What the fuck is Fflint anyway? A place? A label? A bunch of cheeky bastards who have, in the matter of a few short years, rendered all other UK electronica obsolete? Umm, a place? In the world of popular music, world-changing things get old fast. With the advent of punk rock, it was a thrill realising that anyone could start a band, but that wore off -real- quick, once everybody did. And then, when the laptop replaced the guitar as the "instrument" anyone could buy and thus have their own" band", it wasn't long before we found ourselves at shows, watching nerds check their emails on stage while we sipped overpriced drinks and fantasized about slipping into the bar to play some Galaga. And then came the cd-r. Christ, you thought the tape was bad. At least with tapes you always had something laying around to dub the new Van Halen or Motley Crue record on. But cd-r's, c'mon. Fuck. Not only can you not tape over them, but even my mom has a limited cd-r release. (And it's not half bad!)

So when you discover some mysterious group, who are quietly releasing cd-r's filled with sounds that are beautiful and perplexing and dreamy and annoying and dark and mesmerising and fucked beyond all possible comprehension, you cling to them like you were a mama bear and these cd-r's were your newborn cubs. But at the same time you are constantly wondering why -knowing that these sounds exist and are somewhat readily available- anyone would knowingly choose to listen to the rest of the shit out there. Well that's all about to change.

And I guess that brings us back to the big question. What the hell is Fflint anyway? Obviously it's music, after all this is a record label website and we are talking about a record. But is it electronica? Noise? Dark ambience? Twentieth century? Twenty First Century? Who the hell knows? And honestly, who gives a shit.

This is sound, pure and not so simple. An endless series of unlikely musical events. Some soothing and serene, some droning and delirious, and some so harsh it hurts to even listen. But all of it, every single bit, is unlike anything you've ever heard. Or ever will hear again. It's not just music, but the sounds of music. And the music of sound, entering your ears from the inside, filling your wide open skull with malfunctioning maelstroms of stuttering, fuzzed out synth and hiccupping bursts of thundering glitchery colliding with sputtering clicks and oscillating low end rumbles, draped over chest rattling modulated pulses. Ultra harsh noise smeared over a strange man humming into a broken telephone, while an orchestra of detuned guitars tries desperately to compete in the background. Thousands of tiny hands unwrapping cellophane candies in a hyperbolic chamber, while little girls in tap shoes run laps around your eardrums. Epileptic bagpipes and faraway seal calls rub up against scratching and scraping woodblocks, timestretched into sinister growls or raw and ultra distorted high end melodies, while player pianos are reverbed to death until they become an ominous hum, like a swarm of mechanical wasps pinned down by loping, stumbling Autechre-ish loops and rhythmic workouts: all stuttering thumps and slow motion handclaps, like Timbaland being held down in your bathtub struggling for air. Mysterious and sing-songy Krautrock, jangly and noisy, rambling and shambolic, giving way to shimmery skree, melodies shifting and eventually splitting apart and forming new more abstract melodies, while chirping birds and guttural Orc-ish vocalisations convulse atop a bed of keening chimes and high end swells. Abstract IDM gets deconstructed into shards of jagged dance refuse, beats, shuffling and skittering beneath shifting chords and slabs of minor key sound. Rich sheets of dense sound, layers of sweet ambience, and the metallic hum of excited strings, eventually becoming clipped and static, a hypnotic looped rhythm over accordions, crowd sounds and more bird calls. Grinding scraping pulsing drones unfurl like a small village being over run by snakes made out of bowed cymbals and broken samplers. A dense, crushing melodic downpour, like laying prone in a pool of Rephlex 12"s while hundreds of 'electronica artists' piss on you from above. Hissing ambience created by a choir of tracheotomy patients with malfunctioning hearing aids spewing intercepted shortwave transmissions, interrupted by occasional gunfire; only the bullets are Masonna cassettes and Merzbow cd-r's. A skittery but smooth drone-dirge, like someone drugged Boards of Canada and then pushed them down the stairs, while outside the Fflint guys try desperately to start the getaway car.

Yes, but is it music? Can I dance to it? Will it make the opposite sex swoon and want to sleep with me? No, probably not. Actually, most definitely not. This is not like the music you're used to. This is not music you'll hear on the radio or download from iTunes or hear on a car commercial. This is not music to dance to, or fuck to, or headbang to. Or maybe it is. At least for some of us. But that's precisely what makes Fflint and their divine din so special. And so goddamn important. This is pure sound, sound outside of music. But music the way we wish all music could be: Pure and freed from all the constraints that keeps "popular music" so boring and pointless and well, popular.

This is unpopular music. We are unpopular people. And we couldn't be happier.

return to tUMULt main lab