Taking an abrasive, distorted approach to electronic music, Dan Friel (co-founder of Brooklyn noise rock band Parts & Labor) uses vintage synthesizers wired through guitar pedals and crusty drum machines for his solo project. As harsh, jagged, and challenging as his recordings may be, they're highly melodic and colorful, celebrating life despite all of its complexities and frustrations. Having previously contributed to Western Massachusetts noise punk band Squidlaunch during the mid-'90s, Friel began working on solo material in his Bed-Stuy basement, and self-released a noisy, trebly CD called Broken Man Going to Work in 2001. In 2002 he co-founded Parts & Labor with B.J. Warshaw. Over the years, the group released five full-lengths and several EPs and singles (including releases on Jagjaguwar and Ace Fu, as well as a split release with Tyondai Braxton on Narnack Records), toured immensely, and received acclaim from numerous publications, such as Pitchfork, The Guardian, and Q.
While a member of Parts & Labor, Friel released a few more limited solo recordings, starting with 2004's Sunburn on Velocirecords. This was followed by a 2005 tape called Obsoleter on Night People (later released on vinyl by Spooky Tree). Also in 2005, Friel and Warshaw co-founded Cardboard Records, a label that released recordings by their band as well as friends such as Pterodactyl and Ecstatic Sunshine. Parts & Labor's 2006 EP Escapers One (on the Broklyn Beats label) diverted from their noise rock sound, coming closer to the electronic sound of Friel's solo work. Friel released Ghost Town, his first widely available solo album, on Important Records in 2008. In 2011 he released a collaborative 7" single with innovative rhythmic noise artist Mincemeat or Tenspeed on the Ormolycka label.
After Parts & Labor played their final show in February of 2012, Friel signed to the left-of-center Chicago label Thrill Jockey. The Valedictorian/Exoskeleton EP was released in 2012, including remixes by Moss of Aura and Peaking Lights. His debut full-length for the label, Total Folklore, arrived in 2013. Following the birth of his son, Friel released the celebratory Life in 2015. ~ Jason Lymangrover & Paul Simpson