Interestingly, Funke does not give in to the faddishness that characterises many mixes – this is most definitely not “Sascha Funke plays the minimal hits of 2005”. True, there are tips of the hat to current favourites: minimal man of the moment Sleeparchive pops up, as does Troy Pierce’s Louderbach project. But how often does the always-excellent Carsten Jost appear on year’s best lists? How much buzz is there about the always-consistent Dial label? Funke, then, is clearly much more interested in crafting an involving narrative than hitting all the “necessary” tracks.
His technique is an interesting one. He favours long mixes, slowly and subtly bringing in the next track while you’re still grappling with the current one. New tracks creep up on you from behind, melting almost indistinguishably into the last before taking over as the old track gradually drops away. This helps create a strong feeling of cohesion: you feel as if the tracks belong together – something that is terribly important for a DJ who wants to weave everything into a single narrative. Furthermore, this is no Ableton cut-up; Funke is definitely old school, using decks and vinyl. Listen carefully on Schatrax’s ‘Mispent Years’ for the telltale crackle and hiss of a needle on vinyl.
Things start off gently with the gorgeous chiming melancholy of Efdemin’s ‘Jean’ but Funke doesn’t spend long wrapped a cloak of romantic gloom: by the time Zander TV’s ‘Cut the Lines’ effortlessly slides into Isolée’s wonderfully off-kilter remix of Villalobos’ ‘What You Say Is More Than I Can Say’, Funke has firmly established the groove – at this point, listeners will have trouble stopping themselves from chair-dancing. We take a step closer into rave territory with the soaring synths and piano lines of ‘Mispent Years’, and then the rave fully kicks in with the 1994 Italian Smooth Remix of Transformer 2’s ‘Pacific Symphony’, complete with joyously blown whistles, a vocal sample repeating “love love love” and a wonderfully squiggly 303. If you aren’t overcome with an urge to throw your arms up into the air and whoop with joy at this point you are fully entitled to return the CD for a refund.
The rave-up is the obvious peak of the mix (falling exactly halfway through) but from this point on Funke keeps things moving nicely with a number of solid minimal tracks such as his own ‘In Between Days’ and Carsten Jost’s ‘Uccellini’. Funke then gently brings us down with Phantom/Ghost’s exquisitely bittersweet cover of Nico’s ‘These Days’, neatly bringing us full circle (trainspotters will note that this track is on the same 12” as the Efdemin track Funke used to kick off the mix – full circle indeed).
The journey Funke takes us on is both satisfying and eventful. Furthermore, it’s a solid self-assured DJ debut; I had previously only thought of him as a producer but now look forward to hearing more of his work behind the decks.