Function delivers Existenz, his first solo LP since 2013’s Incubation. Known largely as a techno savant, Existenz actually locks into a more cerebral and considered sound than some of Function’s previous releases. There are, for instance, a fair few new age and hypnagogic influences to be found throughout the album, a flex that pushes this particular plane of Existenz towards the sound of Answer Code Request’s recent LP for Ostgut Ton. Robert Owens and Stefanie Parnow guest.
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Despite the fact that NYC producer David Sumner aka Function has been producing tracks that have been moving bodies across the globe for around a quarter of a century, ‘Slowly Dismantling’ is only the artist's second solo album. Ostgut Ton released his first album back in 2013 which was swiftly followed up by a collaborative album with Vatican Shadow on Hospital Productions. That’s not to say Sumner isn’t a busy guy - he’s been running his ace Infrastructure label since the late ‘90s, has a busy DJ schedule, was a member of Sandwell District, held a residency at legendary NYC spot The Limelight back in the day... The list goes on.
All of those years immersed in nightlife, underground club/party culture, techno etc. seem to have been channelled into this initially overwhelming, epic album - this thing is LONG with seventeen tracks spread across eight sides of wax and double CD. In many ways, 'Slowly Dismantling' joins the dots between Chicago, Detroit, New York and Berlin and is an often stark departure from the driving spaced out big room techno for which Sumner is perhaps best known. The album elegantly flows with immaculate, pristine production, taking us on a blissful journey through psychedelic afterhours celestial deep techno/house/acid and beyond. There’s a distinct oldskool flavour to many of the tracks but it’s never overly nostalgic or purely retro - it’s more that it captures the essence and spirit of classic house and techno while retaining a sound and aesthetic that’s recognizable as Function productions despite the stylistic shift. His sounds gleam, sparkle and shimmer in all the right places making for a real sublime vibe that lies somewhere between Mr Fingers and Beltram at his most cosmic circa his ‘Caliber’ EP on Warp. New York city’s dance music heritage can be felt through many of these tracks - several moments are evocative of those melancholy sunrise moments somewhere at an illegal warehouse party. He even deploys the odd breakbeat, classic sample, plus legendary Fingers Inc. vocalist Robert Owens even shows up on a coupla tracks! Been coming back to this album and it’s a real grower.
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