- Techno isn't simple, and it sometimes feels like Dave Sumner was placed on this earth as an extremely nuanced case in point. As a member of Sandwell District, the man known simply as Function has helped pen the dictionary definition of techno in the new millennium. Yet as immediately recognizable as the collective's sound is—chilly, brooding and enormous—they've shown there's more than one way to get there. Sumner's latest for the label, Ember, could easily be called The Many Faces of Function.
Aside from "Ember (Field)," a valley of ambience amidst craggy peaks, the EP is rough and tumble. "Descending" makes for the toughest track of the bunch, though its heavy pulse is only the tip of the iceberg: Function slips long phrases of noir-ish synths into the brew, lending the cut some surprisingly sophisticated dissonance and musicality. Though brief, "Picabia" nevertheless packs a punch with Function's signature noisy rimshots backing up warm, slowly developing chords. While "Inter" declines to pound as hard as "Descending," its shifty, shadowy melody makes for something at least as tense, and recalls much of the producer's best SD work. Function's techno may be uniformly looming and dark-hewn, but it certainly isn't monolithic.
B1 Ember (Field)