- AMAM025CD - Renato Figoli - Funkoholic - CD Album
‘Ladies and gentlemen, we are going through an area of turbulence, we ask all passengers to remain seated, with your seatbelts fastened...’
Anyone who’s ever experienced the treacherous descent to Cagliari airport will totally understand Renato Figoli’s fear of flying, but in contrast to the loudspeaker announcement that introduces Funkoholic, the Sardinian producer’s album is anything but turbulent – the smoothest of takeoffs, superb in-flight entertainment and controlled touchdown make it an early contender for one of 2013’s most rewarding listens, not to mention one of AMAM's strongest entries to date.
Renato has been drifting on and off the electronic radar for the best part of eight years since a flurry of releases on Lo Fi Stereo, Gumption and Trapez launched him into prominence. During this timeframe, he also linked up with a teenage Alessio Mereu, who, under Renato's guidance, learned the ins and outs of production with Logic. Now that Alessio's label AMAM has built up an international audience over the past few years, it seemed the perfect home for Renato's new full-length record, his first in five years. Funkoholic closes the loop in a musical sense, allowing Renato the scope to fully realise his potential while setting out a musical doctrine that merges deep techno, funk, dub, jazz and ambience in a truly idiosyncratic manner.
The album consists of nine tracks, each linked by elegantly crafted ambient transitions that leave the listener in a state of suspended animation. This constant alternation between inner space and outer space is one of the album’s defining features, balancing style and content in equal measures. It also allows Renato to patiently strip down his arrangements – something that’s not always possible on a single track or EP – to reveal the complex internal workings of ideas that have clearly evolved through endless late-night sonic excursions.
His music has always sung in a language of its own: the chord progressions, fat, rolling bass lines and quirky rhythms instantly recognisable to anyone acquainted with his sound. Here, though, he takes the formula one step further, inviting jazz guitarist Carlo Ditta and trumpeter Mario Massa to add their virtuosity to the proceedings. In fact, their classy improvisations dominate the opening section of the album, adding an additional dimension to the epic soundscapes of “Underpool” and the raw, shuffling title track “Funkoholic”, while Neville Attree’s commentary on the double-edged nature of obsession lends …anymore a dark, brooding energy.
Switching to autopilot, “And Again” is a fine example of how peripheral elements from one track can slowly move to the foreground to become the central focus of the next, while “Buck a Guy” returns to classic Figoli territory, turning the screw with a twisting acid loop designed to bounce on through till morning. Renato’s in no hurry to tear up the dancefloor, however, as “Call One” slows things down to a deep, throbbing groove, again utilising Ditta’s deft finger work in a spontaneous merging of minds that could only emanate from Sardinian shores. “Super Lemon Vapor” dives even deeper into the subconscious with tripped out metallic FX skipping and sliding through the hidden gateway to a smoker’s paradise. This all sets the scene for one final push as the twin forces of “Morning” and “Night Express” up the tempo in a powerful burst of cyclic energy.
Turbulence or not, when Renato’s at the controls, the crowd will be out of their seats and dancing in the aisles. Thank you for flying with AMAM and we wish you a pleasant journey...