Michael Fakesch: Dos

Dos, the latest solo album by ex-Funkstörung member Michael Fakesch, sounds like the best album The Time never made. On his follow-up to 1999's Marion, Fakesch teams up with soul vocalist Taprikk Sweezee (who also co-wrote much of the album) for fifteen funked-up cuts that'll make you think you've died and woken up at Paisley Park Studios in 1985 with Prince in the production booth. His classic Minneapolis sound is on full display on songs like “Escalate” and “Complicated” where squelchy synthesizers rub shoulders with choruses of Prince-styled falsettos. Sweezee's credible vocal skills get a thorough workout throughout, so much so one wonders why he didn't receive more prominent billing (in fact, Sweezee felt himself to be more of a guest so encouraged Fakesch to issue the disc under his name only).

Fakesch updates the template by occasionally mangling it electronically and applying microcosmic slices of digital surgery but he never gets too much in the way of the music's filthy funk agenda. With dense layers of electronic effects recalling Funkstörung's bold production style, “Wire” comes closest to identifying itself as a Fakesch production but few other songs do the same. Given the criticism that sometimes dogged Funkstörung, specifically that in its early days it sounded too reminiscent of Autechre, it's a bit surprising that Fakesch would ape the Minneapolis sound so baldly. It'd be interesting to see what would happen if listeners familiar with his past work were presented with Dos in a blindfold test; my guess is that many wouldn't make the connection. It's not completely fixated on one artist; “Give it to Me,” for example, draws more upon the legacies of James Brown and Sly Stone while “Channel” introduces a funky new jack swing that aligns Dos more to Justin Timberlake than George Clinton.

August 2007