Apron Records boss Steven Julien (you’ll probably know him as Funkineven) drops a ‘mini-LP’ in the wake of his 2016 record Fallen. The meaning of Bloodline’s title is manifold, referring to Julien’s family, his musical influences, and the passing of Roland TR-808 creator Ikutaro Kakehashi in April 2017. As such, the six tracks here are built from the legendary drum machine upwards and are topped with 80s jazz-funk keyboards (‘IDK’, ‘Bloodline’) and sticky 303 basslines (‘Roll Of The Dice’).
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Bloodline is a concise 6-track mini-album from Steven Julien AKA FunkinEven. Hmmm... perhaps that should be FKA as it’s been a few years since he released a record under that name. It follows his well-received ‘Fallen’ album from 2016, also released via his own Apron Records label.
The ominous chiming ambient of ‘Hunt’ boots things off, like some new age drifter turning sour. Then things lunge into the rugged analogue electro-acid ripper ‘Roll Of The Dice’ with its ricocheting, crashing drums and tangy TB-303 squelching, zapping and melting. He flexes his TR-808 to the max on the title cut - a booming drum machine workout. ‘Apache’ retains and slightly ups the momentum with an assault of jackin’ claps and thundering kicks - a wonderful mutant strain of techno punctured by gloriously melancholy keys. Then we get the warped funk of ‘Queen Of Ungilsan’ which is a great example of how Julien’s productions, although clearly composed on machines don’t have that overly mechanical feel that often plagues so much contemporary house and techno. He really injects personality into his tracks - take the dynamic and soulful ‘IDK’ for example -- fundamentally its house/techno but it just ain't locked into the same rigid grid as most producers. I’m loving the family photo on the sleeve too.
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