ll the way back in my junior high days the big fad was the decade of the 1970s. People wore bellbottoms and sometimes KISS makeup during Halloween. They seemed to idolize the decade, but most wouldn’t go so far as to listen to disco. They instead went more for Pink Floyd and other guitar rock gods of the decade. Lately, it seems, the 1980s has had a renaissance in the media, as people enjoy the nostalgia of the headbands, cult classic teen movies made by John Hughes, and jean jackets. I, for one, always seem to run into someone who has played 8-bit Nintendo, dodgeball, or crab soccer on smelly gym floors. We enjoy reminiscing about the good old days and laugh about how great it all seemed back then.
Freescha indulge your nostalgia for the past by crafting a record that takes child-like synth sounds that make the listener wonder exactly where they have heard it before.
There seem to be two distinct IDM camps today. One strain of artists focus more on the beat structure and attempt to amaze the listener with a constant barrage of noisy and complex rhythms. On the other hand, there is a group of musicians that attempt to craft finely tuned melodies with a minimal amount of drums, to prevent obscuring intertwining melodic lines. With over 50 minutes and 13 tracks, Freescha follows the example of Boards of Canada, Plone, and Novel23 by using simple synthesized melodies to evoke a feeling of the past. They fall firmly into the latter category of IDM. The tracks themselves clock in at about 4 minutes each and usually adhere to the same simple songwriting technique.
It is certainly true that you can easily find yourself humming these songs the day after hearing them. It is also true that you may find yourself entranced with this record for a week: listening to it over and over, enjoying its childlike feeling and its apparent naivete. The brainchild of two Californians, Nick Huntington and Mike McGroarty, Freescha have pursued this aesthetic on all of their releases. They own a record label that exclusively puts out their material called Attacknine Records. Reportedly they are self-taught, for the most part, and have a love of all types of music.
Unfortunately, this love of all types of music fails to come out in this release and other releases that they have made so far. They seem to be dealing with the same synthesizer sounds that evoke the same sort of feelings on each successive release. While this approach may help build a signature sound and a niche in the increasingly chaotic music world, to me it signals an inability to innovate past what they have already done. It may appear that I am being too hard on the duo, but I do believe that in terms of originality this release is lacking. In terms of sheer songwriting capability, though, Freescha appears to have a solid foundation on which to build. As time goes on I suspect that Freescha will either go the way of Plone (one interesting release and then off to relative obscurity) or Boards of Canada (several interesting releases and a continued vitality). Of course neither of these artists seem to have a knack for being able to change what has become their signature sound. Freescha is in danger of this as well.
Basing a reviewing rating on what a band should be doing is a mistake, however. This release takes this particular genre of IDM and takes it to its logical conclusion. If you are looking for an electronic music release that is melodically inclined and does not feature spastic disorienting drum patterns, then this release was made especially for you. Besides, Freescha appear to be getting a lot of press in the IDM community, so you owe it to yourself to get there first before your friends do.
In fact, maybe in a couple of years we’ll begin to revisit the '00s and talk about Freescha and laugh about the good old days and reminisce about how good music was back then.