Frak are an experimental techno trio from Sweden who have been active since 1987. Initially releasing music on cassette through their own Börft Records label, the group was largely unknown for the first two and a half decades of its existence; it wasn't until the early 2010s that the underground music world started to catch up with Frak, with releases appearing on experimental and techno labels far beyond the group's home country. The group's many recordings range from industrial electro to hard acid techno, and are generally improvised live in the studio. Never taking themselves too seriously, Frak have always worn cartoonish tinfoil masks on their heads during live performances, and their music has always had a playful, mischievous spirit.
Björn Isgren, Johan Sturesson, and Jan Svensson began collecting analog synthesizers after being exposed to industrial and new wave groups like Severed Heads, D.A.F., and Devo during the mid-'80s. While still in their early teens, the trio formed Frak and began issuing tapes in 1987. They began performing live in 1988 to local audiences who were not receptive to their experimental brand of music; part of the reason they donned masks was to conceal their identities to their often hostile audiences. Nevertheless, they continued pumping out cassettes of their music, as well as other local experimental and industrial artists. Frak's first vinyl release was a split one-sided 7" with Der Angriff in 1989. They began appearing on cassette compilations put out by other European labels in the early '90s, and more cassette and vinyl releases appeared on Börft as well as German label Echtzeit and Swedish label Tiny Dog. Frak began releasing more vinyl than cassettes during the mid-'90s, with over half a dozen LPs and EPs appearing on Börft between 1993 and 1997. Meanwhile, the label issued dozens of recordings by artists such as Ü (Joel Brindefalk), Smersh, and Svensson's solo moniker Villa Åbo.
Frak went on a bit of a hiatus for a few years, resuming their release schedule in 2003 with a split LP with Smea. In 2007, two recordings of early-'90s Frak material appeared on Swedish labels: Djuring Phonogram's Love Beyond Synth Saga LP and Råsynth I Blekinge's "Hope to Swim" 7". A retrospective mix compilation titled Frak 88-92 appeared on Information in late 2008. Djuring Phonogram released a 7" of newer material ("Herkules") in 2010, and a deluge of Frak releases and reissues subsequently appeared on myriad labels from around the globe. Tapes appeared on Ormolycka (Hello Nova) and Beniffer Editions (Studio Jams) in 2011, and American label Digitalis issued the Muzika Electronic LP in 2012, exposing the group to a new audience. That same year, the group released the Börft EP on Sex Tags Mania as well as several 12"s on Kontra-Musik. Swedish label Psychic Malmö released Frak's Erase LP in 2013, and several more 12" EPs followed on labels such as Rubadub, TSAR, and Midlight Records. In 2014, iDEAL Recordings reissued Alice in Acidland, the trio's sought-after LP from 1993. Also that year, Frak collaborated with Bass Clef for a 12" on Schmorgasbord Records. Primitive Drums appeared on Lux Rec in 2015, and Dark Entries released Sudden Haircut in 2016. Frak's Altan Gathering was issued by Kontra-Musik in 2017. ~ Paul Simpson