Automotive: The Digil Parker Project

Quench: Caipruss

I'll confess I wasn't overly impressed with the Funcken brothers' recent remix collection Refurbished One but Caipruss, their fifth release under the Quench moniker, is another story altogether: the ridiculously prolific Dutch pair, who also issue music under the names Cane, Automotive, and Shadowhuntaz (with Non Genetic), delivers 13 samplings of polished electronic funk that stands head and shoulders above that remix outing.

Despite the music's seeming complexity, the Caipruss formula is fairly straightforward but nevertheless effective: galaxial tones languorously arc and intricate synth patterns writhe above while slippery beats of funk and hip-hop-influenced character lurch and rumble below. The collection is solid throughout but some moments stand out more than others: powered by a bass drum's heavy gut-punch, the opening “Slick” rides a slippery shuffle of rhythms and gleaming keys, while hip-hop and funk underpin the android melancholy of “Matics.” A prototypical study in contrasts, “Octane” pairs light-speed beat and synth percolations over a bass bottom that heaves like a dying elephant. Also notable are the elastic acid boogie of “Thaenailz” and the dizzying labyrinths of “Mangle.”

As if a full hour of new Quench material isn't enough, the Funckens assume the Automotive guise for an additional hour of material. Donning a different moniker is an appropriate gesture, given how different the latter's sound is from Quench's. The Digil Parker Project is both more exotic in sound, as the Funckens shift the sonic focus to woodwinds (primarily soprano saxophone in snake-charmer mode), guitar, and electric bass, more ‘natural' with its greater emphasis on acoustic instruments, and more hazily atmospheric; tracks like the sax meditation “Ontayso Theme” and lulling synth paradise “Juan Theme” seem worlds away from Caipruss. There's still an electronic dimension (though one often more subliminally felt) with the Funckens fashioning a small-group persona in like manner to Burnt Friedman's ‘live band' simulation in his recordings. Elements of jazz and post-rock sneak their way into the uptempo burner “Jugofu” while a lazy hip-hop feel pervades “Orirac” and “Paronez.” If anything, Caipruss and The Digil Parker Project demonstrate that it's virtually impossible to associate the Funckens with a singular overarching style.

September 2006