Frank Riggio – Psychexcess II: Futurism


[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

With his newest work we find Frank Riggio moving ever further into an arena of sound which only he and a select few others operate within. This ability he has to mesh actual instrumentation into the synthetic landscape is becoming quite arresting; its gotten to the point where he has become recognizable because of the unique stylings he employs to drive his pieces. For example, the song(?) “TTTT” has all the feel and approach to make you think it is accessible but it is the way in which he develops the individuals layers to it which demonstrates that this is no catchy little tart.

Something else to keep your ears open for would be the tendency he has to evolve his compositions into studies of sonic elements which do not belong together; somehow this uneasy alliance works but it doesn’t last long which would be primarily what this record is about. Look at the cover of it if you require further proof; Riggio is investigating the cycle of existence we all go through which some call life ah but who’s is it. This second part of what I’d wager will be a trilogy is an all together heavier affair than what he gave us last time around.

Textures are roughly disgorged from the machines while bizarre and captivating electronic riddles are compelled to emerge from this within this tempest to have a go at your mind.

Now despite how brief a lot of the entries are on here they make an impact almost immediately, the programming is a vast labyrinth of infinitely expanding complexities and yet not once do you find yourself lost nor are your ears ever without delight; “Elesdee” rather speaks for itself what with the structural supports careening this way and that while at least six or seven different ingredients are added and then subtracted from the equation in opposing order.

Overall I’d say he has managed to make a very disorientating set of songs, you’re never sure which way is up or if there even is an up; as to the title of this release well now I’d say that might offer the only clue as to where he’s headed next and odds are it won’t sound like this.

From what I have read of futurism and also about the future in general the constant is that nothing is ever firmly set in stone. What appears to be concrete assurance can disintegrate in a few moments and either vanish completely into the ether or re-constitute itself into something thoroughly alien. That’s the best description I can give you about what these tracks sound like, there aren’t any of the traditional footholds just a sheer face upon which we’re desperately trying to make sense of things; Riggio does not make it easy, his love of unorthodox synthesis upends any expectations the audience have. To most this isn’t going to be anything coherent, there are those who cannot abide the chaotic melodies he fashions but that’s no reason for the rest of us not to. Be on your guard and keep a sharp eye out, ‘Psychexcess II – Futurism’ is elusive…

I spent weeks accustoming myself to it; the effort to unlock these delicately designed enigmas has been worth all the toil.

Frank RiggioPsychexcess II: Futurism
Hymen Records, Y834, Y414
CD/LP/Digital 2015

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