Founded in 1999 by Florida Electro Bass veteran James Wolfe of Resident Alien fame, Frajile Recordings was part of the 3rd wave of our music to bring a whole new generation of artists to the stage with a unique drive to push the envelope of the sound; especially that of the South Florida region which in many ways has always had a unique style that has set it aside from the rest. As Wolfe explains: "I started Frajile Recordings because I wasn't happy with the music coming out at the time. I wanted more Electro so I thought, what a better way than to make my own Electro music that I liked and needed".
Always embracing the global perspective of the music, instead of getting bogged down by local or even national trends, Frajile Recordings has delivered a plethora of incredible vinyl and digital releases by artists like his own Resident Alien, Exzakt (half of Resident Alien), Brice Kelly, Uprock, Scratch-D, Oz, and legendary producer Bahamut, not to mention works under his own name, as well as his new pseudonym "F8".
Kicking things off, Frajile Recordings brought us James Wolfe's debut release called "Techtonic Plates"; a sinister and futuristic 12" release, with executive producer David Noller of Dynamix II at the console, helping this already veteran DJ of the Florida scene rise to a whole new level and one that was quite unexpected to those who had been great followers of his incredibly unique DJ sets across the state and the rest of the country. As Wolfe comments about why he went down this path: "I chose Electro because it was what I really loved and it gave me the freedom to experiment with production versus most of the other cookie cutter formats being released during that time period".
In 2000, hot on the heels of its own footprint, Frajile returned, this time with one of the most classic 12" vinyl Electro Bass compilations to come out of the area: "Florida Electro Artists Vol. 1", featuring Resident Alien, as well as Scratch-D Vs. Oz with a remix of Dynamix II's classic "Plastic Men", not to mention Uprock's timeless masterpiece "Klockwerk Oranj". A fairly eclectic display of the different styles that were prevalent in the underground scene in the region during that time, and a record that put Frajile on the international map as a label to always look for.
As the 2000's got underway, Frajile got into high-gear, bringing us other classic hits such as Resident Alien's "Radio Killer", as well as Exakt's "Muzik Is The Drug", not to mention Resident Alien's mysterious yet somehow melancholic "Machine Vs. Man. There would also be the follow-up volume to the "Florida Electro Artists" compilation; this time featuring Factor-E's "20K Freaks", here remixed by Jackal N Hyde, as well as Resident Alien's 'Movement Through Thought". After a hiatus that lasted until 2006, Frajile returned with their last vinyl title to date, this time with Brice Kelly's debut EP "Unmanned March"; an innovative and wildly ingenious display of an artist who we unfortunately do not hear enough from.
As the digital revolution began to take hold, even prestigious labels such as this began to get hit hard by the decline in vinyl sales, which as Wolfe explains happened when: "record stores and distributors went out of business, and the outlet for getting your releases out there [digitally] wasn't quite ready yet. I took a step back to re-evaluate and re-group for a few years when all of this happened". Obviously having been one of the originators of the 3rd wave to come out of the Florida region, Frajile Recordings reveled in several sold out vinyl releases to what is still a highly energetic market for Electronic Music in the state (albeit digitally), bringing us a wonderful collection of high-quality presses and releases of music still to this day very innovative in its own right, and holding the bar up high enough for anyone taking influence to follow in its footsteps.
To someone like James Wolfe, vinyl not only has a better sound, it is as he comments "a physical piece of art that would remind me of amazing memories from all of the other times it was played. When I would be searching through my flight case at a show for the next song to play, vinyl made it much easier to remember songs just by looking at the sleeve or the label. Digital on the other hand, are just file names with no soul. Files don't give you that emotional connection between human and music like vinyl does".
While indeed the so called Digital Revolution may have hit labels such as this in a hard way, not all imprints are fighters, and as many fell off the bandwagon, many clung on for dear life, only to return even if just in digital formats, putting together releases that still met the bar of ingenuity and taking great care in the sonic experience for the end listener with proper mastering techniques (something many digital labels do not follow through with).
One of these labels of course was Frajile, who returned in 2014 ready for the assault on the masses with its first-ever digital release called "With The Gladiators" by mastermind James Wolfe, delivering a single full of dark sinister cybernetic rhythms, along with playful, robotic Electro Bass beats in his signature style, featuring cool female vocals. Since then, the label has brought us a flurry of other EP's by James Wolfe, including his F8 pseudonym, and showing the artist is just tuning up his instruments and warming up his engines as he prepares for the onslaught. Titles include his remix of Bahamut's "Planet-E" with partner in crime Scratch-D, as well as the single "Perfect Motion", "TransBass E.P.", and F8's "World Premiere E.P.".
Stay tuned as Frajile Recordings is back, and with no signs of slowing down. If anything, the recent release of Brice Kelly's full length album "The Wanderer", as well as the new EP by The Korrupted Brothers is a sign that the label is simply getting cozy is in its own space, and ready for another wave of sonic attacks. There is even some vinyl output planned for the future, which Wolfe states that "I plan on releasing small runs of vinyl, 100-200 copies, until proper distribution comes back, then we will be doing larger runs". As there seems to be a resurgence in vinyl as a format of choice, many are waiting for the right moment to get back in the sandbox, though for our beloved scene, things are quite not there yet as it is such an underground format of music these days. As Wolfe explains: "I'm seeing a resurgence in vinyl with big labels that have large amounts of funding and also with some smaller labels that are very dedicated". Leaving one only to wonder how and when will we begin to see this effect trickle down to Electro Bass music.
One thing is for sure, quitting is not an option when you have oodles of great dance music under your sleeve, and Frajile has always been known to deliver, even if there are setbacks along the way. James Wolfe explains for the future that he hopes to continue to: "have a top quality product of music and cover art with a consistent release schedule. Using revenue from music sales to promote the music more and create new and innovative ways for the consumer to obtain the music. As the label mission states "We believe in quality before quantity", which is exactly what you get when you stay true to something so fragile as the soul of the music itself.