FRKSE  Remove  LP   (Divergent Series)   14.99

Early recording from FRKSE, a still-enigmatic industrial outfit from Boton-based Rajen Bhatt that's been dropping massive rhythmic beats, dark punk industrial, and sumptuous gutter drones since the mid-oughts. Mostly lurking beneath the surface of the contemporary industrial / electronics movement, most folks probably know this persistant band from his more recent records on weirdo-hardcore powerhouse Iron Lung that came out around 2020, a stamp of approval in and of itself. At the onset of FRKSE's strange activity, though, the sounds leaned more towards the minimal, debuting with a similiarly minded silk-screened jacket with a simple handwritten insert card and single sigil marking its intent. Remove presents itself as a blank slate upon first handling, although the electronic and physical elements take form and aggression as soon as the wax starts to spin.

His connections and influence stemming from interests in the underground hip-hop scene rear their head early on as well. The album runs through nine songs, most of them somewhat brief sound-sculptures, and a carefully applied mixture of sound and improvisation fuels the encroaching, potentially dystopian atmopshere that begins to roll over the album. It's hard to pick out all of the instruments being utilized here; regularly armed with samplers, synthesizers, electronic processors, and vocals, it feels like there is some bass guitar snaking through this as well. I'm reminded of the often horrifying cacophony of 80's-era Missing Foundation at times but much more subdued, but even moreso the hypno-narcoptic boom-bap of early Scorn, albeit much more ruined and damaged by the unending reverberations of random machine sounds and faceless murmurs and errant electronic gunk that makes up modern city life. Nothing with FRKSE feels derivitive though. A punk-style count-off kicks it in, that monstrous slithering bass guitar presence mobing around slow-motion beats and swirling electronic noise. "Rots The Primer" emits a claustrophobic nightmare quality, distant rhythmic loops and echoes of abused inanimate objects slowly comes together into a sinister, neurotic and totally hypnotic industrial beatscape, recorded at just the right level of low-fidelity, oozing heaviness and dehumanized structures. Ululuating muezzin-esque calls carry over breaks of pure hiss, then sink back into the lurching, murky darkhop constructions of "Engineer 1965 " and "To Fool A Brahmin", the mighty breakbeat driven tension of "Drunk On Power In The Dry State ", other songs erupting into a chaotic horror of tape-looped roiling monstrous voices and crushing bass-heavy noise. And every needle-drop feels like a sigh of resignation.

I love the whole subterranean vibe of FRKSE's music here, sounding as if is occuring in some dead-end alley after midnight, a fusion of ritual and release, moments of fleeting transcendent beauty breaking off the surf of the musical churn and abrasive textures. But even at those flashes of almost post-rock like melody, FRKSE keeps the experienced anchored to an atmopshere of gleaming asphalt and distamt rumbling dumptrucks doing their rounds in the darkness, forgotten voices dissipating into manholes cracked slightly ajar, carving an inescapable, sludgy groove though the extremes of urban blight and intense isolation. This album has haunted me for awhile. It's long sold-out from the label, just a few copies left here on the shelf, but if any of those references or the power of the recent Iron Lung Records releases capture your nervous system and current anxieties as they've done to me, Remove comes recommended in all of its handmade, gritty obscurity.