Un­likely Friends

Exclaim! - - REVIEWS - IAN GORMELY DARYL KEAT­ING PAUL BLINOV

IDM

Vene­tian Snares x Daniel Lanois

What be­gan as a phone call from Daniel Lanois to Vene­tian Snares (aka Aaron Funk) in 2014, sim­ply to say that he was a fan, ended up in three jam ses­sions at Lanois’s Toronto stu­dio, more than an al­bum’s worth of ma­te­rial, and one of the strangest Cana­dian col­lab­o­ra­tions to date. All these record­ings are live-offthe-floor, but it’s not nearly as rough as you might think. Granted, Funk’s me­te­oric drum pat­terns are enough to dizzy even the stead­i­est in­di­vid­ual, but the whole af­fair comes off like a beau­ti­ful, sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship. The woozy pedal steel gui­tar that Lanois wields seems to be put­ter­ing away in the back­ground for a while, but even­tu­ally you be­gin to re­al­ize that those unas­sum­ing melodies are the driv­ing force be­hind all the tracks. On songs like “Night MXCMPV1 P74” and the ma­jes­tic roller­coaster of “United P92,” you can hear the soft gui­tar work of Lanois gen­tly guid­ing Funk’s abra­sive beats this way and that. Many will, no doubt, be won­der­ing if this works at all, if you can marry a folk­ish sound with Funk’s mu­tant brand of IDM, but it does, and you can. The al­bum only sounds odd on pa­per. The end re­sult is proof that tra­di­tional in­stru­ments can work in­cred­i­bly well with elec­tron-

(though far less tal­ented) artists. It’s the kind of mu­sic few would ex­pect from one half of a duo who once stirred the ire of the Con­ser­va­tive gov­ern­ment. But that’s part of Dusted’s power: emo­tional nu­ance where it’s least ex­pected. In­ti­mate and soul­ful, Blackout Sum­mer is a record few ex­pected, but many should check out. (Royal Moun­tain, royal­moun­tain­records.com) POST- PUNK ics, although it might take two le­gends to pull it off. (Time­sig / Planet Mu, planet.mu)

How do you feel about the fin­ished prod­uct?

Lanois: There’s a kind of spirit in this body of work that I’m very proud of. Be­yond the specifics of son­ics and melodies, there’s just a nat­u­ral vibe that I grav­i­tate to­wards — let’s call it the gospel side of Daniel Lanois. And for that to en­ter [Aaron’s] world, I think that makes for a fas­ci­nat­ing mix­ture, be­cause it’s emo­tional but it’s not drip­ping in melan­choly. It seems to be caught in the trans­mis­sion. There’s a term I like to use that I call outof-body, which is when the mu­sic takes over and it de­cides where it wants to go. I feel like that’s what hap­pened with this record.

Did you find that you two have much in com­mon?

Funk: We have spirit in com­mon. And we have world-build­ing in com­mon. We both come at things like, “What’s this world we’re mak­ing here? And what ex­ists in­side of it?” It’s great when you rec­og­nize that in other peo­ple, and it re­ally helped us in con­jur­ing up this wild record. into some­thing far less de­fin­able. Gar­bled synths, pro­grammed drums and melodic low-end dom­i­nate the al­bum, which proves it­self an un­pre­dictable but sat­is­fy­ing re­con­fig­u­ra­tion of Freak Heat Waves’ DNA. “Self Vor­tex” opens the al­bum like a chrysalis split­ting open: Lind man­i­fests hypno­preacher lamen­ta­tions over waves of mu­ti­lated tex­tures, ooz­ing synths and warped gui­tars. Lyrics, there and else­where, fo­cus on trans­for­ma­tions or dead­pan ob­ser­va­tions of the way things are, even as the vo­cals feel more like tex­tures than an­chors. Fit­tingly, Be­yond XXXL is best when it digs into a groove: the gunky dub of “Bad Mu­ta­tion” ef­fec­tively piv­ots a bass line through pro­cessed drums, while the pop drive of “Pushin’ Be­yond” ral­lies around an ur­gent gui­tar line and steady height­en­ing of vibe. “Toxic Talk Show,” a high­light, finds an Aphex Twin-like dy­namic to fuel its ex­tended drum kit’n’glitch freak­out. Not ev­ery­thing takes — “Sell a Line” doesn’t manage to have the same stick­i­ness, for one — but Freak Heat Waves’ ex­per­i­men­ta­tion proves con­fi­dently well-crafted here. (Tele­phone Ex­plo­sion, tele­phone­ex­plo­sion.com)

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