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  • Writer's pictureSylvain Lupari

Nattefrost Early Recordings (1986 – 1999) (2022)

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

For hardcore fans, and the curious who like to follow the evolution of technology in the art of modern EM

1 Mørkt 3:21

2 Fanget i Dybet 3:45

3 Vandrende mod Skovens Indre 2:07

4 Against the Mainstream 2:30

5 Nightfall 5:02

6 Skjoldungernes Hævn 2:50

7 The last Emphasis 4:22

8 Snestorm 3:02

9 Ancient Times 2:19

10 Technological Revenge 4:29

11 I Månens Skær 3:17

12 Når Månen er fuld 3:40

13 Over Danmark's hedenske Sletter 1:27

14 A Feeling of making Magic 2:37

15 Casio-Nummer 1:26

(CD/DDL 46:20) (V.F.)

(E-Rock, Ambient movie vibes)

After 3 compilations that dusted off his musical vaults, Bjorn Jeppesen managed to find some very old Nattefrost material that he had composed between the years 86, yes-yes (Casio-Nummer), and 99. EARLY RECORDINGS (86-99) is primarily aimed at fans of the Danish musician's early albums before he took a more Electronica bend in the early 10's. Notice that we find clues about this future orientation in this other compilation from the one who has offered us the excellent Absorbed In Dreams and Yearing as an entry into his universe in 2006. There are 15 tracks, whose average length is barely more than 3 minutes, in sound envelopes that are very retro. It's just enough to follow the beginning and the evolution of Nattefrost, without more.

The orchestral side is omnipresent with quite interesting cinematographic structures which are in connection with the first albums of Nattefrost on Groove nl. And this can be heard from the opening of Mørkt and its processional violin pads that plunge us into a cinematographic atmosphere, like a Babylonian era movie. The structure keeps a cadence built by the staccato movement of the orchestrations where are grafted percussions of the orchestral type, like timpani. Fanget i Dybet is livelier, jerky, with orchestrations curtly cut out. The synthesizer weaves arrangements in the form of harmonious solos before exploring a more complex orchestral universe, like Synergy in Metropolitan Suite. I quite enjoyed it! The last Emphasis, although much more lively, is of this sophisticated orchestral tendency with beatbox drums that literally bring us back to the stone age of electronic percussions. The synth is quite good on this track scattering some very harmonious solos and airs over a rather greedy bass line. Slow, Vandrende mod Skovens Indre extends its grip like a smothered buzzing threat. Against the Mainstream follows with a similar vision, with a droning layer, but with more driving undulations. Boom-boom percussions and clinking cymbals restructure the rhythm into a form of archaic Techno where the synth takes on a Jazz feel. We already heard the very good Nightfall on the album Live in Germany 2008 & 2009. Here we have the studio version. The next two tracks are also on the compilation Tracks from the Archives 2, which I still haven't heard. We find The last Emphasis, see above in the text, and Skjoldungernes hævn which is also a slow track, but with a gothic flavor. Another orchestral movement, its structure evolves on a military-warrior cadence pounded by percussions and staccatos. Snestorm, found on Tracks from the Archives 3, also breathes of these atmospheres, but in a more ethereal vision. Slower and more threatening, the too short Over Danmark's hedenske Sletter is in the same vein. I månens skær is another track of TFTA3. If the sound of the ancestral electronic percussions of The last Emphasis pleases your ears, Ancient Times is also built upon it. Its rhythm is edgy and driving, unlike Technological Revenge and its static flow wrapped in synth layers whose spectral harmonies undulate over a moderate pulsing line. Når månen er fuld is in the same register as Vandrende mod Skovens Indre, it's almost gothic psybient. A Feeling of Making Magic is one of the rare tracks to make our feet move in this compilation. Its rhythm is nervous, well supported by percussions with unleashed strikes and by the synth which cuts out chirps by jerks. Nattefrost makes his synth coo in a very artistic way in the atmospheric passage of the title which is reborn with its unbridled rhythm. Casio-Nummer sounds very old with its pulsating rhythm on sober percussions. A lively thing that can be heard quite often on YouTube to explain the antique electronic charms of an old Casio synth.

Like I wrote at the beginning of the review, EARLY RECORDINGS (86-99) is for Nattefrost's hardcore fans, as well as the curious who like to follow the evolution of technology in the art of modern electronic music (EM). That said, I found that there were more good moments than the opposite in this umpteenth compilation of old stuff from the Danish musician. I like the cinematographic vision that grows in several tracks and whose flavors flirt with the Scandinavian model of a loud, slow and dark music.

Sylvain Lupari (October 7th, 2022) ***¾**

Available at Nattefrost Bandcamp

(NB: Text in blue are links you can click on)

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