I’ve been fascinated with the Funcken sound ever since I heard Funckarma in the early 2000 on labels such as Djak-Up-Bitch, Sublight, n5MD, and Neo Ouija. There was more to the brothers’, Don and Roel, glitchy beats that was labeled as IDM back in those days. There was also their Quench project, as well as an experimental hip-hop outfit called Shadow Huntaz, and you know that I’ve managed to pick up the vinyl pressings for each of their releases. In 2010, Roel kicked off his solo career signing onto Ad Noiseam label, with Vade and Mercury Retrograde prominently scoring top spots on Headphone Commute’s best of the year lists. So you can definitely say that decades later I’m still a fan!
On Iridium Flare we hear the top-notch electronic production that we expect from the Funcken industry of sound, meshed up, cut-up, broken and re-arranged again, all with a blanket of gorgeous atmospheres, spacious soundscapes and just the right amount of memorable melodies to keep your brain tuned in. Here, invisible metal objects unfurl from within their constructed confines, glitching along the way through their mechanical lifestyles, wrapped over by curtains of cinematic textures, twisted, unhinged, and finally left on their own to breathe and evolve. There is more to the intelligent design behind each and every track that meets the ear, and I can only imagine what goes through the Funcken mind when challenged with the path to take on next. What is behind each door and why is this mystery so exquisite? Perhaps one day we will find out!
Roel has also made more than a few exclusive mixes for Headphone Commute podcast, featuring some of his favorite selections in the ambient, experimental and modern classical scenes (see the latest, four-part The Voynich Manuscript Mix). The reason I mention this, is because the more beatless selections in his audio collages are clearly audible as the influences for his solo work. That fact alone is truly inspirational [at least for me] – knowing that we share the passion for a range of genres helps me peel back the layers in his music to reveal and always discover something new. Plus, the Voynich Manuscript is an upcoming album from Legiac, yet another project with Roel at the steering wheel. Iridium Flare is highly recommended for fans of everything delicious for the cranium, and for those that are [somehow amazingly] new to the Funcken sound, check out their entire digital discography on bandcamp at over 85% off – that’s 65 releases for only €35.59 or more!
Words by HC