Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Friz Be: Hmm… LP

Music blogs serve as a great way to introduce people to new music, but they can also serve as a means to show that a highly coveted record is not always necessarily worth the hundreds of dollars for which it usually sells. This much-requested record may not be a case of the emperor having no clothes, but it’s certainly rather scantily dressed. That’s not to say it’s a bad record – there are definitely some good and interesting songs here – it’s just that many of the songs seem more like unfinished sketches.

Friz Be was essentially a one-man project from Sweden. This was the only record he released, back in 1981. And for a record released at that time, it certainly can be pretty adventurous and experimental. But the record is also a bit overly long – it’s 12 songs, when about 8 would have worked much better. Many will be familiar with the song “I Throw Punches”, which has floated around in mp3 form over the past few years and was recently on the bootleg “Life in the Future” album. With its blasé vocal approach and tinny electronic bursts, it’s a bit rough around the edges but is definitely a gem.

Much of side 1 sounds a bit similar, although that song is certainly the most pop-oriented this record gets. Now Is the Time is a slow, lethargic synthpop track and is probably stylistically the closest to I Throw Punches. This is the New Age is another experimental synthpop song – albeit a very unrefined one. My personal favorite track from the album is Half Brain Naked, a hypnotically monotone song that mixes acoustic guitars and slowly pulsing electronics. The song’s brevity makes one wish that a lesser track on the album were cut in order to further expand upon its mesmerizing drone.

Side 2 is almost a different album entirely, full of formless and ambient electronics that would be great background music for floating in space. While it’s interesting listening, many of the songs sound a bit too similar to one another, and the second side would certainly have benefitted from removing a track or two and further exploring the ideas of some of the stronger songs. Here We Go and Hommage Au Muzak certainly have intriguing elements, and Flying sounds like one second of a symphony trapped in time and extended across two minutes.

This record is certainly worth downloading and listening to. It just behooves the first-time listener to not expect a lost minimal synth classic. Rather, it should be listened to for what it is - an amateur but earnest experimental project that is decidedly lazy-sounding and downtempo (or no tempo at all), as if recorded on a day-long downers bender. Maybe we can call it Quaalude-wave?

Friz Be: Hmmm… LP

1981, Piglet Records

A1: I Throw Punches

A2: This is the New Age

A3: Now is the Time

A4: Brosk Conversation

A5: This is Time

A6: Half Brain Naked

B1: Lufituaeb Eb Ot

B2: Elegant but very Fast

B3: Here We Go

B4: Flower in Your Hair

B5: Flying

B6: Hommage Au Muzak

Click here to listen!