It would be easy to jokingly refer to the music of DJ Funeral as "club tracks... from the grave," or something along those lines, but then the producer dropped the Hits from the Grave mixtape last week. So much for clever one-liners.
Not much is known about DJ Funeral, other than that his Last Breath EP is the second release from the recently launched Body High imprint. Despite the lack of biographical context surrounding its creator, the EP does continue the young imprint's apparent penchant for updated takes on underground US club sounds. While the DJ Dodger Stadium EP found label heads Samo Sound Boy and Jerome Potter (of LOL Boys) mining old-school acid and ghetto house for inspiration, Last Breath is rooted in Southern hip-hop and Baltimore club, or perhaps its Philly- and Jersey-based offshoots. But that's not all Last Breath has to offer, as the entire affair emanates a dark and ominous vibe, largely thanks to DJ Funeral's predilection for a rave-up take on John Carpenter-style synths.
"Last Breath" kicks off the EP in impressive fashion, offering a potent array of hard-hitting drum sounds with just enough spooky keys and grim pads to give the track a slightly sinister vibe. "The Killing" continues in much the same vein, although the song is centered around a flipped dancehall vocal that repeats, "We do the killing, them do the burying." The tune leans hard on its haunting melodies, and ups the scary quotient by adding some classic clocktower sound effects and what sounds like bits of a snickering little goblin into the mix.
While "Bounce Dat" doesn't really attempt to frighten anyone, it's probably the strongest offering on Last Breath, bringing some gully club heat with its "bounce dat ass" vocal sample, gunshots, and ravey synths. It's not especially complex—nothing on Last Breath is—but it's easy to see how "Bounce Dat" could light up a dancefloor in the same way that Brenmar's best productions do. Wrapping up the EP is "Nitemare," which turns down the tempo significantly; the song is essentially a stripped-down instrumental rap cut. Has the term "horror crunk" ever been used? With its eerie synths and slapping drums, "Nitemare" might be the track to inaugurate the genre.