Vincent Turner, better known as Frankmusik, has had a tumultuous year. He released his second studio album, Do It In the AM, with Island Records, produced an album for British synth-pop duo, Erasure, supported the same band on a tour across the United States and Europe, split from his record label, dropped his old moniker and reinvented himself as Vincent Did It as a side project, and most recently he has released his newest electro-pop creation, the SOPA Opera EP, available for free at www.freefrankmusik.com. I’m quick to declare artists my favorite, but I’m really serious this time — Frankmusik IS my favorite. His music is intricate, addicting, and to be honest I love the fact that he sings with a lisp. SOPA Opera doesn’t stray far from the infectious dance beats and falsetto crooning of Frankmusik’s earlier projects, but there’s a new edge to this set of songs that shows him developing as a songwriter and taking more risks as a producer.
The EP starts out with “Dynamo,” a futuristic electro-stutter driven track full of crazy synths and production surprises. This is the first song Frankmusik released as Vincent Did It, but fans expecting a change of style will be relieved to know that, essentially, it is still Frankmusik. This is an addicting song that seems to get better with every listen. Although it is rather simple lyrically (he mostly just repeats “I’ll be your dynamo” throughout the whole thing), “Dynamo” is high energy and structurally unsound. I love it.
The next track, “Somebody,” is by far the best on the EP. Frankmusik manages to electrify the trite, overdone “you’re special, good for you” pop song with a topnotch backing track and humorous lyrics. I can’t tell if this song is pop, electronic or dance. It’s just a blur of fun. Along the lines of McFly’s 2008 hit, “One for the Radio,” “Somebody” is Frankmusik’s middle finger to the music industry. After being dropped by two record labels and getting caught up in drama with a former manager, Frankmusik shows that he is not one to be discouraged. There’s a dumb rapping bit in the middle by Jay White, making the track almost radio friendly, but I shouldn’t insult because the take home message is, after all, “don’t let the bastards bring you down cuz you’re somebody!”
Everything slows down for “So You’re Alive.” Here’s where Frankmusik really shows off what I love so much about his voice — his subtle lisp and the sensitivity of his falsetto. Again, the production on this track has an incredibly original sound. There are some eerie children’s cheers, a synth-saxophone solo and heavily futuristic vibes. This song leaves you with an odd feeling but almost certain that Frankmusik is a genius. There’s a music video for this song, but it’s just a guy in fancy clothes and a blue mask walking around in the snow; better watch this instead.
Frankmusik brings another guest artist onto the EP with “Notice Me,” featuring Quigley. Slightly reminiscent of his Do It In the AM duet with Natalia Kills, “No Champagne,” “Notice Me” is a song about yearning for the attention of someone special. The most impressive feature of this track is Quigley, an up and coming artist whose own EP was produced by none other than Frankmusik himself. (It’s called Pleiades and is available for free at http://quigleyofficial.tumblr.com/.) “Notice Me” is tender, engaging and creative. With an 80’s feel and a chorus of “I just hope you no no notice notice me,” this song will get stuck in your head; there’s no way around that.
The 7-track EP wraps up with remixes of “Dynamo” and “So You’re Alive” from Digiraatii, Hervé and Leisure Council. The tracks lend themselves really well to production interpretation and each remix ends up sounding like a completely new song.
All in all, I love SOPA Opera. The artwork is creepy as hell, and I’m not really sure why Frankmusik changed his name just for one EP, but I’m just glad that after his hiatus he is finally back.
The Best Bits:
I’m lost I’m broken I am every person I have known/ but somehow I am no reflection of myself that I have shown. -Dynamo
I live everyday like it is my last/I’m always moving like I got no past – Somebody
I’ve got my health, I’ll tell ya that’s a start/ It don’t take much to set myself apart– Somebody