Planet Mu Records founder Mike Paradinas is savvy enough to understand that most people find Venetian Snares hard to take. Although he has written thoughtful liner notes for many of composer Aaron Funk’s nearly 20 prior albums and EPs for the label, for Your Face–the latest Venetian Snares EP–he’s posted the supposed transcript of a group of septuagenarians reacting to the EP. “It’s beyond my comprehension. And there must be some merit in doing that sort of thing, but I can’t understand it,” remarks one generous listener. Would that everyone were so open-minded.

Funk releases so much music under the Venetian Snares moniker that the two year gap between his 2012 EP Fool the Detector and 2014 album My Love Is a Bulldozer qualifies as an extended hiatus. During those two years, Funk uploaded several videos to Facebook of his ever-growing modular synthesizer bank sputtering out otherworldly cacophonies. Fragmentary though they were, these videos contained some exciting sounds and resulted in high expectations when the upcoming full-length was announced. Bulldozer didn’t have much of the kind of material teased in the videos, but it was one of Funk’s most consistent albums in a long time—despite the pervasive vocal contributions, which polarized fans.

Since then, he’s returned to his usual rate of output, uploading a collection of unreleased Last Step tracks—which are even better than those included on the preceding album, Sleep—to Bandcamp before releasing Your Face this month. Some of Funk’s most innovative work is found on his EP’s—Cubist Reggae, for example, sounds exactly as you’d expect—and Your Face is yet another highly satisfying release from Venetian Snares, running a full 30 minutes and lacking any imperfections too substantial to be overlooked.

Funk seems determined, though, to mar one of his most elegant pieces when he throws a juvenile vocal interlude into opening track “Your Face When I Finally” so close to the end. But this brief passage is just one of a number of sonic episodes that make up the six-minute piece, which is the EP’s highlight. In fact, the piece modulates so quickly and so radically that it probably contains more unique sounds than the entire rest of the EP. And yet the piece is hauntingly beautiful, the chaos as usual tethered to a strict time signature. It feels almost like jazz in its structure, which alternates melody with lengthy deconstructive sections that morph entropically.

The question with a new Venetian Snares release is always this: is it just more of the same? This EP certainly contains some familiar elements, including wacky time signatures; a musical palette heavily derived from acid house; an evident and often crude sense of humor and Funk’s usual abrasive percussion. The Amen Break even makes an appearance in track three—no surprise there. However, ever since Fool the Detector, the level of intricacy and depth in Funk’s work has been at an unprecedented level. What’s most amazing, looking at his body of work, is how much vibrant life he’s been able to squeeze out of a pretty limited shtick. Most of the pieces on Your Face employ the fast beats/airy melody combination that Aphex Twin perfected back in 1996 with The Richard D. James Album; but electronic music offers composers an inexhaustible array of tools, and Funk is a restless pioneer—often surprising, always fascinating.

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