Review: Releasing Obsessed on a label other than Sandwell District must have felt strange to Function. However, like "Ember", the US producer's final outing for the now defunct imprint, "Obsessed" is an understated affair. Closer to early Speedy J and Warp's Intelligent Techno series than the austere rhythms of Sandwell, its dreamy synths unravel to reveal a cacophony of bleeps and a lithe rhythm that never quite makes it onto the dance floor. Substance's version starts in a similar vein, but the Berlin producer maintains a wiry, minimal rhythm throughout, which acts as the basis for a gradual shift into grinding metallic riffs. Scuba's SCB edit is the most dance floor friendly track, the snappy, hissing percussion and stacatto, clattering drums underpinning an effective, building filter.
Review: It seems incredible to think that despite his nearly 20 years of production experience, Dave Sumner hasn't released a full Function album until 2013. Thankfully Incubation proves it's been well worth the wait with the Sandwell District member really stretching his legs out for one of those techno albums that is most definitely an album experience. This nine track set bristles with great ideas and murky atmospherics, combining dystopian sci-fi soundtrack textures with the precision techno he's become known for. There are robust dancefloor tracks - see the murky acid techno of "Against The Wall" and sweaty "Modifier" - but also moments of intense, melodic beauty, from the crystalline bliss of "Counterpoint", to the dreamy hypnotism of "Inter (album version)".
Review: Existenz is Dave Sumner's third artist album as Function, and it partly ushers in a change in style. While there are echoes of his typical brooding, hypnotic techno on the mysterious, acid-tinged "Nylon Mood" and the heads-down roller, "Golden Dawn" - which features Stefanie Parnow - much of the album comprises a more mellow mood. There's the wonderfully hypnotic 90s ambient of "The Approach" and "Sagittarius A (Right Ascension)", while Function hooks up with vocalist Robert Owens to do deep house on the layered, textured "Growth Cycle". It's without doubt Function's most diverse long player, and ranges from the rickety electro of "Pleasure Discipline" to the dub shanty of "Interdimensional Interference".
Review: Dave Sumner's debut album as Function was one of this year's most anticipated and finest LPs. Atypically, this remix package sees the commissioned producers deliver versions that measure up to the original material. On the dance floor end, there's Rrose's punishing take on "Against The Wall", which starts with a hypnotic, linear rhythm that descends into distorted mayhem, while Recondite's version of "Incubation" marries dramatic filters and insistent bleeps to reach a climax. But when the remixers go as deep as the author, the results are truly fascinating. NSI's take on "Inter" is a sprawling, jazzed out interpretation of the original ambient track, while Vatican Shadow delivers an uncharacteristically melodic, acid-tinged version of "Psychic Warfare".
Review: Old flatmates Function and Ed Davenport (aka Inland) team up to deliver a two-track 12" of synthy techno that sounds like what Klaus Schultz and Kraftwerk might be making today if they were contemporary techno artists collaborating. You can really feel that Function is exploring his kosmische side of tonal and synth production on this release, while it's easy to assume that Inland, recently a proponent of dubby rhythm tracks, helps provide both pieces with a solid backbone, flecked with Function's trademark percussive sequences. Beginnings of a new project? We can only hope.
Review: Chris Liebing's label unveils the second release of their 10 Years cycle with a storming techno effort from South American producer Pfirter, an original Function Vs Mr Ibadan, a Jerome Sydenham number and accompanying remix from Liebing himself. With a nod to the techno of old, this release also ploughs its acclaimed cast head-first into the future.
Review: While it might be tricky in these open-minded times for Scuba to shatter preconceptions the way that he did with his Sub:Stance mix a few years ago, this compilation should be seen really as a celebration of the man himself as a DJ. After launching with a decidedly minimalist approach, the mix meanders between pacey techno, bluesy broken beat and rolling dubstep tempos. At times the flow feels unsteady, but then it just rings true that he put this mix together for himself. Without a dancefloor to look after, who knows where many of our favourite DJs might take us?