
Winnipeg Is a Frozen ***hole is one of Aaron Funk’s most angry and aggressive albums. His mastery of electronic drums and the breakbeat style comes across perfectly in this album. However, looking at a picture of the man, Aaron Funk looks more like a metal guitarist than a breakbeat artist. His long hair goes down past his shoulders in a natural curl that falls down his back in a tangled mess. Funk states he listens to a lot of punk rock and metal music, and that influence comes out in much of his work, especially in his more aggressive work. He obviously keeps up on his metal music, as his remix of The Beginning and the End by Isis appeared on the Oceanic remix album. Despite keeping up in the music scene, Funk averages on about 4 releases a year, most of which being full out LPs. However, his quality never falters. Every release the man releases is full of incredible, complex electronic drumming. He pushes the limit for his contemporaries, taking his music into more complex time signatures and putting the machines on overload, going faster and faster.
This album shows a hate for Winnipeg just in the track titles. Every single song title insults Winnipeg in some way, usually in a profane manner. Funk takes many vocal samples from news broadcasts or just about anything that says “Winnipeg” and either plays them straight or puts all kinds of crazy effects on the voice, giving even humans an electronic style. The vocal samples usually tell some sort of terrible news of Winnipeg, such as one Winnipeg coach accused of sexually assaulting one of his athletes. Others are plain and simple, such as “it’s so cold!” or other simple problems with Winnipeg. However, the vocal samples are only there to add a subject matter to the album, although it comes across as more humorous than angry, which may be the intention. The real showcase is the electronic godliness Aaron Funk produces.
To give a sense of the complexity, the most common time signature on this album is 7/8. Trying to subdivide the rhythms is just plain silly. Most times, it surpasses 64th notes. Every subdivision of every beat contains some sort of drum and they come across the in an organized way. The snare and bass hit in just the right places and somehow manage to lay down a groove even in all this insanity. However, with the use of vocal samples and other humorous sounds, this never tires and sounds like just a bunch of random drum machine hits. Aaron Funk knows how to make the album enjoyable all the way throughout. The most intense of these songs is Die Winnipeg Die Die Die Fuc*ers
. The song creeps its way in with high hat clicks before laying down an incredibly complex groove that progressively becomes even more complex yet never loses itself or its cool. The song continues, mostly in 7/8, while other hardly melodic electronica styled keyboard runs gloss overtop. The song closes out on all electronic noises with no drum backing, giving a good chance for resting the mind.
The album also includes the much sparser Winnipeg Is Fuc*ing Over
, full of accented bass drum hits. The song, due to its heavy bass drum-centric beats, shows Aaron’s metal influence as well as just about any release of his. Some sections reach a headbanging fest even without major guitar riffage. Winnipeg Is Steven Stapleton’s Armpit
is mostly a bunch of delayed vocal samples. It is pretty much filler, but on the album, it serves for a good rest from the rhythmic complexity of the album. Also serving as variety are the last 3 tracks, which are remixes from other contemporaries and friends of Funk. The remixes are much more melodic, making the drums a background entity rather than the main focus. Winnie the Dog Pooh
is a much more hip-hop influenced remix, fully loaded with a smart, smooth bassline and grooving drum beat. The vocal samples are quick samples of rappers and just quickly delayed vocals. All in all, Winnipeg Is a Frozen ***hole makes a much more varied and enjoyable release from Venetian Snares. It may serve, for some, as a great introduction to one of the most talented electronic artists out there.
Winnipeg Is Fuc*ing Over
Die Winnipeg Die Die Die Fuc*ers
Winnie the Dog Pooh (Not Half Remix)