Summer 2021 sees the fourth in the Frigio All Stars series hitting all respectable shelves. Jack Carel opens the 12” with the acid burning grunge of “Fuck This Shit” followed by Sons of Traders with the chugging 4/4 nastiness of “A for All.” A trippy, dark industrial streak runs in the snares and swagger of Rambal Cochet’s “Doomsday Scenario Interface” and in the powerful introspection of Daniel Holt’s “The Recluse.” Neud Photo arrives on Frigio with a menacing debut, “The Split” which pierces a haze of smoke in this late-night floor-filler. Honored Matres who appeared on the first volume of these series, returns with the blackest of the compilation. Machine gun percussion close the 12” with Chris Mitchell offering the chopped and gnawed “Alsina”.
An album of intricate minimal wave/post punk from Daniel Holt’s new project Human Figures. Human Figures is a completely new and personal avenue of expression for Holt. “Footsteps” is liminal, lonely and misty with negative space between each instrument. Each note invokes a warm hypnagogic atmosphere, tinged with fluttering anxiety. Through these eight tracks, this multifaceted musician shows another side of his art with guitars, basslines and drum machines. The mournful “Lifted Burden”, with its cowbells and echoing vocals swaddled in warm strings, sets the tone. Haunting notes are supported by a staccato beat as Holt´s melancholic vocals sail in “40 Days” before the bare brilliance of “An Open Heart.” A spread of influences is drawn on for Human Figures: the post-punk rawness of “For My Angel”, the synth romance of “Footsteps” the cold reductions of “Passing Beyond Body.” Sombre, stirring and superb.
“Footsteps” was release also on cassette last year on Popnihil.
Frigio Allstars 3 comes from the murky underbelly of electronics, where the nights are long and the days are short. Ashen tones pricked with lighter shades, all smeared with attitude in this collection of underground tracks made for the underground. Daniel Holt dives deep into the darkness with the nine minute industrial throb of “Vaccuous Transient.” A stomping beat pierces sci-fi score synthlines in a track brimming with menace. Grey people debuts on Frigio with the grime smeared jack of “Bruxism.” The flip is all first timers to the Madrid label with Scannoir offering “De Panaesher.” Sitting somewhere between synth lament and uplifting wave, this track is a true modern classic from a member of the GOTT camp. Madrid’s very own Negocius Man follows with “101 Wars” a winding worming work of glazed electronics to kill any dance floor and the amazing finale, “The Smile Of The Body” coming care of Bari’s talent based in Berlin under the moniker of Sons Of Traders.
Ecdisis Vol 3 is fresh and ready to wreak some havoc. Up first is Vinilette’s rework of Flux of Pink Indians’ “Nothing Is Not Done.” A brood of beats, this rhythmic romp is inspired by the 1986 piece on Uncarved Block. Layers of kick drums, bongos and toms echo and judder as a cold line circles and closes ever tighter. Following we have the head honcho, Juanpablo with his extended edit of Mac Blackout’s “Do The Dance In Your Head”. The intro is given room, adopting a doom disco march, before the fearsome crash of strings. The lyrics, a lurid tale brimming with menace, are sweetened with twirling notes in this grisly stomper. The final attack sequence comes care of Mick Wills with his amazing cut of an unreleased track by Argentina’s great producer NGLY. Dark and looming this distortion streaked encounter will leave bodies and speaker cones raw.
Frigio Records is consistently plumbing the depths to unearth exciting talent. Bartoszek has been corrupting and manipulating tracks to fit floors for years, editing and slicing past pieces to breath new life into them. The German artist has turned his hand, and scissors, to four tracks from a spread of musicians from far and wide for Frigio’s latest: Ecdisis Vol.2.
Almost forty years later, Frigio is bringing some of their music to a fresh audience, the pioneer proto-techno Spanish band TodoTodo and featuring original music plus killer edits by Juanpablo & Luis Costa. Juanpablo with his extended edit of “Digital Dancer.” A steady kick tethers a tripping mechanical melody, a melody that bubbles and simmers as toms, horns and daring funk collide for this seven minute odyssey into the world of Iberian underground synth. The original version from 81 closes the A, a brief and brilliant piece of proto-techno. The flip is introduced by Catalan Dj, journalist and author of ‘Bacalao’ Historia Oral de la Musica de Baile en Valencia, Luis Costa. Costa re-imagines “Autogas” with his Tool Edit, reshaping the off-kilter keys and future highways and byways of the original. The finale is a true treasure from the annals of time. A live version of “Autogas” from the legendary Rock’Ola club in Madrid, an unreleased work that is as audacious and bold as it was when it was first performed in 1981.
The material for Ecdisis Vol.1? Lost tracks from the past, patted down, spruced up and given a couple of shots of whiskey by Juanpablo, Dunkeltier and, a new member of the family, Vinilette. From Barcelona, Vinilette is a Dj and producer who isn’t afraid to pull a musical punch or two and she is in fighting form with her two offerings. First up, the 1986 EBM stomper “God Save The King” by Son of Sam is revamped and reconstructed into a psychedelic rollercoaster of crashing cymbals, spiralling samples and bruising bars. The clock is being turned further back, this time Belgium’s new wave punk outfit Arbeid Adelt! are the source material with their 1987 track “Help (Me Ik Stik)” muscling up on a diet of raging rhythms and splintering guitar strings. The head honcho, Juanpablo, meets up with an old member of the family Dunkeltier (aka Dj Sneaker) to finish our journey. The pair travelling back to 1983 to Catalonia and the prog-jazz musings of Pegasus. “Perseguido por el Rayo” is tuned up and transformed into an electronic bomb. Addictive grooves and hooks are polished with beats getting a shot in the arm for a hauntingly sinister piece of disco deviance.
