Boomkat Product Review:
Marking their first all-new full-length since 2006's Bion Glent, Don and Roel Funcken return via that most ardent and enduring electronica imprint, n5MD. The first thing to strike you about Vell Vagranz is just how far Funckarma seem to have embraced dubstep and slower rhythms in general. 'Woodfaced' showcases this newfound restraint, deploying fearsome, sawblade basslines to match up with grinding kick-snare combos. Keeping the tempo down, 'Kinnex' adds a little atmosphere by throwing operatic vocals into the mix - consequently it's a good deal weirder than your average dubstep outing, which is precisely as shoulf be the case from these producers. Things take a turn towards the surreal with 'Magaz Stinged', during which familiar Funckarma hallmarks begin to emerge: complex melodic labyrinths and irregular, jolting drum patterns. The unexpectedly straight drum & bass of 'Fraid Shim' comes as something of a surprise, sounding even stranger than the twisted dubstep sculptures from earlier, or for that matter the sinister ambient jazz evident on tracks like 'Darker Days' and 'Basszen'. Vell Vagranz is a clear move away from the sort of material we might have come to expect from Funckarma, but it's an evolutionary step that's not so dramatic as to alienate any established devotees of the Dutch duo, and it might well find them one or two new fans along the way.