Boomkat Product Review:
Stellar new album from Dave Sumner’s Function - arguably a sequel or sibling work to Sandwell District’s seminal ‘Feed Forward’ classic - marking his first solo LP since 2013, and best in his catalogue.
Running to 17 songs and nearly 2 hours of material, ‘Existenz’ works away from puristic, kick drum-led club tools and instead limns a sort of autobiographical story of Sumner’s relationship to techno and electronic music, all framed around a Videodrome-styled (David Cronenberg also directed the album’s 1999 namesake film) kind of occult cable TV aesthetic and strong nods to his early love of ‘80s electro.
Recorded 2016-2019, ‘Existenz’ is bound to surprise anyone who thought he just made heavy club tracks, and may well highlight his role in Sandwell District’s ‘Feed Forward’ album, which is arguably the strongest comparison in terms of their shared tone of mood, diversity of texture and structure, and, ultimately, their mesmerising effect.
In total control of his sound, Function lures us into a labyrinthine, noirish sort of electronic thriller that embarks with the nostalgic Vangelis nods of ‘Sagittarius A (Right Ascension)’ and ends up drifting away in deeply romantic technohouse style with ‘Downtown 161’. What happens in between is primed for long headphone journeys and daily commutes, as the album weaves from spellbinding electro recalling E.R.P. to lush slow house featuring Robert Owens, to proper sci-fi electronic drones, samples of The Conet Project, and even breakbeat rollers, all interwoven with his signature acid and techno ligament and shine-eyed techno spirit.