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)