Swedish trio Bjorn Isgren, Jan Svensson and Johan Sturesson have been making music together as Frak since 1987, when all three were still in their teens, and since then they’ve gone on to continually release music over the ensuing three decades, leaving behind them an intimidatingly voluminous backcatalogue of albums and 12”s. On the heels of last year’s ‘Altan Gathering’ collection, this latest 12” EP ‘Berga Magic’ offers up the trio’s debut on Hypercolour and collects together four new tracks that highlight Frak’s continuing love affair with analogue equipment.
On the A-side, opening track ‘Tarpaulin’ ushers forth this EP’s most expansive track as icy synth arpeggios flit against a throbbing backbone of industrial-edged 4/4 snares and dirty bass distortion, its nine minutes calling to mind the raw feel of an improvised live set as the trio introduce new layers of detail and melodic elements against the relentless locked groove. As with Frak’s previous work, there’s a deliberately clunky yet elastic feel to these tracks, with the darker post-industrial / EBM atmospheres counterpointed by a focus on jacking house rhythms that calls to mind the likes of Mr Fingers and Marshall Jefferson more than anything else.
‘Berga Magic’ sees a backdrop of buzzing electronic distortion building like a storm of robot bees against a backbone of dry, skeletal house snares, rattling 808 toms and plodding kickdrums, in what’s easily one of the most austere yet curiously grandiose moments to be found here. On the flipside, ‘Monogram’ gets crunchy and robotic as dark synth buzzes get crushed against monotonously bleeping synths and snapping layered handclaps, the electro-tinged sequences that lurk in the foreground seeming to grind like shearing machinery as the track powers forward.
If the aforementioned track offers up the closest to an industrial robot funk workout here, ‘Making Control’ takes things out on a darkwave EBM-tinged note as sinister sounding arpeggios cycle and grind against stacked house handclaps and wobbling kickdrums, the entire track suddenly shifting down a gear against a wash of phased electronics, before once again powering on its way. If you’re a fan of analogue hardware-centric techno / house workouts, you won’t be disappointed by what’s in store here.