Venetian Snares

Higgins Ultra Low Track Glue Funk Hits, 1972-2006

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With Higgins Ultra Low Track Glue Funk Hits, 1972-2006, Venetian Snares (aka Aaron Funk) seems to be trying to mix every possible musical style with his own trademark drill'n'bass. Ornate Asian instrumentals mingle freely with a female opera vocalist's tender tones, a dub toaster shouts and laughs over warped, rapid beats, a jazz band warms up under funky, shuffling Jake Slazenger-style electronica, a lone clarinet cries out through punishing sound effects. But for every track that seeks a fusion of musical styles, there's another track where Funk seems to be simply repeating past glories. Having already released near genre-defining albums of drill'n'bass, it's difficult to recommend the songs here that strive for all-out noise. The melodies in the noise-fests aren't as interesting or as pleasing as those on Songs About My Cats. But the highlights save the album. Opener "Dance Like You're Selling Nails" is immensely refreshing with its mix of exotic instruments and opera vocals. The strings and bass of "We Are Oceans" might owe a huge debt to Squarepusher, but the song is fitted with a grace that Tom Jenkinson rarely achieves. Higgins feels like a transition album for Funk, where he can't decide if he wants to bring the noise or explore a more classical style. While there is a sense that a musical identity crisis is in effect, the refined touches and traditional musical elements here might signal that Funk is growing at least somewhat tired of harsh experimentation. Even though the album is stunningly beautiful at times, one gets the sense that Venetian Snares has even more inspired sounds up his sleeves.

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