Sometimes the beauty of music hits you suddenly and through unexpected forms. A few days ago I had one of this experiences when I came across to an album from a formation that was completly unknown to me, called Fröst. I didn’t know what to expect from the album and its release notes, in true honesty, were a little ambiguous and not exactly evocative: “For fans of the likes of Broadcast, Silver Apples and Kraftwerk together, Frost create angular and electronic music by blending Motorik and hypnotic radiophonics into neatly wrapped often bilingual pop structures“.
Fortunately enough, good music uses a language that is typically more immediate and emotional than certain artificially complex and cryptic descriptions. And in the end, as soon as I started listening to the songs of Fröst’s debut abum, named Matters, the quality and beauty of this work cancelled in a few seconds all the doubts and the uncertainty that I had at the beginning. Also because if there is one single thing that Fröst’s music demonstrates unequivocally is that true beauty often lies in simplicity.
There are very few and also basic ingredients in the songs of Matters: we have catchy bass lines, electronic drums that are limited to a few sounds and which never deviate from elementary “motorik” four beats signatures, delicate touches of synths and, on top of that, an angelic voice that sometimes sings in English and sometimes in French. What is absolutely brilliant, instead, is the originality – and the class – that the artists have shown when combining together these simple elements. So, if I wanted to describe their music with the same simplicity of their sound, I would say: catchy and singable melodies transported into low-fi electronic music. As simple as that, but extremely satisfying to hear.
Fröst is a Brighton-based collaboration between French-Swedish sound artist and vocalist Johanna Bramli and synth player and producer Steve Lewis. Both artists have a fairly interesting past both as soloists and as members of other formations, but I am led to think that their collaboration for the album Matters is probably, so far, one of the most important stages of their career. The naturalness with which the songs of Matters develop one after the other is really impressive and this musical marriage beteween the two artists is something magical. It’s as if these two musicians were really born to play together: their music is extremely effective and complete, from all points of view.
Musically speaking, the strongest element of the album is for sure the melodic sensibility of the composers. The songs of Matters are actually simple and extremely linear in their structure, but they are never trivial or boring. When you hear the album you feel like you’re listening to melodies that you have always known, even if it’s not the case. And the beauty of these musical motifs is much stronger because of the lightness and the elegance of the arrangements, which are never exaggerated or out of context.
Last, but not least, it’s really satisfying and laudable that there are no gap fillers in the album. Each track has its reason to exist and, although clearly there is a group of songs that are more exciting and engaging than the others, the album in its entirety is really one that you can listen again and again, in perpetual repeat, without interruptions.
In summary: Matters is definitely an important and promising debut from a formation that has just appeared in the scene of electronic music. I really hope that the collaboration between Bramli and Lewis will continue in the next years and this won’t result as only one temporary stage in their careers.