All That Spazz: Venetian Snares and Otto's Breakcore Brouhaha
Venetian Snares and Otto Von Schirach represent two significant aspects of what's left of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music), a loose rubric of electronic music that's mainly the province of misfits who—broadly speaking—dislike dance music's sleek 4/4 functionalism and mainstream electronica's syrupy song stylings. Both acts favor a kind of hyperkinetic maximalism (especially Von Schirach), whose rapid, crazy-angled rhythms and extreme textures threaten to subvert your equilibrium and sanity. These provocative producers push buttons in order to push your buttons.
Von Schirach came up through Miami highbrow lab Schematic Records, but he was always the rowdiest joker in a bunch that included Phoenecia, Richard Devine, and Dino Felipe. Amid Schematic's PhD-level sound designing, OVS was the guy who'd sample his grandmother's farts in order to build percussion tracks. He's the dude who told me in an interview, "I just finger-fuck my [laptop] until it screams out some tornado of sliced puke nuggets." Word.
Von Schirach's early works—especially 8000 B.C. and Escalo Frio—remain his most interesting. There he balanced his slapstick tendencies with his risk-taking imagination, resulting in cuts that sounded like alien digestive systems regurgitating in weird time signatures devised by a MENSA-smart crystal-meth addict. Were you double-jointed and blessed with six limbs, you could dance to this shit. Mostly, though, his material's primary purpose is to violate your ears and disorient the hell out of you.
Later OVS releases such as Maxipad Detention and Oozing Bass Spasms find him mutating ghetto-tech to more ass-squeezing ends. In his filthy hands, bass is a four-letter word. If his early output was akin to Cronenberg and Lynch at their ickiest, Von Schirach's latest productions are XXX-treme to the Max (Hardcore). Clubs should dispense full-body condoms for his sets.
On the other busy hand, Venetian Snares (Canadian track machine Aaron Funk) channels his spastic production tics into compositions that splat with slightly less grotesque impact and rely less on lurid FX. Far from a one-trick pony, Venetian Snares started as a drill 'n' bass/breakcore daredevil. His tracks matched Photek's for rhythmic complexity, but they hit with the Van Damme–like crushing impact of artists like DJ Scud and Alec Empire.
While some of Venetian Snares' work is geared toward a sort of mentasmic gabber mindset, he's also composed some sophisticated orchestral pieces on albums such as My Downfall and Rossz Csillag Alatt Született. Venetian Snares' latest album, Detrimentalist (which gives this tour its name: Detrimentalist Disco Wibble), combines early jungle's chaotic clatter and ragga's alpha-male energy with Squarepusher's manic, impossibly intricate breakbeats.
That two dudes as strange and uncompromising as Funk and Von Schirach can headline a national tour is a triumph of the freaky geek.