Venetian Snares
Rossz Csillag Alatt Szuletett

Snares continues to show the electronic music world who's boss and grimly reaps where no man has reaped before.

By David Gunn

 
“If only we could kill ourselves over and over until we get it right”. So says young Aaron Funk in the liner notes to his latest, impossibly titled release. And, as the mainstream of electronica wanders deeper into repetitions of its own repetitions, it seems pretty appropriate. Detours into folktronica remain a largely irrelevant decoration of old bones, Vibert and Aphex keep trundling their 80s aceeed booms and electronic music, it seems, has done its thing.

So when I heard about this album, it made me happy. With one of the best names in the business and a back catalogue of ferociously danceable drill and bass, Venetian Snares has always had a secret place in my heart. Not least for the intelligent alienation that underpins even his most breeze-blocked gabba thunderings. Snares has always had a slightly abrasive relationship with the genre – from his over-over-amplified frenzy of Orange Things to the stubborn free jazz intercessions of Songs About My Cats, he has always existed at a slight angle of incidence to his peers.

And Rossz etc etc does sound different. Orchestral samples and swoops are woven throughout the record, replacing all out drillandthumps with a far more pensive, open arrangement that runs the gamut of classical influence – rambling through Beethoven doom vamps to arrive at an airier sense of time and space reminiscent of Morton Feldman or some such kid. The beats remain – and some great ones at that, like the nailbomb blunderbuss of Masodik Galamb. The combination is a good one.

But it’s all in that phrase – “If only we could kill ourselves over and over until we get it right”. Boiling down the essence of the breakbeat, distilling it to its perfect core. The exercise is becoming somewhat academic, in both senses of that word. And the language of dance is so evolved now that it is difficult to get beyond it. Venetian Snares has great moments on this release, but at the end of it, he still hits those same old patterns: slow melody gradually overlaid with chaotic beats. The careful infilling of metronomic time. Different musical traditions overlaid and juxtaposed but never truly integrated into a new form. Just like so much that is coming out the grand old labels, it remains rooted in the forms and symbols of a time that is quickly reaching its end. But hey, it’s a great listen and Snares remain one hell of a live act. Go grab the remnants while they still have some blood left.
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