Novisad: Funkel

Funkel, Kristian Peters' third album under the Novisad name (Novisad and Seleya appeared on Tomlab in1998 and 2001 respectively), packs eighteen songs, all of them produced during a seven-year timespan, into a fleeting forty-two minute running time. As a result, the tracks' two-minute durations don't typically allow them to move through the conventional narrative stages one might encounter in a longer composition. As a result, most of Funkel's songs are even-flowing set-pieces that use layered loops to establish a mood and then hew to it for the duration. The material is also, by design, a concept album of sorts with all of the pieces created from guitar samples the Rostock, Germany-based producer (who has also issued material under his real name and as Adlib) collected over time and from different places, Peters having embraced the concept upon realizing the infinite potential the single instrument offers.

Despite whatever seeming limitations one might think an adherence to a single instrument would impose, Funkel's material reveals a generous range of variety. Acoustic lattices fall like raindrops during “Song 2,” crystalline, harp-like flutterings dominate “Untitled 4,” and stuttering filigrees of acoustic and electric guitars find Novisad firmly ensconced in Klimek territory during “Raindrops.” Aswim in a quiet sea of static hiss and pops, gentle strums evoke a tranquil country setting in “Untitled2” while a lilting percussion rhythm underscores blurry streams and gentle shadings in “Abbild.” The ambient haze Peters generates in “Yappari” indicates why Novisad's inclusion on Kompakt's Pop Ambient 2002 makes perfect sense. Though Peters asserts that the album material is built from guitar samples, the range of sounds sometimes suggests a broader range of sound sources; rippling pianos seem to appear alongside percussive rhythms and billowing lattices during “Untitled 9” but, then again, it's entirely possible that the sounds derive from heavily-treated guitar-generated material. Listeners hungry for compositions featuring dramatic peaks and valleys won't find them on Funkel; what they will find are eighteen, semi-static mood pieces tailor-made to induce reverie and reflection.

March 2009