In the sunlit sprawl of Los Angeles, where the eclectic thrum of music continuously ebbs and flows, a singular project named Numb.er – articulated as “nuhm-er” – emerged. The multi-faceted artist, graphic designer, and deft multi-instrumentalist, Jeff Fribourg’s musical venture traces its roots back to 2015, nestled within his tenure with the LA-based psych-kraut ensemble, Froth. It was within this milieu that Numb.er, initially a collection of introspective bedroom demos channeling the more shadowy corridors of Fribourg’s psyche, began to weave its sound, evolving from a solo venture to a resplendent collective, graced intermittently by some of the city’s most illustrious musical talents.
Now, after a lengthy hiatus, Numb.er is finally poised to deliver their full-length sophomore effort, Regressions.
During the latter half of 2019, Jeff Fribourg found himself in a Parisian hotel room, working on his album under the patronage of Celine, the iconic fashion house. In the wonderful atmosphere of the City of Lights, he combined the raw cadence of Logic beats with the sultry drones of a Moog synthesizer and the plaintive strums of a DI guitar to create auditory sketches. These were more than just compositions; they were sonic diaries, resonating with the poignant sense of solitude and wistfulness that comes with being in a vast, unfamiliar metropolis.
Upon returning to Los Angeles in 2020, Fribourg sought the expertise of esteemed producer Mike Kriebel, known for his work with luminaries like Institute, Drab Majesty, Vrsex, P22, Death Bells, and Thee Oh Sees. Together, they breathed life and intricacy into Fribourg’s rudimentary Parisian drafts, meticulously sculpting what would later crystallize as “Regressions.”
The COVID pandemic sidetracked Fribourg’s initial release plans. Forced to live with these unreleased recordings in the midst of a global lockdown, Fribourg spent the ensuing months tinkering with the record through a manic process of cutting tracks, remixing and retitling others, creating all-new artwork and a new tracklist, imbuing the album with an entirely different meaning and mission statement. The end result is an intensely personal sonic document of Fribourg’s experiences with isolation, political angst, love, and death in an increasingly unfamiliar world.
Regressions extends its aural textures and narrative with the contemplative strains of “Resolution,” a wry overture that nods distinctly to the influences of PIL and Fad Gadget. From this meditative beginning, the album takes a heady turn with “J31,” diving headlong into the murky waters of post-punk guitar riffs. The track’s addictive hook is evocative, drawing parallels with the iconic rhythms of Killing Joke.
Further in, Congratulations, Stay Safe emerges as a fierce anthem, its snarl underscored by minor chords, and bristling with defiance against the veneer of societal courtesies. The journey then takes a more avant-garde detour with “No Exit.” It fuses experimental synths, evoking memories of classic Atari video game scores, layered atop a mesmerizing drone of a guitar, delivering a tantalizing auditory concoction.
Behind is a mirror to the feelings of solitude and estrangement that lace through the entirety of the album. Amidst the thrum of distorted guitars and the ethereal hum of spectral synths, one detects a soundscape echoing the tumult and disquiet that come with our innate quest for closeness. “Behind” paints a vivid tableau of the desperate longing to elude miscomprehension, oscillating between mending and abandoning fractured bonds. The track is a cryptic missive, a shadowy dialogue between Fribourg’s multiple facets, riddled with clandestine musings and elusive imagery. It hums with the nostalgic undertones of the 90s, invoking the visceral spirits of bands like the Dandy Warhols, Pixies, and The Breeders.
Overall, the album is a collection of daring experimentation and compelling poetry. Listen below:
The Regressions LP is out via Third Coming Records on October 6, 2023.
You can pre-order the album here.
The year 2018 saw Numb.er unveiling “Goodbye,” their debut LP, and with it, the Los Angeles music scene was set abuzz. The band swiftly emerged as a luminary, garnering recognition as one of the city’s most electrifying newcomers. This meteoric rise was further underscored by the release of several singles, punctuating their distinct soundscape.
It wasn’t just in studios that Numb.er left an indelible mark. Their resonance permeated the live music scene, evidenced by their residency at the venerable Echo in Los Angeles. This was followed by a kaleidoscope of performances across the U.S. and Europe. Touring alongside kindred spirits like the KVB and A Place to Bury Strangers, Numb.er etched their credentials not just as musicians, but as a vibrant, unmissable live spectacle.
Catch Numb.er in Europe this week:
- 04 October: PARIS – TONY COLLECTIF w/ NGHTCRWLR & MÜNKI
- 05 October: DESORDRE (dj set)
- 07 October: BERLIN – 8MM w/ NGHTCRWLR & MÜNKI
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