Dan Friel loves noise. But he also loves melody and pop music. In a world where pop music and noise music are at opposite ends of the spectrum Friel elects to construct a new world. Its name is Total Folklore and his ingredients are searing pitches of sound, horrible, abrasive and shrill. Yet he harnesses them in the most melodic manner possible with a sugary pop sensibility. Friel creates noisy anthemic tunes where you’re just as likely to have your hands over your ears as your fists in the air.
Total Folklore, is his second album and it really develops upon some of the ideas floating around his previous album Ghost Town. Here there are rare sparser moments, even some field recordings taken via his iphone while wandering around everywhere from his own neighbourhood to a panchinko parlour in Tokyo. Everything is proudly lofi, crafted with his first ever keyboard, a Yamaha portasound from 1984 all attached to a bunch of guitar pedals. When he plays live he just opens his battered old suitcase, plugs in and he’s ready to go. Just to sweeten the deal this album was also apparently recorded on a computer purchased in 2001 that’s still running OS9. Apparently Friel doesn’t like to throw things away.
Dan Friel is a founding member of New York post rock outfit Parts and Labour, yet his solo work, a kind of electro fuzz frenzy is much more energetic, not to mention groundbreaking. No one else would even think of this – let alone do it. It’s the audio equivalent of overdosing on red cordial, pure, woozy, adrenalized hyperactive euphoria, which whilst it may leave you with a slight headache wont have you regretting a single minute you spend with it.
I interviewed Dan Friel a few years ago here: