Funckarma Vell Vagranz

Funckarma Vell Vagranz
On first listen, it would appear Dutch duo Funckarma have bitten off more than they can chew with their latest full-length, Vell Vagranz. For 70-plus minutes, brothers Don and Roel Funcken dip into everything from drum & bass to dub-step to ambient to hip-hop to a whole lot of in between. Yet what first comes off like a disorienting identity crisis eventually all starts to make sense, turning Vell Vagranz into a surprisingly cohesive piece of work. Much of this has to due with the Funckens' never-ending love for dark overtones and gritty, densely layered production work, which touches all 15 of these tracks. The pair also have a way with flow and transition, making the shifts go down easy, even when, for example, they go from the panicked hip-hop beats of "Deace" to the cosmic space-out of "The Other Dredge," the clear album highlight. Vell Vagranz is a challenging effort, no doubt, but also an ambitious one, giving you a lot to sink your teeth into and keep you coming back. (n5MD)