Frigio is hooking up with Russian electronic explorer Volta Cab for a four tracker of shadowy disco darkness. Thick drum patterns are shot through with strobe as “Johnny 320” enters the room. Swaggering onto the floor, this greased thug means business. Samples mutter intent as grooves grind and twist their way into the late hours. Juanpablo lowers the lights for his remake. Rhythms richochet and basslines loom in this lewd and dramatic track, a piece born in the grit and sweat of the floor under a haze smoke. The lights are kept low for the flip. “Immortal Fix” spikes and spins, laser beam synthlines cut through rumbling chords with snares that do more than just bear teeth. Italy’s Hesperius Draco closes Johnny 320 with giallo horror grandeur. Beats and words are shrouded in lilting strings for this sinister curtain fall.
Frigio Records is going back in time for its latest release, some 38 years into the past. Back then a young Newcastle man was experimenting with early electronic instruments and synths. Mick Clarke is his name and nearly forty years later he is still at it. Two tracks have been borrowed from Clarke’s seminal Games LP, each given a bit of modern boot polish from MinimalRome’s Heinrich Dressel and Frigio father Juanpablo. “Walls of the Night” is a blissed out work of ambient prog rock abstraction. Think rumbling horror score and soaring guitar strings. Heinrich Dressel offers a giallo dipped remix. The building bars of the original are maintained, beats added for ballast and darkened organ keys for a remake etched with murderous intent. The flip is introduced by the dreamy “Time Is Now.” Slender synthlines intertwine with gentle strings in a cerebral work. Juanpablo tweaks the 1979 material. Syrupy acid lines swim in meandering currents, a thick beat keeping time in murky waters of modulations and undulations.
Frigio release the first album from Alessandro Parisi’s sepulchral dwelling pseudonym Hesperius Draco. Donning the ceremonial robes, the conventions of house, techno and horror soundtracks are blurred as past, present and future merge. Stalking darkness and light, bordering the divine and profane, “Actus Tragicus” pulls the dancefloor into the murky shadows of Rome. Ritualistic chants, chilling choirs and hissing beats are brewed across two slabs of vinyl. BPMs dip and rise as Hesperius Draco takes you on a winding journey through the catacombs of his world.
Editor extraordinaire, Sneaker welcomes you to marvel at his Midas Touch. Happy disco or chirpy funk edits these ain’t. Instead the Rat Life man unearths three dark obscurities and further blackens their already sinister sounds.’Playground’ by Click Click first came out in 1988. Sneaker maintains the tension, the steady and strained notes as vocals tell a tale of shrouded menace. Ralph Lundsten opens the flip, his 1970 track ‘Through A Landscape of Mirrors’ is bolstered with snapping rhythms, synths are smeared and wrenched as the twisted hand of Dunkeltier takes control. The last instalment, first released on Ant-Zen in 2006, is Geneviève Pasquier’s ‘Fairy Tale.’ A gritty track of reduced industrial essences, the original has been extended and further muddied for ready-made dancefloor corruption.
Gliptolito sees Frigio return to its beginnings whilst making a bold statement of future intent. This time in collaboration with Seti Recordings for a split release by the heads of both labels. Juanpablo shares the platter with ArD2, the team of Ekis and Penélope Martín (of NSRB-11 and Zwischenwelt.) Label boss Juanpablo opens with his ever evolving sound. Rasping beats and subtle key changes are warmed by basslines in the cerebral “Ica”. “There is a Silence” comes from a similarly esoteric place, gentle chords shimmering against glitchy undercurrents and clean drums. ArD2 follow up their 2010 appearance on Frigio with two tracks of complex machine funk. Sidelined is their trademark electro sound as the pair lean towards electronica and broken percussion for “Winter.” Colder tones arrive with “Utopia”, sublime string work warming them through to bring “Gliptolito” to a close.
Frigio Records is on the road again with Le Chocolat Noir. The Croatian artist, known for Disco Panonia and his work as Honored Matres, is no stranger to Frigio, having featured on All Stars Vol 1 in 2014. “Transform EP” is introduced by the industrial mental sounds of “Greedy Pets” which brings a new name to the roster as June delivers his interpretation of it. A grimy wave edge is pursued by the Greek machine man for a driving take. The original staggers into being. Drums slip and bass rumbles in a tense and terse piece of gritty music. Then Le Chocolat Noir offers the dark and looming “N.E.T.”. Blackened lyrics are sampled as thick bars of synth and licks of acid make for a menacing curtain fall on side A. On the flip side, the steely claps and burbling bass are rinsed in metal for the gleaming EBM infused “Doing Dishes” with vocals ghost beneath the currents. Following up, vocals ghost beneath the currents, vocals picked up by Colombia’s Cute Heels as the electronic savant debuts on Frigio for a simmering aquatic remix.