Frederik Schikowski (1998)

Frederik Schikowski - 8" EP - Irritant


Okay, I'm realizing that I accidentally made a logical mistake in that Lofi comp. Pretty much, lied a bit. I have been working on Irritant since like the 22nd of August, and not just since the 27th. Sorry for that, I stupidly went with it because "oooh introduction!" so fucking stupid. Anyways...


While Mr. Schikowski may have been on a 1994 CD compilation that nobody knows of except for residents of Meckenheimer, he didn't get released on anything until 1998, when he was on two of the Irritant tapes and got his own lathe cut record (with a cassette featuring a bonus track that I haven't heard!) This would be his debut, and from then on, he did... stuff.
...okay to be honest for a second, it's kind of hard to talk about this record. not that it's like bad or something, but it's such a very weird EP that it makes it a bit pointless to do a full track-by-track breakdown when i can only really say "this one was weird" for most of it. so i'll sort of do that breakdown for like a couple tracks but the rest will just be in a paragraph or something.

A1 - Dolby System

This heavy-ass track starts the record, starting with this drum beat getting more bombastic when it introduces an intense kick to the mix. The track wails on with this menacing bassline and other synth lines throughout. That's sort of it for this track in a way. I guess to describe it, like... Imagine you're walking down the street in some ghost town and then suddenly HUGE DOGS WITH SHARP CLAWS AND TEETH AND THROBBING- come after you. But, to run them off, you have to run through a really long, tall industrial power plant. Hold on, you're really uncomfortable...why? Ohhh... I see. Yeah, I think if that happened to me every Sunday, I wouldn't be too stoked.

The record wails on with "Cindy Sherman" and "Ben Sherman". Cindy is this sort of... grindcore thing. Not like, rock grindcore, but y'know, it has that fast pounding drum beat with some screechiness to it. It's nice and short, at around a minute and twenty seconds. The A side proceeds to amazingly, with just one track, wear itself completely out after that. Ben is a basic, repetitive techno track with very usual melodies and your usual FM screechiness we expect. This is one of the tracks that make it hard to talk about this record because of the fact that it just... goes on too long! It's 3 minutes long, and as someone who can enjoy repetitive music, it's too repetitive and bland! I just can't with "Ben Sherman", it just is... not good.

Over on the B side, we start out with...

B1 - I Grew Up

It's similar to Ben Sherman, in that it's basic, right? However, unlike Ben Sherman, this track manages to be much more enjoyable for me personally. It's a much more (relatively, for this record) melodic tune, with this hypnotic line, before you get some very quiet strings, they're like whining, right? Then for a while you have this reversed violin, before it finally goes to an ascending "bass" line. Something about this one is just nice but also a bit melancholy. Which, I think is a bit redundant considering melancholy is sad with glimmers of hope. But, yeah, this one is much better. Very childish.

"I'll Grow Up" is a very short and sweet 42 seconds. It's just a loop a bit similar to the last track, fading in, staying for a while, then fading out. Just nice, even if when you think about it, this should come before that last one, right? Like, this one is the loop as a kid, then "I Grew Up" is the loop as a depressed suicidal adult. Anyways, "Screeching Weasel" happens. It's not bad, it's good, but it's hard to talk about as it's a very simple. You have this weird squelchy stuff that acts as a sort of percussion, before you get some actual drum samples, then boom, it's over. (and if you listen closely you can hear it play for just a bit longer.)

B4 - Utopia Brasilia

This track closes out the album, and surprisingly, I feel I could say a fair bit about this one. That's surprisingly because this song is no joke, ELEVATOR MUSIC.
...Okay, well, it's not elevator music exactly, but you listen to it, and you feel a lot like it's that sort of corporate muzak. Maybe here, it's meant a bit more ironically but you can't really tell. It's very, very lush though, being a nice ending to a mixed bag. If I heard this in an elevator, I would probably enjoy that elevator a little bit more. Not much, but a little bit.


So, there you have it. Frederik Schikowski's... Frederik Schikowski. There's not much trivia, since it's really only that "Dolby System" was one of those Irritant tape tracks, and "Utopia Brasilia" reappeared on his Irritant CD, Einblick Ins Familienalbum. (I checked, it's in relatively higher quality.) I guess the moral here is just... it's amazing what you can do with limited equipment. Frederik Schikowski's main tool for seemingly all of his music was a Yamaha PSS-680. To be fair, this was a relatively advanced toy keyboard, because while it only had 2 operator FM, it had full MIDI support. That's already allowing you to sequence it on a computer, where you're probably gonna be more willing to do crazier shit. I can't confirm if he did it with a computer (and there's no way to confirm that), whether or not he did isn't super important, since when it comes to sound design, that's where it really shines. Sadly though, this record had to be more impressive talent-wise, than it was... music-wise.

Rating: 6/10 (Worth a listen, not worth repeats however.)

-Fonix (08/31/2021)