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.
LACE was originally released as a CD-R in 2008 on Alastair Galbraith’s Next Best Way label. Imagine the just-so arrangements of Josephine Foster and the knowing quotidian eye of Sibylle Baier meeting the realism of Funke’s compatriots Turiiya or the acoustic textures of the Kiwi Animal and you’re nearly there – but in that gap lies the undeniable pull of Funke’s music. Short songs for nylon string guitar, violin, piano, incidental snippets of bird song and furniture creaks, brief instrumental interludes in the vein of Funke’s regular collaborator Galbraith: this is the realest of deals. The metaphysic of “Second Hand Store” cuts to the uncompromised heart of this record, a rejection of the idea of ownership in favor of communal chance, the ragged comfort of things lived-in and passed on, a searching with no need to find, let alone possess.
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.