EP: FUNCKARMA – Dubstoned EP 1 (Highpoint Lowlife HPLL027 2008)

Dutch brothers Don and Roel Funcken have been stalwarts of the electronica scene for more than a decade now. Like many of their contemporaries, they have recorded together, or separately, under a whole host of pseudonyms – be it acid-tinged techno as Cane, experimental IDM as Quench, electro as Tronikgatan or warped hip hop as Shadow Huntaz (with rappers Breaff, Dream and Nongenetic). Funckarma was one of the brothers’ first aliases, and has remained one of their most used. The Funckarma sound is one of dark, dub-flavoured electronica. So it is perhaps no surprise to see them moving into dubstep territory with Dubstoned EP 1, their first release for Highpoint Lowlife.

Lead track “Woodface” has a slowed-down, distorted acid synth squelch melody over some brutal beats. “Pable Cath” starts out as a mellower affair, with proceedings dominated by a gurgling, twisting, metallic bass figure, and sweetened by occasional, distant synth washes. Things go a little overboard with “Flux Leav”, whose dirty, splattered kick-drum rhythm is overlaid by a whole mess of weird noises and effects to its detriment. “Senservice” uses virtually the same beats, but with a more focussed superstructure. It ends up sounding a bit generic, though. “Stube Dane” abandons the genre altogether, for a take on dark hip hop with a buzzing acid squelch which gets almost overwhelming.

Dubstoned EP 1 comes over at times as studio experimentation unreined, with scant regard for the finished music. The results on side two are fairly unsatisfying for that reason, with too much extraneous clutter. “Woodface” and “Pable Cath”, however, get the balance between rhythm and sound right, albeit in very different ways. Both are excellent, and bode well for further experiments in the series.

A1 Woodface 5:22
A2 Pable Cath 5:45
B1 Flux Leav 3:05
B2 Senservice 3:20
B3 Stub Dane 5:17




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