Exposé Online banner

F/i — A Question for the Somnambulist
(Submergence SUB 5006, 2003, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2007-03-01

A Question for the Somnambulist Cover art

Since they appeared on the scene back in the 80s, Milwaukee-based F/i have established themselves among the forefront of American psych rock bands. Originally issued in 2003 (and now re-issued on the Strange Attractors label with a bonus track), this disk has held up as one of the best recent examples of its kind. Song titles like “Hit the Kill Switch, Eugene” and “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Daisy Cutter” don’t adequately convey the heights to which this quartet reach with their hallucinatory musical excursions. The songs range from the quasi-improvised, psych-rock of early Pink Floyd (“Uber-Wizards of the 88th Meridian”) to 70s German electronic rock a la Guru Guru (“Surgical Procedures on the Ship”) to Djam Karet’s early jamming space rock sound (“Using Enemy Weapons”). The psych immersion really deepens with the vaguely Middle Eastern tonalities and ambient textures of “No Pepsi in Kabul” and here Grant Richter’s electronics and synths guide the way, rather than providing their usual ornamental role on songs where guitarists Brian Wensing and Richard Franecki are the focus. Though heavily based on improvisations, the band operates with a unity of purpose that prevents most of the material from veering into the sort of indulgent jamming that can become quickly tiresome (though the 15 minute title track briefly tested my patience). On the whole there’s little to complain about and fans of early krautrock and hardcore psych owe it to themselves to check this one out.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 34, 2003 releases

Related artist(s): F/i, Richard Franecki

Latest news

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Haakon Ellingsen - Bounty – Many many years ago (in issue #12 to be precise) we reviewed a wonderful and heavily Beatles influenced psychedelic pop album titled Kindergarten by Norwegian trio The Last James. Haakon Ellingsen...  (2008) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues