Ex-Parts & Labor anarchist Dan Friel released an EP on Thrill Jockey late last year, and has wasted no time pumping out a full-length. Total Folklore is loud – a headscraping raspberry popsicle of noise that somehow manages to maintain a childlike wonder. Industrial electronics shouldn’t be able to exhibit such playfulness, but Friel’s aural exploration plays like a madcap mage, a sonic 8-bit loving Willy Wonka with tinnitus.
'Ulysses' is a lengthy track to open things up, and the first twenty seconds is an aural assault, alluding to a relentless cavalcade of abrasive white noise. But then the rhythms come in, the melodies, the soaring harmony – and Friel’s genius is realised. ‘Valedictorian’, the standout on the Valedictorian/Exoskeleton EP last year, still packs a candy-coloured wallop here, yet is propped up by the thumping gaiety of, well, ‘Thumper’ (and that melody is killer, I would actually buy a ringtone of that – not a glowing recommendation maybe, but I hate ringtones, so it works for me) and the frenetic squall of ‘Landslide’ (a schizophrenic cousin of what Civil Civic do in my opinion – yet more freeform and unhinged). The warped field recordings that make up the three Intermissions are necessary respites – seriously, this level of squealing, decibel-eating sound needs space to breathe – but Total Folklore stands as an exciting sonic scrapbook of confection and confusion, a cacophonous candy cane that rushes to the head. Expect headaches of happiness with this one.
You can pre-order Total Folklore through Thrill Jockey here. The first 500 LPs are orange, always an incentive to get in early. Even more exciting, Friel has crafted a series of homemade music boxes that play ‘Thumper’ on repeat for some lucky pre-orders. How fucking rad is that!?! Get in there!!!