Pigeon Funk: Proptronix Presents: Pigeon Funk!

Proptronix Presents: Pigeon Funk! cobbles together vinyl releases from Onitor and Matthew Curry's Proptronix labels onto a sixteen-track CD accompanied by two Quicktime videos (by Ruben Fleischer and Metronomic's Luis Briceno). Pigeon Funk isn't a nom de plume for a singular artist but in fact three: Safety Scissors (Curry), Kit Clayton, and Sutekh (Seth Horvitz), three of San Francisco's finest and familiar names to fans of laptop electronica. In truth, Curry and Horvitz share the greater number of tracks with Clayton dropping two only, plus Wobbly contributes a remix. But there's no pecking order here, as these strutting tracks are scattered about with music the sole ordering principle. There's nothing bird-brained about it either, as these flighty birds glide, twitch, and restlessly wander. Their feathers are multi-coloured too, with the general style of tech-house funk flavoured by dancehall, dub, and even bossa nova (“Poule Bossa”).

The three get their talons firmly into the meat of these smeared, glitch-laden tracks, resulting in no shortage of feather fluffing mayhem. Saftey Scissors contributes six pieces, and among the standouts are “Porpoise of Inent,” all skittering funkhouse and querulous coos, and “Opposite of Opossum” whose dirty dub-funk cage definitely needs cleaning. Clayton's excellent “Fly the Coop” and “Süsser Schlam” exude a springy dancehall feel, the latter an especially rollicking example, with sounds of pecking beaks and garbled chatter sprinkled throughout. Sutekh's seven tracks are uniformly strong, no surprise to listeners familiar with past works like Fell and Incest: Live. Dancehall subtly seeps into his grooves too on “Dur Et Sec” alongside burbling bass lines and dubby flutter. The slinky bass and beak bobbing techno of “Gås Gås Anka” prove irresistible, as does “Pigeon Lips” where abrasive two-note surges declaim overtop a complex array of squelches, crackles, and creaks. With the jittery, slamming funk of “Mocito,” Sutekh even swoops into Soft Pink Truth territory. The only misstep is “Pombo Doente,” a collage of electronic chatter, orchestral sampling, and voiceover which is too messy, but this small rogue hardly spoils one's impression of the flock. Certainly jazz greats like Charlie “Bird” Parker (“Ornithology,” “Carvin' the Bird”) and Ornette Coleman (“Bird Food”) have long paid tribute to our feathered compadres, so why shouldn't electronic artists do the same?

May 2004