The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist review The Quietus , June 11th, 2008 12:13

Venetian Snares - Detrimentalist

Venetian Snares Detrimentalist! Planet Mu

By Derek Walmsley

Beats do strange things to the body. House, funk and disco massage you into a communal, orgiastic groove. Hip hop can be a strut or a stroll, but either way, it's about the gait, an obsessive masculine focus on how the music carries itself. Jungle, though, took beat science all the way into the realms of the bionic, exploring the margins of what's possible to move to without missing the beat, losing your cool or tying yourself in knots.

Throughout the 90s, BPMs rose as inexorably as oil prices. The techstep of Panacea and Ed Rush hit so hard it skirted the line between pleasure and pain, a weird interzone of cold, rushing exhilaration. When electronica tricksters such as Aphex Twin and Squarepusher got in on the act, the speed of the beat trickery became pure slapstick. Venetian Snares have kept the junglist faith for the last decade and continue to push the envelope even weirder, chopping the breaks up so fiercely the only (ir)rational response is a an all-consuming hysteria, hitting a feedback loop where your reality check begins to check out, and rave becomes raving mad.

Detrimentalist! is certainly every bit as crazy as the title suggests, but crucially, producer Aaron Funk (apparently his real name, but who knows) has a connoisseur's touch in distinguishing the much-sought-after nuttiness from simple, everyday cheese. The album borrows mainly from the stark palette of ragga jungle, but spunks its soundboy samples across the stereo spectrum with the verve of Jackson Pollock. In any one tune, or even any one bar, the snare drum riffs can evoke anything from a machine gun barrage or remorseless robotic fighting machines to simple, silly pleasures such as a card stuck in your bike spokes or ten pins being skittled by a fourteen pound ball. The marvellously named 'Poo Yourself Jason' is stuffed with pure, mindless fairground fun, with greasy Sly And The Family Stone organ hits and James Brown grunts all competing for your ever decreasing attention span. 'Koonut-Kaliffee' is a mini masterpiece of panic-core junglism, letting martial arts film dialogue and stuttering breakbeats circle each other warily like Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in The Coliseum.

Some of the sampledelic humour fall a little flat, but these kind of absurdist gags are like pizza " when it's good, it's great, and when it's bad, it's still pretty much OK. 'Sajtban' is loveable despite (or perhaps because of) its utter ridiculousness, with sample edits as rough and ready as the jump-cut visual humour of Rentaghost, interpolating singalong TV themes and an endless procession of early 90s rave piano runs.

You'd have thought Aaron Funk, and indeed the ravin' massive itself, would have long grown out of this kind of nonsense, and admittedly about 20 minutes of Detrimentalist! is probably about as much as you can stand without risking permanent psychological harm. But the silliness of Venetian Snares can't hide his rabid inventiveness, and he's surely the only junglist who can convincingly evoke the cold-blooded physical assault of ragga and the sheer incongruity of The Goon Show in adjacent moments. And perhaps it's a truer reflection of what it's really like to be on a dancefloor than the smooth grooves of disco and house " physical possession one moment, and wondering at the sheer wondrous silliness of what you're doing the next.

If you love our features, news and reviews, please support what we do with a one-off or regular donation. Year-on-year, our corporate advertising is down by around 90% - a figure that threatens to sink The Quietus. Hit this link to find out more and keep on Black Sky Thinking.