Datach’i is Joseph Fraioli, a Brooklyn based electronic musician and sound designer. Beginning with his 1999 debut debut album 10110101=[rec+play] and continuing with several other releases throughout the early 2000s, Joseph has always pushed the limits of what can be done with music. His releases have seen constant shifts and reinventions, all in pursuit of the sometimes melodic and sometimes rhythmic shock that typifies his work.
In addition to Joseph's work as Datach’i, you have undoubtedly heard his footsteps, slapping, burping, and burning sounds, as sound designer for many movies and commercials through his award-winning sound design company Jafbox Sound. He is also a founding member of Big Noble along with Daniel Kessler of Interpol.
Fraioli has gone out of his way to make things difficult for himself. Like some ascetic Techno monk, he allowed himself no external sequencers or computers, instead embracing the limitations and challenges of creating entire tracks on solely the modular synthesizer. Talking about how the album was recorded, Fraioli explains, "The modular setup itself doesn’t really work without an operator, so it’s more about me and the modular becoming a single system. It’s akin to conducting an artificial intelligence machine of sorts, partnering with it in a way where you’re able to coax it into expressing a certain emotion. It’s amazing when you’re able to step back and witness the fully automated modular system making a structured and warm musical composition. It’s like the AI is alive."
The resulting album is, perhaps surprisingly, Fraioli's most "listenable" to date. Where previous Datach’i releases have aggressively explored the extremes of sound design, System is a more personal album; one influenced by his friends, family and even, when they go out of their way to attack him, the animals around him. "Basically I just love to make the kind of music that I enjoy listening to, and right now System is a pretty pure representation of that." Fraioli elaborates, “in the past I wanted to explore the boundaries of what could be considered music, and while that kind of exploration is still important to me, it can sometimes end up veering towards the academic. This time, I really wanted to make connections in the music to things that are important in my life, and introduce some energy from those interactions into the music, which perhaps made System more approachable.”
This passion for creating systems is one that permeates much of Fraioli's life, from running a sound design studio to designing his garden to specifically attract different varieties of butterflies – which in turn would inspire the eerie strains of the track "Monarchs." Meanwhile, Fraioli's experience in sound design informs every acidic squelch, nebulous pad, and metallic percussive element, creating an unsettlingly organic feel to even the most unnatural of sounds. Still, for all the talk of process and design – whether in tracks like the aforementioned "Monarchs," the spacious "Nebulae V2," or the apocalyptic "122112" – System feels less like a science project and more like alchemy, a magical process that breathes life into the baffling arrays of patch bays, oscillators, and cables.