There’s a sense of humour and self-deprecation to much that Funkineven does; dressing up as a Roman centurion for music videos, using one-off names such as Stevie J & the Revolution or sampling kids’ television themes to devastating effect. Combined with the undoubted talent shown on his musical output to date, it makes Funkineven quite the refreshing figure in the face of so many producers that preside over snarky Twitter accounts or deal in deadly serious black and white press shots.
That sense of humour is very much apparent on this self-titled EP from the producer under his latest guise, St. Julien. It’s there as soon as you pick up the record, with a slightly foreboding image of a dandy clad in velvet and rocking a cravat, caressing a woman’s neck adorning the cover art. Is it a still lifted from some camp ’70s Giallo horror film, or Funkineven himself? Given his penchant for dressing the part you can’t rule the latter out.
Regardless, the humour transfers to lead track “Jupiter” that is powered forth by some stomping drums that sound steadfastly glam rock. The rest of the production is gloriously over the top too, with a jagged EBM frequency filtered in and out of focus, anchored around a squalling note that could feasibly be a scream sampled from a Dario Argento film. The EP itself has been presented as Funkineven indulging some of his more esoteric leanings for primitive forms of electronic music such as industrial and cold wave, and it’s a mark of his skills behind a mixing desk that these influences appear in subtle ways.
“St Julien” is probably the one track where these influences are displayed quite overtly, a 140BPM blast through metallic synth-pop arrangements that opens up into languid synth lines and a cheap arpeggio. The results sound like an instrumental love letter to cold wave classics like Jeunesse D’ Ivoire’s “A Gift of Tears”, and it’s intriguing to see Funkineven expand his production palette in this manner. Face down and “Lazor” is a deadly exercise in precision electro DJ tools flushed with acid that fans of the Apron boss with straighter tastes will probably gravitate towards, akin to much of his recent work under his more familiar Funkineven guise. There is still plenty of humour nudged deep into the channels though, in the intermittent vocal edits and the choral harmonies that make an appearance with the track in full flow.
A2. St. Julien