Audio Asia: Fraktal channel lockdown-induced hardship into powerfully emotional sonics
'Kognitif Drum Ornamen' sees the Bali-based trio use music to soothe their collective souls
Title: Kognitif Drum Ornamen
Release Date: Out Now
Freeform electronic trio Fraktal are an act that search for musical inspiration via extended jam sessions, believing that true magic is to be found spontaneously in the moment. The Bali-based troupe have a reputation for their off the cuff live shows and their new EP brims with a sparkling energy and an unmistakably live feel. Consisting of Archie Dennis, Grady Wijaya, and Danny E. Satria, the band was formed over a mutual appreciation of electronic music, and a shared belief in the “unconstrained relationship between human and machine.”
The three-track 'Kognitif Drum Ornamen' EP was recorded under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic, and as is the case for many, the band have been forced to face unprecedented challenges over the last 12 months. “This unpredictable year brings the best and the worst from all of us,” Danny E. Satira told Mixmag Asia. “Some of us lost our jobs, one of us had to be apart from his family for health and financial issues, and the times just made it hard for all of us.” But rather than succumb to the hardship, the band put their energy into doing what they love the most – creating and recording expressive music. Interestingly, the sound they were originally aiming for didn't quite transpire from their studio sessions, with the results surprising even the band themselves. “There were a lot of different emotions that we were all personally going through and we tried to just feel it and jam on it,” said Danny. “We realise that this turned into a really emotional EP and our surroundings at the time really set the mood of how we ended up sounding – it’s very personal for us."
This tension is acutely apparent when listening to the music. The mysterious drones and hypnotic percussion of opening track 'Dialektik' set the mood as it evolves through twisted effects, dub delays and waves of jarring textures. 'Ekspedisi bag. 1' shares this same otherworldly quality, with sparse layers weaving over earthy beats and a refreshingly disorienting time signature. Our choice to play you is the title track, 'Kognitif Drum Ornamen'. The stripped-back nature of the music allows the rhythmic elements to take centre stage. The scattered drums build a brooding energy before lush chords enter the vast soundscape to lift the track into new dimensions. Staccato synths, paranoid percussion and spacey stabs provide texture as chords develop and the arrangement unfolds into a strangely beautiful journey inward. Undoubtedly abstract, and tangibly informed by troubling times, the music throughout the EP is full of feeling and, despite the surrounding uncertainty, endowed with a fragile sense of optimism.
Fraktal 'Kognitif Drum Ornamen' is out now, you can buy it here