It's 2005 and Funkstörung should not be sounding as great as they do. Don't they know that most groups start to decline and embarrass themselves a decade into their careers? What's the matter with these Germans (Michael Fakesch and Chris De Luca)? It's reputation-tarnishing time, dudes. Didn't you get the memo?
Apparently not, because Funkstörung's new album for !K7, The Return to the Acid Planet, is fantastic. Unfortunately, it's available only as downloads from iTunes, although some promo double-pack vinyl versions are circulating(sorry, you can't buy mine).
Despite the format limitations, The Return to the Acid Planet brings back the duo's sound full circle. Fakesch and De Luca revisit and update tracks from their early EPs, and suddenly everything old is, if not exactly new, certainly freeeesssshhh. If you dig squelching Roland 303s (and what right-thinking Earthlings don't?), whip-crack funk rhythms that could make Kraftwerk pop wheelies on their bicycles, and scads of disorienting electronic FX, then Acid Planet is gonna make you sweat. Anyone who claims Germans lack the funk (I've heard such fools still exist) needs to hear this album—and much of Funkstörung's back catalog, for that matter.
On 2000's Appetite for Disctruction, Funkstörung cracked domes with IDM that balanced hiphop's rhythmic bravado with glitchwerks' fascinatingly disruptive textures. Funkstörung's last album, 2004's Disconnected, found them dabbling with song form, vocalists, and rappers—not always to stellar effect. While teasing out more of the group's latent hiphop instincts, Disconnected also revealed a fatal attraction to schmaltzy triphop-diva drama.
The disc was mostly a noble failure, but, like Autechre, to whom they're often compared, Funkstörung do not replicate their records in live situations. In fact, they exceed them, if the four gigs I've seen by them are indicative. On this tour, Funkstörung will be playing tracks off the latest album, cuts from their vast back catalog, and new material.
Philadelphia DJ/producer Josh Wink has experienced his own acid flashbacks: In 2003, he released 20 to 20, whose eight tracks expertly thread '80s Chicago acid-house 303 fibrillations with minimal-techno rhythms and tribal percussion. A decade earlier, Wink had an infatuation with acid house's randy squelch, too, scoring three European club hits with euphoria-inducers "Higher State of Consciousness," "Don't Laugh," and "I'm Ready."
Wink's commercial fortunes seem to fluctuate according to his hairstyle: the freakier it is, the more popular he becomes. Sporting wild, blond dreads in the mid-'90s, he was a superstar; now wearing it neatly shorn, he travels the underground-dance circuit. But, as his two Profound Sounds mix discs amply prove, Wink understands minimal techno's mesmerizing power almost as acutely as does Richie Hawtin—but without Hawtin's laughable coiffure. DAVE SEGAL
Funkstörung and Josh Wink play Sat Nov 19 at Chop Suey, 1325 E Madison St, 324-8000, 9 pm, $15 adv, 21+.