For those familiar with Bitter Fictions’ earliest work, which excellently straddled the line between overblown noise-rock and ’90s slack-pop, this tape might come as a surprise. This, like Friesen’s recent work in Percolator Glitch and Looper Pedal Blues, is instrumental and largely improvised; what’s surprising, however, is that Nos. 1 & 2 is Friesen’s most accessible work yet. Relying heavily on the delay pedal, each track begins with minimal guitar strums, with Friesen continually piling on scraps of texture and feedback; as a result, each track feels like it’s in perpetual motion, ending far differently than it began. Most pleasantly, though, each track possesses a distinctive tone: Shimmery openers “This is How it Started” and “The Little Lantern” are calmingly psychedelic; the shuddering “Adriano Meis” is mechanically soothing; “A Bit of Fog” turns feedback into a menacing, ugly soundscape. Indeed, Friesen’s firm command of mood is what makes this so listenable — and at times, it’s hard to believe Nos. 1 & 2 was improvisational at all.
- Mark Teo, FFWD Weekly