Disfunktion is a dynamic house duo from the Netherlands. Active since 2007, the group–made up of Barteld Frech and Mike Tielemans–has been featured a few times here on the site. These young up-and-comers are known for their melodic style, infectious grooves, and multifaceted production technique. 2012 was a banner year for Disfunktion, as they received great reception for releases such as “Galette – Ibiza Rework” (PinkStar Records, 2012), “No Matter” (PinkStar Records, 2012), and most recently, a remix for Armin Van Buuren’s mighty tune “I’ll Listen” (Armada Music, 2012). With the year winding down, many artists are content to just release a few tracks here and there until the New Year’s parties begin and a new calendar is ushered in. Disfunktion, though, has gone ahead and released their debut album after a year’s worth of hard work in the studio. “Appetite for Disfunktion,” off of Sirup Music, is a 15-track journey through the current state of progressive house, with a refreshing spin on the genre and some more classic influences mixed in. I’m not exagerrating when I say that this is one of the most surprising and refreshing releases of the year, and undoubtedly one of the best albums of 2012. While some tracks on the album are re-mastered versions of recent releases, a great many are brand new tracks that have never been heard before. Rather than glancing at the album as a whole, I decided to pick out a few tracks to spotlight. Take a listen and read on.
01 Disfunktion ft. Jennifer Cooke – Pushing (Zero Zero)
02 Disfunktion ft. Nicky Prince – Lost All The Ways
03 Disfunktion & Max’C – No Matter
04 Disfunktion – Goodbye Miami
05 Disfunktion ft. Stephen Pick – Chasing Clouds Away
06 Disfunktion – Yeah Right!
07 Disfunktion ft. Max’C – In The Sunshine (Album Edit)
08 Disfunktion – Altiplano
09 Disfunktion – Snooki
10 Disfunktion – Kamuwe
11 Disfunktion – UltraLuxe
12 Disfunktion – L’Apogée
13 Disfunktion – Galette (Ibiza Rework)
14 Disfunktion – Lyssa
15 Disfunktion ft Susie Ledge – I Can’t Hide
While the album has a strong three tracks to lead off, the fourth track, “Goodbye Miami,” is one of the best on the album. Disfunktion has long been known to use thick chord progressions and melodic leads as the backbone of their tracks, but here that style is taken to the next level. The track opens simply enough with clap hits, a tom, and a backing lead. Then, we are lead into a breakdown, where backing chords and a massive lead are slowly filtered in leading up to the drop. The verses are full-on energetic, the piercing lead blending seamlessly into the slick synth arrangement, while a low-end bassline and clap hits drive the groove along. Disfunktion even adds in a short piano arrangement to supplement the synths–one of their production trademarks. The last breakdown is a frenzy, as another lead is added on top and the chords continue to build leading up to a final drop. The song is appropriately named too: it evokes the emotional high of discovering a new city, only to have to leave soon after–but not before having one last epic night to make sure that this unforgettable place remembers you back.
“Yeah Right!” is a slick, light progressive track that is one of the surprises on the album. It starts off relatively simply with a kick, snare hits, hi-hats, and auxiliary percussion. Then the track takes us into the breakdown, an airy melodic feel with bright synth chords laying down the arrangement. Soon after, Disfunktion unveils a vintage piano chord sequence, layered right on top of the synths. This dual melody drives the feel up to the drop, after which the groove is clearly established as the piano chords–along with a bright lead on top to accentuate the melody–nail down the rhythm with a nice set of clap hits, hi-hats, toms, and a low-end bassline. This continues into the final breakdown, after which a final sequence rolls on with a set of arpeggiated notes added to give it one last breath of fresh air before the outro. This track demonstrates the wide-ranging influences of Disfunktion’s production style. The synth work and leads are all modern progressive house, while the piano chords and vintage percussion work are reminiscent of that classic house sound. Clearly, these boys from the Netherlands know how to mesh their styles.
In the Sunshine feat. Max’C
One of the standout vocal tracks on the album, “In the Sunshine” sees Disfunktion display their more clubby-sounding side. Featuring the vocal talents of Max’C, the track has an unorthodox, bouncy feel to it courtesy of its rhythmic structure. The track begins with a rusing feel as kicks, clap hits, an introductory lead, and a massive buildup take us into the breakdown. Here, chime hits support the arrangement as Max’C unveils his impassioned vocals. An ornate arrangement of piano keys, backing synths, and a deep bass take us into the first drop. The bouncy sequence of piano hits serves as the backbone of the groove, while an additional set of backing keyboards supports the arrangement. The vocals of Max’C only add to the undeniable energy of the track. This is one of the highlights of the album.
“Altiplano” is another strong progressive outing. The track begins with a spiraling intro, courtesy of an echoed synth lead and some strong backing chords. This quickly descends into a melodic breakdown, where an arrangement of vibrant strings shine. Soon after, Disfunktion adds in some classic piano chords to accompany the sequence leading up to the drop. The verse has a strong backbone of high-end leads and backing piano chords, and Disfunktion adds in some tom hits to accentuate the groove. A meteoric lead and a changed lead sequence lead us into the final breakdown, where the piano and soaring lead shine once again. Disfunktion then guides us out of the track, with the echoed leads and chords ever-present. This track is a clear example of Disfunktion’s ability to juggle big-room melodies with classic grooves, and it does not disappoint.
“Kamuwe” is one of the tracks that Disfunktion previewed prior to this release, and it’s no small wonder why they included it on their album. One of the most dynamic tracks of the entire collection, “Kamuwe” begins with a sequence of kicks, clap hits, and a backing piano arrangement. Disfunktion uses a tribal vocal sample throughout the track, and they slowly begin to filter it in during the intro. The first breakdown sees the vocal sample play out in full force, as the chant gives the overall feel a haunting energy. Backing chords accompany the vocal sample during the break, as a cascading lead is added in on top and leads seamlessly into the drop. The verse sees a furious groove established through the spirited vocals, backing chords, a deep bassline, and the ever-present lead which spirals upward. The passionate energy sends the track to new heights, and is surely one of the most unique entries in the album.
Perhaps the most surprising and unexpected track on the album is “Lyssa,” a deep progressive track that sees Disfunktion embark on a musical direction that really hasn’t been heard before. The track opens with a set of high-end, atmospheric synth chords and a rhythmic lead that circulates throughout the arrangement. Soon, the main verse begins as a pulsating bassline establishes a steady groove, hitting in tandem with the lead while the backing chords add to the scenery. Here the real progression begins as a second steady, high-end lead is layered on top to give the arrangement some added melody. The breakdown is an airy, melodic experience with added keyboard hits building on the arrangement. Disfunktion then takes us to the end with the outro. This track has a bit of a “Pryda” vibe to it (and even a little 80s throwback), with a deep, understated progression guiding the entire track. “Lyssa” is definitely one of the most ambitious tracks on the album, and a pleasant surprise for fans.
Appetite for Disfunktion is one of the most refreshing releases of the year, an ambitious voyage that shows off all of Disfunktion’s production talents. Not just content to be known as “progressive house” artists, Disfunktion adds to their sound with deep and classic influences that only expand on their wide-ranged technique. This album is surely among the best of 2012. Pick up your copy today.
Purchase Appetite for Disfunktion on Beatport