Venetian Snares Venetian SnaresMy So-Called Life
Venetian Snares is the king of grunge. The good kind of grunge, the kind that you can taste when you’re kissing the speakers at a rave, or the speakers in dark, mangy, crowded clubs. Venetian Snares is obscene, Dadaist, surrealist, ultra-fast, he is the master of breakcore, of songs that can only be reproduced with onomatopoeic expressions –zig-zag-pom-pom-fssss-boom-boom-rrrrrattt– while you stamp the floor and close your eyes tightly trying to assimilate the machine-gun blast of beautiful hardcore love that is coming down. Venetian Snares makes songs that give you strength to hit the street and reach the grimy goals of everyday life, songs that make you look people in the eyes angrily when you meet them in the street, and give you homicidal urges, but which can end up leaving you in an amphetamine embrace full of love for humanity. Like I said, the good kind of grunge.
“My So-Called Life” isn’t his best album, though. You might say that it has two fairly differentiated parts. One is better than the other and one is dirtier than the other. The first opens with “Posers and Camera Phones” –well known by Venetian Snares’ window-lickers: they’ve been playing it live for awhile now– and it lasts for six tough, fairly obvious songs ( “Cadaverous” , “Who Wants Cake”and “Ultraviolent Junglist” take the cake): jungle, happy hardcore, gabba, really broken breaks, choruses with subtle lyrics like “I fucking hate you,” “I come to every club with an intention to do harm,” “We suspect she may be retarded,” and “Aaron's heart was full of hatred.” In a moment of club / raver ecstasy, these declarations of hate, disgust, and violence can taste sweeter than honey mead. Driving a car on a day of fury, they can give meaning to thoughts about contributing actively to making the world a worse place. On a normal, everyday, dull day, they make you laugh. They are harmless and overworked. Venetian Snares has already done this four hundred times before, and a thousand times better and more toxic.
The second part is better. Four melancholy, spacey, melodic songs, with sombre harps and violins. Epic, lovely, euphoric, and triumphant, especially the last song, “My So-Called Life”, which seems like it was composed for eons, it’s so complex, but which Venetian Snares claims was done in a couple of days, like the rest of the songs. He also says that he would like this album to be understood as “the most immediate of my albums. In a literary comparison, it wouldn’t be a novel, but more like a collection of short stories. Better: entries in a diary.” Bad news: this argument is weak and childish, and the result is a collection of songs that are inconsistent, boring, and self-parodying. Good news is that the last four songs allow you to end your listening somewhat euphorically, and the author is still a big boss, even though the album is so sadly ephemeral. Oh well, you know what they say: shit happens.
Marta Hurtado de Mendoza
Venetian Snares - My So-Called Life