Somnambule - Writing About Music

Funkstorung ~ Isolated, Triple Media

Funkstorung made available a number of photographs taken by friend of the band Mark McPherson on their website and invited the global digerati to visually remix them. They also invited various parties to submit videos and do remixes of their second album Disconnnected. So is the resulting Isolated a book, a dvd or a remix album? It’s all three and it makes a very handsome package indeed: the hardback book is full of glossy images, the dvd is sunk nicely into the rear cover, and the eight remixes can be grabbed from the DVD and played by your chosen mp3 player. Isolated provides an impressive visual splurge: bright digital hues, graphic idents, neo-spraycan touches and a wide range of pixel manipulation applied to still and moving image. From your preferred online vendor, the whole thing shouldn’t cost you more than a full price dvd which makes it remarkably good value. Those unconvinced by the recent songform direction of Michael Fakesch and Chris De Luca and the over-abundance of the Seal-meets-Micheal Stipe vocals of Enik may be rather less enthusiastic. Everything’s a remix in this laudable project, but the one near-constant seems to be Enik’s voice even though the talents of Sonicsum, Tes and Lamb’s Lou Rhodes are also present.

And there’s that hoary old question of meaning, of deeper value. What’s the subtext of all of this: does it achieve something more than the proverbial eye candy, touch deeper than the skin’s surface or differ significantly from Nike-style corporate marketeers? Perhaps if S. Pohflepp and I. Schmidt’s video of a slowly turning head hadn’t featured such a young and pretty woman or Modm hadn’t felt they needed to dis the office workers “sleepwalking” to work in their native city this might have felt like a more worthwhile project. On the other hand the alternately abstract, surreal, playful and at times frankly beautiful qualities of the work of Jewboy Corporation, Netzgiraffe, Triplesixtheories and many others balances these negative impressions out. Despite their frustrating brevity, it’s the shorter instrumental tracks and their accompanying videos which prove to be the most satisfying. Though it’s a distinctly mixed bag Isolated is a fascinating project that’s well worth checking out.
Colin Buttimer
November 2004
Published by Grooves magazine