With a career spanning back to the 1990s, Mattias Fridell has become a name synonymous with consistent quality. Rugged grooves and stripped-down 4/4 are unified to create smouldering dub-warehouse trips, rich and atmospheric, yet firmly dancefloor-centric at the same time. His latest release, the Shape of Void released ‘Formen’ EP, opts for a different approach. Rife with teeming granular atmospherics, sub-pressure and feather-light melodies, the EP makes up his first ambient release.
“Mosaik from Shape Of Void contacted me in April to discuss if I would be able to create something for their label” he begins when talking of the release. “After some conversing, he mentioned the label’s aim was to open a catalog of ambient and experimental creations. I figured it would be nice to finally make that ambient release I’d always wanted to, so I offered to make the first EP for the catalog. I ended up discarding hours of material until I was happy with these tracks. My aim was to do a very personal take on ambient and drone. There’s a fine balance between loss and allure, constantly battling in the music. Hopefully I managed to get the mood right.”
Aside from his history creating techno, Fridell spent many years working as a sound engineer. This included working with live PAs as well as assorted studio work. These days however, his main source of income is mastering. “It gives me another level of satisfaction” he says of the practise. “It’s so deep and nerdy, it suits me perfectly.”
A brief look through his Bandcamp page, ‘MFSamples’, reveals another of Fridell’s talents. He has six packs available for public consumption here, yet his background working with sample libraries stretches back years. “I have a colossal bank of samples dating back to the year 2000 or so” he begins when asked on the topic. “The thing is, I was actually contracted by a, at the time, pretty well known sample company. They vanished in their previous form and since I was still bound by contract I couldn’t start working on samples for other companies until way later. Now I like to keep it to an underground way of working, and Bandcamp provides an excellent platform for this sort of business. Occasionally I recognize a sound sample I made in a track - mostly the stabs! Sometimes people send me music they made with my samples, which is something I appreciate. More often I get asked how some of the sounds were made. I always answer those requests, it’s the least I can do.”
For his contribution to our podcast series, Fridell decided to put together a live recording, rather than opting for his usual, DJ-based approach. “When I get asked to record or contribute mixes for podcasts or radio shows I never record them in the studio, I always use recordings from gigs” he says when asked about the thinking behind the podcast. “However, I had none available in this case. Since I was on this sudden ambient creation spree, I figured I would construct a live ambient set instead! That, and the fact that it’s not so generic to deliver specially tailored sets like these for music blogs got me going. I wanted to make something unique.”
Aside from the Shape of Void release, Fridell appears to have been keeping busy lately. I made an EP for a new label, District 66, entitled the ‘Farsot’ EP which includes a remix from Progression” he starts when asked of future plans. “You’ll hear a lot about that label sooner or later I’m sure. There’s another release for a topical Dutch label, Decoder Recordings, coming in a few months and finally I have a new EP coming out on Gynoid Audio’s LTD series, paired with remixes by P.E.A.R.L & Antonio De Angelis.”