DIGIV039: FRAK “Muzika Electronic” LP
digiv039: FRAK “muzika electronic” LP $15 / $18 / $27
When I really think about it, it utterly blows my mind that FRAK has been around for 25 years now. They have been the talisman of Sweden’s inimitable Börft label since its inception. Over the course of dozens of tapes, 12”s, and full-lengths this group has known no real boundaries. It is alien music in every sense of the word. Even if each track offers something different to the narrative, the album keeps a connective tissue running throughout. After 25 years, FRAK is showing no signs of age.
Muzika Electronic is a mix of skewed dance music paired with heavy doses of modular synthesizer exploration and bizarro pop. It’s all brand new, recorded specifically for Digitalis. FRAK is constantly skirting the line between minimal dance music and noise music, often finding new and innovative spaces to occupy and exploit. Album opener “Voyage No. 1” embodies this to perfection. Slow-moving rhythms provide the backbone while looping, crusty synths spin around, spiked with dizzying, high-pitched melodies. It seems odd at first, but as an introduction to what is contained within the sonic walls of Muzika Electronic, it starts this journey off right. It flows into the deceptively catchy “Tristesse Dance” like magic. You will find yourself hooked on the cyclical bassline within a few bars.
FRAK’s pop sensibilities are most on display, though, with the New Order-tinged “Pulse-Crack.” Wide-eyed leads mesh into the pulsating bass undercurrents, riding a blissed-out electronic wave into outer space. It is absolutely hypnotizing. The robotic vocals of “Varje Dag” and “In Order to Create” are swimming in a sci-fi glow. This is music that is wrestling with itself, never sure if it is searching for the future of dance music or harkening back to its past. That dichotomy, though, is what drives Muzika Electronic into so many great and unexpected realms. Ultimately, this is a place we all should want to be.
Cut to vinyl (LOUD) by Rashad Becker at D+M Berlin. Art by Tiny Little Hammers.