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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

NATTEFROST: Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning (2006)

Updated: Sep 27, 2020

“It's an album full of ingenious patterns of sequenced rhythms which crisscross multiple layers of effects and ambiences, hence this particular sound”

1 The Battle that lasted Eternally 9:41

2 Where the Gods are Watching 4:03

3.Through Clear and Frosty Nights 11:09

4.Visions of a Pale Moon 3:46

5.Valhal 11:28

6.Descending from the Stars 3:39

7.Absorbed in Dreams and Yearning 9:56

8.The Northern Lights 5:12

Groove GR-129

(CD/DDL 59:09) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, Cosmic Dance)

Nattefrost is a one-man project of Bjorn Jeppesen, a Scandinavian musician. He crosses the borders of his native Denmark with a first album from Groove, ABSORBED IN DREAMS AND YEARNING. According to the press guide of the Dutch label, we are entitled to an innovative album tinged with new sounds which can lead to a new style of EM; the Scandiavian School. A quote that has something to pique the curiosity of fans of the School genre, including me. Let's see what it sounds like!

The Battle that Lasted Eternally begins with the sounds of gladiatorial fights and neighing of horses raging on a round and nervous line of the sequencer which forms wave-like oscillations. A bass sequence rolls in loops and the nervous pulses forge a continuous structure which goes more towards dance-music than purely cosmic electronic rock, even under a concert of shooting stars. These stars inspire a very harmonious synth which whistles a nice fluty melody between streaks and strata while adjusting its octaves. Animated by a structure muted because of its decor, this rather harmonious opening leaves its mark and depicts the very particular musical universe of Nattefrost. Where the Gods are Watching is a nervous title with a line of jerky sequences which recalls the analog impulses of Jean-Michel Jarre on The Magnetic Fields. There are boom-boom and harmonious strands of a bipolar synth with its spectral hums and catchy tunes. A nervous sequence which animates a spasmodic rhythm under heavy layers of a synth with threatening rumbles. Another line injects additional keys which merge into a similar but more melodic rhythm. It criss-crosses the main line which is hammered by symphonic percussions and coated with a keyboard with conflicting harmonies. A short and racy track, like Descending from the Stars and its heavy circular rhythm which incredibly embraces the first rhythmic forays of the French musician whose technoïd influences and scents occupy a lot of space on this album. Through Clear and Frosty Nights continues this foray into a musical world with heavy sequences topped of synth melodies which sing in perfect symbiosis with its sequenced rhythm. A very beautiful title which borrows a more minimalism way where the rhythm attenuates in the void and that a soft melody emerges from it. Visions of a Pale Moon may seem like a variation of Through Clear and Frosty Nights except that the rhythm is more nuanced, heavy and slow. A short but effective track, with this feminine voice blowing a few words in an atmosphere of interstellar paranoia, on a tempo driven by percussions that snap like drops of water falling in an irregular flow on a line of ghostly synth with intriguing scents.

Valhal is the hit of this album and the title I hooked my ears on the first listen. A line of sequences, bass and semi-bass, emerges from its cosmic introduction to shape a rhythm hammered with jumping chords whose resonance molds a timid echo. This rhythmic birth is knitted by a complexity between the lines of the sequencer which converge towards a synth with cooing scrolling in loops. A nasal and melodious synth of which each breath seems to have its shadow and which hums under good percussion and an amalgam of sequences which provides an enormous rhythmic support. The movement strikes the cosmic atmospheres and jumps in an astral vacuum filled with soft layers of synth and mellotron. A superb passage where indecision reigns in a perfect melodious symbiosis, especially with the arrival of more melodious chords at mid-point, with this magnificent refrain which constantly eats our hearing. Valhal then embraces a slow ambient phase in which the cosmic winds blow. A short phase disturbed by a good movement of the sequencer with chords more melodious than percussionned and where Bjorn Jeppesen recites an ode which finds echo in the caresses of the sidereal winds. Like Where the Gods are Watching and Descending from the Stars, the title-track offers a very Jean-Michel Jarre vision with good analog tones from the synths waltzing on nervous and juicy sequences. Immersed in a cosmic broth, the title flows with a harmony which becomes more complex as it evolves, like all that is heard on this first opus by Nattefrost outside of Scandinavia. The Northern Lights ends this album with a very atmospheric vision. A title that stands out with its dark movement flowing between two rhythm lines with delicate drumming. This is the ambient rhythm for an atmospheric vision.

As writing in Groove's press guide, ABSORBED IN DREAMS AND YEARNING is an album that indeed has a strange sound. Rest assured; the Berlin School is not in danger! By what we are very far from the genre. It's an album that is both dark and melodious, full of ingenious patterns of sequenced rhythms that crisscross all the tracks, there are so many of them here. But this is nothing compared to synths and the multiple layers of effects and atmospheres whose richness and sound masses ward off the impacts of the bubbling sequencer of robotic dance rhythms à la Kraftwerk. Ingenious rhythms and powerfully coated with these hyper-melodious layers of synths, hence the connection with Jean-Michel Jarre. I enjoyed it, from start to finish. And I can't wait to hear the next music from Nattefrost. A new artist, amply interesting, who seems to have a good potential of creativity.

Sylvain Lupari (July 18th, 2006) *****

Available at Groove

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