Canadian native Aaron Funk aka Venetian Snares is a prolific producer known for his abrasive experimentalism and disregard for the popular music industry; in fact he’s one of the few producers who can release music as frequently as he does without suffering from accusations of “selling out.”
His music is so niche that I dare say it’s impossible he will ever sell out, he simply just doesn’t appeal to that many people. It’s sort of how people with amateur palettes first react to hearing of a wasabi coated peanuts, “WTF?” but the fact is the more you expand your palette the more you will enjoy different meals and that golden rules applies no better than in Funk’s often misunderstood case.
His appeal lies with those well versed in the technicality behind electronica, those who look deeper into musical arrangement to find a special place unfound in the glitzy polished tracks of other artists, the odd-time signatures and glitch may sound imposing and antithetic on first listen, but it all becomes clear when you realise chaos can be beautiful.
Or when you take enough drugs that you realise anything can be beautiful.
After making a name for himself in the breakcore scene, Snares has since broadened his musical horizons to encompass a range of styles and concepts while at the same time keeping them mercilessly savage, raw, edgy and unique.
I mean come on, he even made tunes solely out of samples of him and his girlfriend fucking under the alias Nymphomatriarch, so it is no surprise that he has ventured into similarly foreign musical territory with his latest release “Sleep” under the “Last Step” moniker for Planet Mu. Look for it on May 8th—order here. Listen here.
You guessed right, his latest release was conceived while falling asleep, while that may sound like a pointless thing to do you have to realise that our brains operate on a totally different wavelength when in a state of drowsiness or approaching sleep, the Theta brainwave to be precise.
Creating music under this naturally occurring altered state of consciousness is obviously going to manifest into the music, but how? Answering that is no easy task and I’ve been spending weeks listening to the record.
In his own words: “For awhile, when I was really tired and ready to go to bed instead of going to sleep I would make a tune. Get some stuff going on my sequencers, drum machines, patch up my modular and just jam it. Would fall asleep a lot listening to the sequences, few seconds of sleep or a few minutes, wake up in it. This is what I sound like in my sleep.”
As for the music itself, it was composed using Funk’s own arsenal of analogue synths and sequencers, and you can hear that pretty clearly in the tracks. Album opener “Xylem” is reminiscent of a distorted Sega Mega Drive game with sound effects that zapped me into a state of instant nostalgia, it may have been recorded recently, but this baby sounds like this it came straight from the Nineties.
It’s not the type of stuff you listen to groove too, in fact the very opposite, seen as it was made while he was falling asleep the whole thing is as you can imagine very sparse, layered, abstract and hazy, the third track microsleeps encapsulates exactly what I’m talking about.
The album like a lot of Venetian Snares material is not easily accessible to the average listener, but once you understand the method behind the madness it gives you a clearer insight into why he makes music the way he does.
When I listen to his music and in particular this album I tend not to judge it on its warped aesthetics, but to immerse myself in a fluctuating, distorted and alien world conducted by an established sonic explorer.