Frakkur was the pseudonym used by Jónsi (Sigur Ros) when working on experiments in electronic music at home in Reykjavík, in various hotel rooms, or at his boyfriend’s house in Boston. This music was considered lost for a long while, with mere bits and bobs surfacing on various peer-to-peer file depots until an old CD-R was discovered by long-term collaborator Alex Somers, allowing for this music to be mastered and properly heard for the first time. The track titles read like that of a typical IDM record, and while Jónsi shares the same studious and thoughtful sense of experimentation, he does not shy away from the heartfelt, emotive, and intuitive in these compositions. This release is split into three discs, each of which encompass a different era of experimentation. The oldest (2001-2003) was made on his first PC laptop (named “The Tank”) with good ol’ Fruityloops, built upon samples of kalimbas, music boxes, and ghostly voices and inspired by an unrealized romance. The second (2002-2003) was created in his home studio, a setup compact enough to be put away in a cupboard. This collection was built with a Yamaha RS-7000 Sampling keyboard, sourcing sounds from beat-up and broken toys from local Goodwill stores. The third record (2003-2004) was recorded in Cambridge, MA during breaks from the tour supporting 2002’s ( ). By this time Jónsi had been introduced to Apple’s Logic DAW software, leading to the creation of a spontaneous, joyful record of nearly unidentifiable vocal samples played through a toy keyboard. This process seems to have had a clear influence on the delicate electronics of 2005’s Takk. This triple LP set is pressed on 3 colors of vinyl (one per disc) and includes liner notes on the rear of the jacket. Destined to be a cult favorite release from the mysterious and enigmatic performer, this collection is worthy of being rediscovered over and over again. Recommended.
reviewed by AQUAVIT 09/2019