12″ EP, Lovethechaos, 2007
Though Quench is not a new project, Dutch electronic musicians Don and Roel Funcken are surely better known for their extensive discography as Funckarma, as well as their participation in the experimental hip-hop group Shadow Huntaz.
Already critically acclaimed artists, expectations would naturally be high for their latest release on the young Spanish label Lovethechaos. In fact, my main (well actually, only) complaint concerning this recording is that it is too short in duration and, after listening, I’m left wondering, “was that it…?” Though somewhat similar to Funckarma, the musical approach in Quench is different, with much stronger emphasis on melodic components and feeling, relegating infectious breakbeats to an essentially supportive role in the music’s background.
“Fanion,” the latest result of this musical approach by the Funcken brothers, is a collection of four complex, yet definitely still quite laidback compositions, each track an example of skilful and precise composition and great attention to detail. Interestingly, while there is quite a bit of detail to be found in Quench’s music there is also a certain sense of sobriety to it, as the two composers don’t allow themselves to use sound elements beyond those which are strictly necessary. The end result is a rather enjoyable listening experience, which is nevertheless seriously marred by the short duration of this release. Despite the quality of Quench’s music, “Fanion” still feels like “just four tracks” – something that could be compensated with the kind of coherence and space for variation that usually comes with a full-length release and which this kind of laidback music needs.
Lovethechaos releases have a tendency for top-notch design and artwork and “Fanion” is no exception. While not a component relevant to the release’s musical quality, the piece of experimental urban collage on the cover is worthy of note, especially when considering its 12″ size compared to a CD’s smaller packaging. It’s worth referring to those for whom the eye-candy factor may hold some importance.
In short, the aptly titled “Fanion” feels like a marker in a sonic exploration in progress that, if pursued, may well be quite interesting. Further releases by this Dutch duo will surely be quite welcome.
— Miguel de Sousa