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Venetian Snares - Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding

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Artist: Venetian Snares

Album: Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding

Label: Planet Mu

Review date: Aug. 10, 2004


It's easy to compare Venetian Snares' work with that of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher. The huge array of sonic blasts hurled at breakneck speed in stereophonic hopscotch screams, whistles, braps and snorts could be mistaken for James or Jenkinson. It's also lazy; these traits don't come close to accurately describing Aaron Funk's music over his four-year eleven-album-and-numerous-singles career.

Funk snatches and distorts rhythm and sound in ways that are both obvious and obtuse, and Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding exemplifies the formula perfectly. His rhythms often emerge in odd groupings which fit no immediate rhythmic stereotype; then after making the alien sound familiar, he'll tweak the elements even more out of focus, not unlike to Autechre at their more spastic.

The selected material might be an almost recognizable fragment of speech or a stock drum fill, sometimes momentary, sometimes extensive. "Keek" unfolds without surprise, before Funk riddles the track with jarring metric interruptions. "Ion Divvy" takes the opposite approach, criss-crossing voice fragments and electro-pulses in stereo (headphones may be required) before revealing the source material a Speak and Spell toward the end.

The formula, however, seems almost too rigid this time around, the parameters set in impermeable stone. The pitched material is usually in A minor, and it is safe to say that Funk possesses neither Jenkinson's jazz-inflected harmonic sensibility nor James' penchant for pitched timbral experiments. "Aaron" is a case in point an inexplicably vapid A minor excursion in monochrome.

"Throwing Glass Castles" provides a welcome change, an absolutely riveting series of contradictions. It consists almost exclusively of similarly constructed sound blocks alternating with silences, but the constantly mutating combinations afford their own brand of formulaic spontaneity. This seven-minute gem sometimes even harkens back to the harder-edged breakcore darkness of Doll Doll Doll.

To say that Funk is being too obvious or too predictable is like faulting Protius for duplicating a form every once and a while. This Cylinder Box

By Marc Medwin

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