Sun June 8
When word on the street is that Björk is looking for you, and you're not bothering to return calls from Aphex Twin's Richard James, you know you got some shit goin' on--Autechre on line two? Voice mail, puuuhlease! This mad amount of high-profile attention seems be the new daily regimen for Munich-based postmodernist electronic duo Funkstörung (AKA Michael Fakesch and Chris de Luca), whose atmospheric and experimentally driven techno, electro, and hiphop forays are keeping their phones ringing steadily.
One of IDM's biggest challenges is finding a way to push into new, uncharted musical landscapes while retaining enough human nuance that the tracks don't come off like pure technique explorations. Listening to Funkstörung's 1999 remix compilation, !K7's Additional Productions, the first thing I notice is its functionality; Björk's "All Is Full of Love" is transformed into a minimalist movement that pulses, stutters, and swells through experimental electronic tones while retaining all of the original song's sexuality. Wu-Tang Clan's "Reunited" gets the same adventurous treatment without losing its trademark grit and rawness. Though Funkstörung have gained much notoriety for their remixes, many underground followers consider their full-length debut, 2000's Appetite for Disctruction (!K7), a masterpiece. Again, their music winds through complex experimental rhythms and tones--at times becoming jagged, off-kilter, and harsh with a lo-fi techno edge--but they manage to keep things balanced with a cerebral sensuality that many IDM artists often lack.
I think much of Funkstörung's successful ideology can be traced back to their roots in originally producing pure techno. In the mid-'90s, the duo also put out releases on experimental labels like Bunker and Compost--which led to offers from Aphex Twin's Rephlex label. They eventually formed their own label, Musik Aus Strom which attracted an underground cult following, setting the stage for the two to tackle other influences--hiphop instrumentals, downtempo, dance beats, and remixes. You might not be hearing Funkstörung's music while shopping in the housewares aisle right now, but five or 10 years down the line, their innovative style will be part of our everyday sonic experience.