Sat June 26
1001 SE Morrison

Only in the insular, abstruse world of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music--cough, cough) would an album like Disconnected be considered a "pop" deviation. On Disconnected, Funkstörung's long-awaited follow-up to their phemomenal 2000 debut, Appetite for Disctruction, German producers Michael Fakesch and Chris De Luca use actual human singers and musicians along with their laptops. While their first full-length included some rapping, Disconnected abounds with both emceeing and honest-to-diva singing from Lamb's Louise Rhodes, Massive Attack's Sarah Jay, and Enik, who croons like a kraut male Bjork. Balancing out these dubious vocal contributions, Lex Records rapper Tes, Sonicsum's Rob Sonic, and beatboxer Mark Boombastic add crucial hiphop flavor to Funkstörung's typically compelling arrangements.

As you can gather, Disconnected is a mixed bag. At its worst ("Sleeping Beauty," "Like a Poet," "Moon Addicted"), Disconnected sounds like bleached, coffeehouse trip-hop, afflicted with soporific funk rhythms and melodramatic melodies and singing. The last two named cuts feature Enik's awkward "soul" vocalese, which, like sawdust sandwiches, is a taste many may find hard to acquire. But at its best (the three avant-hiphop tracks with Tes and Rob Sonic), Disconnected sounds startlingly vital. In this mode, Funkstorung challenge Prefuse 73, Dabrye, and Push Button Objects for glitch-hop supremacy.

Disconnected undoubtedly brings more emotional heft and instrumental warmth than did Disctruction. But we don't come to Funkstörung for these qualities. We want crazy-angled rhythms, textures that crackle and fizz with deconstructive brio, beats that snap your sacroiliac. We want funk that sounds as if it's coming through radio interference and faulty modem connections. Funkstörung have dissipated their strengths at the expense of becoming more "musical" and "organic." Sometimes artistic growth diminishes a band's music. Record store used bins are cluttered with such examples.