Roel Funcken: Vade
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So Roel Funcken steps out for a debut solo album and, wouldn't ya know, it sounds a whole lot like Funckarma, his main gig with brother Don. Not that there's anything wrong with that: we're always happy to hear new tracks from the Funcken family regardless of whether they're authored by one brother or two. The new tracks are as busy and detail-packed as ever, with Roel shaping beats, electronics, and bass throb into perpetually mutating set-pieces of tripped-out design. Where change does enter in is in the tracks on which Roel collaborates with Cor Bolten (with whom Funckarma joined forces as Legiac for Sending Orbs) on many tracks and Kettel on one (a surprising plunge into heavily synthesized drum'n'bass on “Halfkriel”). In “Vertox Dreaming,” for example, the bright swizzle of Cor Bolten's synthesizers (Elka Syntex, Jupiter4) provides a strong counterpoint to Roel's characteristic low-end acrobatics. Much the same happens in “Cobaned Banner” when Bolten's Arp 2600 and System 100 synths squiggle and sputter in sharp contrast to Roel's bass-throbbing splatter. “Fiction Stub” likewise gives us the viral wobble and slam of Dubstoned paired with the smear and smudge of Cor Bolten's System 100. Though Vade appears overstuffed at sixteen tracks, it actually feels less so, simply because Roel only allows two of the tracks to exceed the five-minute mark. What also keeps things interesting is Roel's decision to complement the low-end dubstep-influenced sound he and his brother delivered on their Dubstoned series with wonky spaced-out excursions (“Ledge,” “Spi Trade,” “Vade”) as well as excursions into other electronic genres, including clubby trance-house (“Daze Flextone”), acid-soaked beatsmithing (“Martyrz”), and lilting acid-IDM (“Lyra Stellum”). No doubt Funckarma devotees hungry for new material won't be disappointed.

July 2010