Function - Incubation (3 stars)

Expertly crafted exploration into the darker side of dance music

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Function - Incubation

(Ostgut Ton)

Sandwell District alumnus Dave Sumner, aka Function, goes on a solo odyssey, veering away from the techno stalwarts/defunct label with his debut foray into LP territory. Incubation sees him exploring his kinship with the darker side of dance music with an expertly crafted if occasionally bloodless release. At times this is both brilliant and unrelenting. It is precision crafted; diamond-like in its streamlined elegance and singularity of vision. He explores various strata of the dancefloor, using techno as his pilot light in a way that is at various times graceful, euphoric and pummelling.

But all this blinding efficiency at times leads you into a rather colourless void. The threadbare, overarching theme of the soundtrack to an imagined movie is evinced by the opener ‘Voiceprint’, exactly the kind of meandering, workmanlike synth atmos that intends to impart on the listener that this is a release of gravitas. Here it just delays proceedings before the deliciously macabre acid inflections of ‘Against The Wall’. We go deeper into the foreboding sonic miasma with ‘Modifer’, with its veneer of brooding synth swashes beckoning you into the stygian dancefloor gloom. By ‘Incubation (Ritual)’ any loose notions you had of being in some sonic narrative have long since evaporated -- you are being enveloped in a dark clubby fugue but the deft house signatures add a welcome brush of colour; the album’s only real concession to harmony.

The utterly brilliant ‘Voiceprint (Reprise)’ arrives like a breaking Atlantic wave, and gives you that same bracing sense of euphoria. Approach this record as you would the ocean; it has a chilling majesty, with an unyielding, sometimes overbearing, sense of purpose.

Function - Incubation prologue

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