New York-based multi-instrumentalist and composer Frank Cogliano was best known for his film scoring and guitar work, with some pretty cool credits to his name. He worked on a number of series of Vice TV as part of their music department as well as both indie and popular films and TV series and was a featured guitar artist on the HBO Mortal Kombat movies. It’s only since December last year Cogliano decided to start releasing his solo work, and it seems that after two EDM/pop singles, he’s ready to really show the music world what he’s got with his debut album, Computers of the World.
Released in February, Computers of the World is an ambitious album in a number of ways. For those who heard his first two singles or know his film work, it’s a pretty extreme departure from anything he was doing before. It also clearly took a huge amount of composition, layering and sound design to put together, and that’s not including all the styles, techniques, programs, programmers, et al. he likely used. Like all good experimental electronic artists, this organized chaos was a deliberate choice, but it wasn’t just for the science of sound.
Many people are wondering why I didn’t finish the songs, or why I have so many. They are all finished ideas, though many of them are short, because I am also structuring it in a way that reflects the current state of our collective attention span, which is extremely fast and extremely short. I tried to compress as much emotion and musicality in as short a period of time that I could.
It’s an interesting approach and an interesting commentary on TikTok culture and how our attention spans are, indeed, being ruined by sound byte blasts. Is Cogliano embracing it or deriding it? It’s up to interpretation, perhaps, but the idea of “unfinished” songs to cater to the modern brain and its relationship to sound is a fascinating one. All that said, amid the high concept cutoffs, chaotic sound design and literal volumes of vintage computer noises used on this album, Computers of the World is surprisingly musical.
The musicality in Computers of the World seems to be where Cogliano will break from a lot of experimental producers. From intro track “Cave,” there’s a trackable timeline and a melodic quality to this album that aligns with lofi electronica and dream pop just as much as the noise functions and dissonance burned into each track. It’s Brian Eno composing music to a theme park ride that was abandoned in the 80s a’la “Downtown” or riding through an actual “Helicopter Vacuum” over EDC at sunrise. The work on Computers of the World is Aphex Twin with a bit less screaming and a lot more jazz.
Frank Cogliano is one of those rare talents who can really explore high concept experimental music while still giving his work listenability. He pokes at the EDM, lofi and even rock worlds while staying true to his music science passion on this album, and that’s no easy feat. Now that he’s declared his artistic statement with Computers of the World, now the only question is where will Frank Cogliano go from here, and it’s truly anyone’s guess.
Computers of the World is out now and can be streamed or purchased via multiple platforms by clicking here, including a limited edition vinyl version on Bandcamp. There are also loads more cool and trippy visualizers to check out on Cogliano’s YouTube Page.