tremble clef

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Frost, "American Records" (1998)/"Duo" (2002)

Here is a picture of Aggie Peterson and Per Martinsen, aka Norwegian electronic duo Frost.

My head feels funny
Oh dear. Per's head has been replaced by a disco ball. It's like a Kafka story, except happy.

The photo, which I'm supposed to tell you was taken by Hans Fredrik Asbjørnsen, is to promote the current single by the band, called "Sleepwalker," as well as the forthcoming album on which it will presumably feature. Not for the first time I have failed you, because I don't have an mp3 of the track. But you can watch the video. Sure, do it now. Go on. I'll wait.

The song's quite good, isn't it? Bit of an electro stomper, with Aggie singing ethereally over the top. It could be a modern day version of "Voyage Voyage." Maybe it's a bit repetitive and isn't quite "the finest track of its ilk since Annie's 'Greatest Hit,'" as one press account would have it, but still -- it stomps.

I'm therefore quite eager to hear the new album. My spidey sense tells me that, after two records that didn't live up to their potential, Frost might just be finally ready to produce one that will be brilliantly stompy all the way through. Perhaps.

Aggie has always been the center of the group, but she's had different partners. She started by working with Rune Lindbæk, producing a debut album called Bedsit Theories with the help of Torbjørn Brundtland, who would go on to form Röyksopp. That first album mostly consisted of moody triphop numbers, interspersed with more guitary tracks. In the former category, for instance, there was a cover of The Rah Band's "Clouds Across The Moon" (you know: that fantastically melodramatic 80s song set in a futuristic world where the technology is advanced enough to send a man to work on Mars, but not advanced enough to allow his girl to call him more than once a year?). In the latter category was "American Records," which the trainspotters out there will know is also a cover, of the Saint Etienne b-side "I Buy American Records." It was therefore a slightly unfocused album, and also lacked a killer pop single ("Close To You," with its na-na-nas, was pleasant, but pretty inconsequential).

For the second album, Aggie worked with Per, and that line-up seems to have solidified. The resulting record, Melodica, was more determinedly electronic, featuring a couple of tracks produced by Röyksopp as well as a single called "Endless Love" (at least on the US version of the album) that Torbjørn and Sven gave the remix treatment to. Quality-wise too, the album was much more consistent, and contained some lovely numbers: the bouncy "Alphabet," for example, on which Aggie cutely declares her intention to not "live a life preset/I want to read every letter of the alphabet."

But my favorite song is probably the gorgeous electro ballad "Duo." In particular, there are moments in there I could listen to over and over: whenever the song goes from the verse to the chorus and the key changes, and Aggie's voice suddenly lifts to sing, "One and one was still two/You came to me, I came to you/You bought me flowers, talked for hours [surely a Pet Shop Boys quotation, and indeed the conceit of the song might even make a gentle nod to "One And One Make Five"]/It was meant to be, I know/One and one was still two/I wouldn't be without you/Another day, night fades away/We were meant to be, I know..." It is then when Ms. Frost especially lives up to her name: icy, but always holding the promise that when it all melts, it creates beautiful moments to witness.


Post a Comment

<< Home