For a decade, Maxine Funke has cut an idiosyncratic path as a singer-songwriter, all the while avoiding the parochial retreads of that worn-out label. Funke’s music is intimate and deeply intelligent, buoyed by a sense of effortlessness that belies a scrupulous attention to the smallest of details.
FELT appeared in 2012 in a vinyl edition of 100 on the Epic Sweep imprint. This album has an altogether more crepuscular feel, making slightly fuller use of the sonic palette–an increase in dissonance, errant drum rumbles, and nigh-ambient instrumental murmurings around which flow Funke’s basically perfect songs. The brevity, yet fullness, of the tracks and Funke’s unadorned if oblique arrangements lend a sense not of sketches but of fields of color, the sensation of late fall foliage glimpsed through the window of a quickly passing train.
Indeed, as much as these recordings suggest the close quarters and warmth of a small home, Maxine Funke makes music for traveling, providing accompaniment through the rough, unfeeling vectors of a disenchanted world and, as she does on the last song of FELT, imagining it differently. As the titles of these albums suggest, Funke’s is a tactile art, as warm and tangible as the tape hiss bathing it, her words and music rescuing everyday moments from traps of distraction and defeat. Following limited edition vinyl reissues in 2016 – a swansong for Nemo Bidstrup’s sorely missed Time-Lag Recordings imprint – we’re happy to make FELT and LACE widely available. Maxine Funke’s music, immediate and entirely unpretentious, suggests a world in which Katherine Mansfield rubs shoulders with Liz Harris, or Vashti Bunyan grows up on the Flying Nun catalog. Absolutely essential.