Dan Friel
Sunburn Velocirecords http://www.tinymixtapes.comsites/default/files/arton5139_0.jpg

[Velocirecords; 2004]

Rating: 4.5/5 4.5 / 5 (0)

Styles: a cracked-out Casio drinking at an Irish Pub playing Autechre and Dinosaur Jr.
Others: Parts & Labor, Autechre, Fennesz, Oval


http://media.tinymixtapes.com/


Dan Friel is a member of Parts & Labor, a band that sounds a bit like Sonic Youth and Lightning Bolt if you swapped their instruments for circuit-bent keyboards and put them in a blender set to frappe. Friel's first solo release was self-released in 2001, and many of its tracks provided the basis for the songs on Parts & Labor's first album. Sunburn, Friel's second effort, mines more or less the same territory as his previous work -- dense but almost soothing washes of noise support catchy SNES-inspired melodies performed on dying, archaic instrumentation (the instruments Friel used on the album are: toy keyboard, walkie talkies, RC car joysticks, 5 string guitar, and 2 guitar pedals- 1 overdrive, 1 delay/looping pedal).

Sunburn moves along pretty quickly, with one exception; none of its seven tracks clock in longer than about three minutes. Highlights include "Tractor Calls," which resembles Michael Flatley in a hasty tug-of-war with Fennesz. Opener "Dead Batteries," on which Friel uses a keyboard whose batteries are actually dying, kicks things into high gear with a stuttering, syncopated rhythm that eventually gives way to an agitated melody straight out of F-Zero (thus marking the second time I give props to F-Zero in a record review). "Death," despite its morbid title, actually seems like it could be an anthem against that scythe carrying, cloaked son-of-a-bitch. The track rolls in on dubs as Friel hits a powerful open chord on a heavily distorted guitar backed by what sound like whale calls or sonar signals. Soon enough a soft house beat and a triumphant little major key melody appear to save the day.

"Death" encompasses everything I love about Friel's music: there's an uncanny sense of triumph and relief in it all, like that scene at the end of the action-packed thriller where the main characters -- against all odds -- manage to overthrow the maniacal villain, rescue the prime minister from the clutches of doom, and close out the picture by sauntering towards the camera in slow motion.

1. Dead Batteries
2. Green Lights
3. Death
4. Tractor Calls
5. Seven Sisters
6. B2bs
7. Quitting

1. Dead Batteries
2. Green Lights
3. Death
4. Tractor Calls
5. Seven Sisters
6. B2bs
7. Quitting