The Canadian-Prarie-fucker Aaron Funk finds himself in Hungary. While there, he imagines himself as a pigeon flying over the Királyi Palota (Buda Castle). No, he doesn’t just imagine what it would be like to fly over some fucking castle. He imagines what it would be like to be a cigarette-eating, white-shitting, moving-with-the-flock, ever-present pigeon. Motherfucker imagines a pigeon’s qualia. This led him into thinking about the Hungarian composer Rezső Seress, more particularly, his banned work “Szomorú Vasárnap”. Why was this shit banned? Urban legend goes that this song made people kill themselves. For real, the other name for the song is the “Hungarian Suicide Song”. Supposedly, not only did this song inspire multiple suicides, it got Rezső’s fiancée to ice herself. Poor Rezső’s fiancée. Poor fucking Rezső. The song was thought of as cursed. But this shit doesn’t fucking matter if you’re Billie fucking Holiday. “Wait,” you think, “Weren’t we just talking about some Hungarian dude or pigeons or some shit?” Don’t worry, like any good track, this shit comes full circle. Billie Holiday sang the “Hungarian Suicide Song” in English because she didn’t give a fuck. It’s titled “Gloomy Sunday”. The song was released throughout the US during the depression. Some folks didn’t like such a depressing song released during the depression. So the song was banned again. To this day stupid motherfuckers still think the song is cursed. You can go on YouTube and find silly people commenting below the song with shit like, “Shit didn’t work. I’m still alive!” Strange how we can be so influenced. Anyway, while imagining himself as a suicidal pigeon, Aaron Funk got inspired to make an album.
This is that motherfucking album.
Back in ’05, there were lots of electronic artists releasing orchestra samples alongside beats. It was a thing. So when this album first came out, cynical listeners said the one phrase that has haunted Venetian Snares (Aaron Funk) career ever since, “Aphex Twin did it first.” Because of this, this album didn’t get the rep it deserved. But this shit is way more than string and beats, it’s modern classical music. On track 5 alone you have samples of: Bartók, Stravinsky, Mahler, Franz Waxman, and Paganini. Not only is it thick with classical, the strings seamlessly align with Aaron’s rhythms. They aren’t on either side of the room shyly looking at each other. This shit isn’t a high school dance. A sample of Billy Holiday’s “Gloomy Sunday” is sampled on Aaron’s “Öngyilkos Vasárnap” alongside some jazz noises and breakbeats. This album’s got more layers than a Canadian onion dressed for a snowstorm.
Saying all of this might make the album sound top heavy, all intellect without any ground. Shit ain’t true. This album plays easily through a room. Aaron didn’t just add string to beats, he combined the two in a way to point to a singular theme. Lots of motherfuckers, especially those of a certain generation and mindset, have judged electronic music as being made for kids on a shitton of drugs. As a wee tot, a cop visited my school. He said to a bunch of kids trying to eat their t-shirts, “Gotta give it to those electronic artists. They’re smart. The only way to keep dancing to beats that fast is to take life-ruining drugs.” Electronic music gets a bad rep. Strange to think the same fucking thing happened to some classical and jazz. Aaron puts these songs on an album which translates as “Born Under a Bad Star”. This concept is big and its execution is smooth. Shit could get you staring up at a flock of pigeons one day, feeling both distant and connected to them at once, and thinking about some fucked up Hungarian songs, Billie Holiday, and how cultures control which music people listen to until they’re like a flock of mindless creatures. Either that, or this album is about some birds. Your choice.