Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois
This surprise collaboration features two Canadian wunderkind musicians that push and pull in very different directions. It might be a head-scratch (or indeed a head-fuck) for many, particularly if you are arriving at this as a Lanois fan unaware of Venetian Snares. But there’s gold in these hills. I’m sure of that.
Okay, so first-up, Venetian Snares is one of the nom-de-plumes of electronic musician Aaron Funk. His “breakcore” style of musical splatter-painting avoids time-signatures, ignores definable structure and is in line with Luke Vibert and Aphex Twin (even down to the song-titles: HpSHk5050, Mat11 P83, Ophelius 1stP118). Funk can make lilting, gliding music, sure, but far more often there’s a surge, there’s a relentlessness. And this is – largely – at odds with the gauzy veneers from Lanois’ steel guitars.
Actually, Daniel Lanois’ alternately earthy and ethereal production style and his dreamy, wafting slide and steel guitars become a perfect foil here. They, intentionally, slow down Funk’s runaway train of sound. The album really starts to make sense on the third track, the 9-minute United P92 where Snares’ beats take a breather and the mercurial Lanois lines are draped in and around blips and bleeps and blurts of electronica with big washy dubs of rhythm daubed in just the right spaces and places.
It is recognisably Lanois in his ambient soundscape guise – his soundtrack work, his contributions to Eno’s wonderful ambient-chill Apollo soundtracks; even some of his outside production flourishes.
David Gilmour of Pink Floyd made it work when he collaborated on an album-length project with The Orb, in that it sounded just like Gilmour’s guitar and the music of The Orb. By the time of the penultimate track here, Night MXCMPV1 P74, it feels exactly like the Lanois of his Sling Blade soundtrack, Belladonna and the aforementioned Apollo album colliding – comfortably and comfortingly – with the Venetian Snares of My So-Called Life and Traditional Synthesizer Music.
Whilst the Lanois fan in me would have possibly wanted a few more ‘solo’ moments from Daniel, the Venetian Snares fan in me is excited by the thought that Aaron Funk is (possibly) gaining new fans and followers as a result of the inspired, intriguing collaboration here.
It works. It possibly shouldn’t. Well, no that’s not even it. Of course it should. It’s just a heady bit of full-charge music for some. Take your time with it, there’s something very special in most of the folds and in all that unfolds here.
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