Funkstoerung have most recently been working together as the co-producers of Jay Jay Johanson’s last album "Antenna" (2002). Chris de Luca recorded the album Deadly Wiz da Disko (2001) with Peabird. Then came the MAS_Confusion (2002) compilation, the most recent audible sign of life from Michael Fakesch, who on this release purified the archives of his own label, Musik aus Strom (Music from Electricity), for the public using the abstract dance music of acquainted artists. Funkstörung have resurfaced with their own work, much to the delight of many who will claim that they know what’s in store, that Funkstörung is as good as a promise of orchestrated deconstruction, electronic particle doctrine and unrestrained hiphop acrobatics. Their new album "Disconnected" holds true to this promise and, dear dogmatists, simultaneously delivers the ugly oath of disclosure of pop, put your claws back in, acoustic instruments and, bite your tongue now, real vocals. Even you, Funkstörung?
Funkstörung found Enik, who features surprisingly on almost every third song on the album, in the orchestra pit of the Munich Pathos Theater and were convinced of his talent within seconds. The capacity for suffering of this 23 year-old multi-instrumentalist can be heard both in his voice as well as his songwriting but without any threat of violence. The title track, "Disconnected", for example, is an absurdly beautiful blues pop song, with acoustic guitar and a laconic tempo full of enough supposed tribulation to make Hamburg artist Turner want to jump into the River Elbe wearing concrete shoes, not to mention the surrealistic theatricality that constantly recurs in the lyrics. One must question whether Enik has read Boris Vian‚Ä¶His vocal chords are blotchy in any case and sound little bit that way here, as if Marla Glen was actually a man, white and hailing from Bavaria. It’s hard to categorize Enik’s vocals, because he colors his voice differently depending on the song: sometimes soul singer, sometimes indie rocker. Funkstörung, on the search for widely defined influences, have really found the perfect cast here and they keep their own signature elegance in the background, without hiding it away. "Sleeping Beauty" is a whirring folk ballad with Lou Rhodes, whose participation is in return for a remix that Funstörung did for her band Lamb. The track "Captured in Tones" with Sarah Jay, known as a voice on Massive Attack’s "Mezzanine" album, also fits into the series of songs that openly declare their state as pop songs – you can actually hear a rock guitar on this one! Take heed, dear colleagues in the media opening the "Trip Hop" drawer, the Russian collection company, which brings in royalties for !K7, will get send after you!
Now to the final pledge of allegiance to all "Funkgestörten" – nobody would ever believe that Funkstörung have totally renounced shattered hiphop. There is the New Yorker MC Tes, who with a bit of imagination, good intention and without a clue, could also vocally pass for the hybrid bastard of Eminem and Quasimoto. Contact with Tes, who releases on Warp’s Lex Records, came about during Funkstörung’s US tour, which took the form of "open mike" sessions. In New York, Tes came onto the stage and it was soon clear that they’d work together in the future. It was a similar story with Hamburg Beatboxer Mark Boombastic, who during a presentation of of their remix album "Visa Versa" grabbed the mike and without prior planning, spat out complete basslines. Contact with Rob Sonic, also from New York, came about through the management of the Anti-Pop Consortium, who also take care of Sonicsum.
"Appetite for Disctruction", the last original Funkstörung album, is already four years old and, in the meantime, kids have been born, heads have been put together and a lot of work has been done. "We wanted to let ourselves be influenced by loads of people and work together with loads of people. We wanted to get out of our own headspace", says Michael Fakesch about the method behind "Disconnected". Those who have experienced the two guys from Rosenheim and their brand of complete empathy know that there is no coquettishness behind this. Of course, you could rightly claim that, as a result of their huge repertoire of remixes, they have always been involved with numerous influential artists, such as Björk, Wu-Tang-Clan and the Anti-Pop Consortium, and can see their at-times violent work as the opposite of being in their own "headspace". For Funkstörung, "Disconnected" is a notable leap into new musical territory, which didn’t happen altogether by coincidence. "Pure electronic music was starting to bore us, it was somehow no longer our thing and we had to free ourselves from this feeling. We have always had the remixes with vocals and acoustic instruments at the back of our minds and then searched intensively for instrumentalists", says Fakesch. In the past two years, Funkstörung have worked together with about thirty different musicians to find a trace of the right sound for their new vibe. Despite innumerable international contacts, they made the decisive discovery right in their own backyard. In the Munich studio "The Goldmine", they met a string of musicians who were crazy enough to set out on an adventure with some programmers who had suddenly developed a weakness for acoustic instruments – these artists would provide the many acoustic components of the new album. As a title, "Disconnected" can be widely interpreted. It can be even applied to the working method of Funkstörung. Extensive studio sessions with musician colleagues are not their thing. They prefer to work as a duo alone in the Rosenheim studio, letting the tracks fall into the FTP server. They’ve barely even set eyes on Enik. Communication is via music, in that Funkstörung prepare sketches and initial arrangements for their fellow musicians. They have a free hand and can decide for themselves how to compliment the piece. "How committed and independent the artists with whom we work are themselves is ultimately decisive. The principle can only work in that way. We are producers, not songwriters or instrumentalists and, in this sense, we are naturally ‘disconnected’, when we wait excitedly in our studio to see how it develops further." says Fakesch.
Integration and participation have always been a an integral part of Funkstörung’s progress. They even ran a visual remix competition for the album cover, to which about 400 designers submitted almost 700 pictures (online under www.funkstorung.com/isolate). Eleven of the pictures come as cards in the CD cover case, the rest will appear on DVD in autumn 2004 as videos for the tracks on "Disconnected".
By the way: despite requests, the final product will not include the chopped up interview that can be heard on the promo CD.