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Norman Records

Function - Incubation

Recommended by us on 1st March 2013. 2 people love me. Be the 3rd...

Incubation by Function
  • CD £11.49 + £0.00 shipping, based on your current cart
  • CD on Ostgut Ton (OSTGUTCD24)
  • Artist: Function
  • Label: Ostgut Ton
  • Genres: Techno
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  • Double vinyl LP £14.79 + £3.70 shipping, based on your current cart
  • 2 x LP on Ostgut Ton (OSTGUTLP12)
  • Artist: Function
  • Label: Ostgut Ton
  • Genres: Techno
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Disclaimer: all reviews are simply the personal opinions of our staff and customers. They are not the official opinion of Norman Records as a whole. More details here...OK?
(1 review) 9/10


9/10 according to on Fri 01 Mar, 2013

David Sumner has been recording and releasing records as Function  since 1996 when he first emerged on fellow NYC techno don Damon Wild's Synewave label and later went on to spawn his Infrastructure New York label in 1998 with the release of  'The Dielectric Coefficient' which really blew me away at the time. He's been prolific in the 12" format but has never released an album as Function until now. His role as part of Sandwell District increased his profile somewhat along with the success of 2007's 'Isolation' 12" which was a benchmark in what is often referred to as the "Berghain sound" It's no surprise then that his debut album should emerge on Berghain associated label Ostgut Ton. His distillation of early Sahko and Basic Channel continues to influence the current wave of deep droning, delay and reverb  coated techno.

'Voiceprint' sets the scene with a vocal snippet, bleepy melodies and brooding bass all plastered in cavernous delay before 'Against The Wall' plunges deep into small hours hypnotic and mesmerising techno complete with bubbling acid. It becomes clear at this point that Sumner has upped his game as the production here is immaculate. 'Counterpoint' is a tingle inducing burst of shimmering beatless techno that demonstrates his scope as a producer and his abilities beyond the dancefloor productions. Fear not as 'Modifier' is aimed squarely at the floor, functional and perhaps minimal on the surface to begin with but really a ton happening as the creepy and dark atmospherics unfold. It reminds me a little of what Milton Bradley has been up to. Again tweaked to perfection with assistance from fellow Berlin resident Tobias Freund taking care of mixing duties.

The darkness increases with the gloomy 'Incubation (Duties)' with widescreen synths really complementing the almost paranoid sounding drum loops and painting a dystopian sci-fi landscape. Meanwhile 'Inter' recalls Basic Channel with sweet dubbed out keys and a French dialogue sample that adds an extra dimension. 'Voiceprint' stomps hard with a pounder of a kick, lush atmospherics and a very "classic" techno feel making me think of a cross between Urban Tribe's 'Insolitology' and Eon's 'Kind of Living'.

'Psychic Warfare' is perfect for those moments of being lost in smoke and strobes with its potent atmospherics and subtle darkside acid. 'Gradient I' closes the CD edition but more on that when the 12" drops.

If like me you've been following this guy for many years or have been enjoying his later output on and with Sandwell District then I can totally recommend 'Incubation' as it's a "proper" album that will sound immense during club play but equally as satisfying listening at home. In a week where Autechre will no doubt be grabbing most attention in the world of electronic music do take the time to check out this record. An album that effortlessly balances hypnotic rhythms with dark brooding bass and some genuinely gorgeous, tender moments. Highly recommended and to these ears well worth the wait, showing just how much Sumner has evolved and refined his sound and grown as artist.


Press release

* An original electronic disciple hailing from New York, Sandwell District's David Sumner a.k.a Function presents his debut album 'Incubation' on Ostgut Ton.

* Like the soundtrack to a suspenseful Techno-thriller, or retro-futurist Sci-Fi tale, it's a modern sound journey heavy on imagery. Over nine tracks we are guided through the varying moods and scenes of Function's musical temperament. Be it through writhing layered club tracks, soaring string-led atmospheres, or melodic pieces founded on classic electronic traditions, 'Incubation' marks a new level of maturity for the Berlin-based producer.

* What begins as a lush and blossoming lesson in ambient synth arrangements, with the beautiful arpeggios and waveforms of 'Voiceprint', quickly drops off the apex and into the depths of Function's filtering acid world as 'Against The Wall' unfolds. This metallic, acidic concept is explored further too, in the final moments of the album with the chilling 'Psychic Warfare'.
A spiraling, organic surge of warm synth tones and other-worldly arpeggios unravels itself in 'Counterpoint', acting as an early bridge between some of the drum-led studies that follow. And thus, the pressure increases. 'Modifier' presents itself with tight, snaking drum patterns and tense, late 90s kinetic warehouse energy.

* Opening a path into an alternate, yet not too distant dimension then, 'Incubation (Ritual)' takes form; it's haunting and graceful waves of synths continue the Sci-Fi theme, while the tough modulating bass undercurrent reminds us of Function's big-room Techno appeal.

* The final moments of 'Incubation (Ritual)' glide effortlessly into the album version of 'Inter', where ethereal melodies and snippets of spoken word surround a classic IDM-Deep-House core.
*'Voiceprint' returns as a (Reprise) version, in what could become the crossover club track of the year. Coming on like a classic R&S or Soma release circa '95, the undulating synths are now caught in a rapturous groove, urged on by a perfect 909 drum pattern and forward pushing, precise arrangement.

* Taking the minimalistic, hypnotising mantra of previous Function 12''s like 'Isolation' or 'Burn' to another level, 'Psychic Warfare' brings the voyage to a a close, it's overlapping, ebbing metallic acid tones inducing equal measures of tension and elation.
In the CD version of the album, 'Gradient I' concludes the voyage. Earthy, modulating bass and 808 patterns merge as a cyclic, audio resolution occurs. With a final, intense atmospheric wash we find ourselves re-born, out in the ether, having witnessed an event of great weight and substance.

* In the final mixing stages of the album Function brought the material to cult engineer and producer Tobias Freund (NSI). Since 1980, working with the legendary Frank Farian, Freund's skills helped bring acts like the controversial Grammy award-winning Milli Vanilli to fame, and he would pioneer early European Techno and Electronica through his Sieg Über Die Sonne project (with Dandy Jack). Function chose Tobias to do his work justice, and add his years of mix experience to this ambitious, succinct and artistic album.

* Bound in mysticism, forged through experience, 'Incubation' is a bold and powerful album from one of modern Techno's key players. Inclined to hold back, rather than release too much, Function has let his sound develop and mature, fusing analog synths and drums with modern production techniques to create something unique and timeless.



A1 Voiceprint  //  A2 Against The Wall
B1 Counterpoint  //  B2 Modifier
C1 Incubation (Ritual)  //  C2 Inter (Album Version)
D1 Voiceprint (Reprise)  //  D1 Psychic Warfare


01. Voiceprint | 02. Against The Wall | 03. Counterpoint | 04. Modifier | 05. Incubation (Ritual) | 06. Inter (Album Version) | 07. Voiceprint (Reprise) | 08. Psychic Warfare | 09. Gradient I

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