Montreal based producer Adam Feingold’s debut for Funkineven’s Apron Records is, in some ways, a neat encapsulation of many of the elements that have become the labels defining aural ethos. The gnarly beats and distortions, the growly acid motifs and the general tough, streetwise Techno vibe already have their place in records by Funkineven himself, as well as those by Greg Beato. This isn’t to suggest any sort of narrow sonic bandwidth, though; Funkineven is too canny for that, as releases by the likes Seven Davis Jr and Lord Tusk testify too. What it does suggest is a label head whose tastes run to a particularly skewed and crooked form of acid soaked House.
Like Greg Beato, Feingold obviously shares his boss’s attraction to charred analogue chaos, and there is plenty of fuzzy madness here to get your head around. But that is really just the start of it, and on the whole the EP is surprisingly light in tone, considering how often it’s going to make your needle leap out of the groove. Once you get past the noise, there is so much more on offer.
At first listen, Jakhra is as heavy as any of his label-mates material, with a serrated, worn acid line dragging the hazy beats around from deep underneath. But once you lock into the swirling and airy pads the whole thing falls into place. There isn’t any of the manic nihilism of a Beato tune. Instead, the pads guide the music into a finely sublime state of grace, where it can unfold. It’s full of a playful aggression which is never allowed to dip too far into darkness and it gains a strength from it. It is the sort of tune that leads the dancers out of the raw work of the climb and onto the thin aired excitement of the plateau; Energising rather than all out jacking.
RVNG is less subtle. Fuelled by the pulse of demented electro it is rough-hewn body music finished in Canada but carved in the Netherlands. It has the gloriously messy lurch of I-F at his most debauched and, again like I-F, it never takes itself too seriously. It doesn’t feel as finished, though, as either of the tracks that bookend it, and it never quite reaches the delirium it promises, going off instead on an enjoyable but slightly meandering wander before seeming to chug to a bit of an uncertain ending.
Luust meanders too, but is far more assured. Below the surface noise and static is a beautiful, minimalistic (almost skeletal) piece of deep, deep house that rolls in on the back of some sunlight speckled synths and a sawing double bass that, along with the distant, ghostly jazz tinged keys, lends a sass and warmth to the vibe. And for all the jacking nature of that concrete kick, it remains a slight creature, and one that drifts in and out of your consciousness. A welcome respite from the snarl, and a sweet piece of grooving, auteur-ish House music. A solid début with plenty to look for in the future.