NATTEFROST: Live in Germany 2008 & 2009 (2010)
Updated: Sep 28
“Björn Jeppesen's shows leave room for the instantaneous and the nuances brought to a music which is thus rejuvenated”
1 Valhal (Part 1 & 2) 3:43
2 Searching for a Distant Planet 4:35
3 Kopenhaachen (R. Schroeder) 6:50
4 Perfectly connected (R. Schroeder) 6:00
5 Intro 0:43
6 Decadence 5:14
7 The Swan 3:50
8 The Pleasure of Tranquillity 6:06
9 Descending from the Stars 2:23
10 Draconian 5:07
11 Winterland 4:01
12 Nightfall 4:50
13 Kopenhaachen 6:08
14 A new direction 5:24
(CD/DDL 65:27) (V.F.)
(Cosmic Rock, Synth-Pop, Synth-Rock)
Quietly Björn Jeppesen is reaping the fruits of his talent. Since Absorbed In Dreams And Yearning the Danish synthesist sees his star shining more in more in the small growing universe of EM. With his unique style where nervous sequences, permutations of rhythms and ambient passages à la Berlin School cross his melodic visions with a Scandinavian flavor, Nattefrost has conquered an increasingly numerous public and presents concerts at a more sustained pace. Just before the release of his next album, Dying Sun / Scarlet Moon, Björn Jeppesen sets his first album in concert. One concert, in fact two, which covers a good part of the 3 albums released on Groove nl.
The first part of LIVE IN GERMANY offers a part of a concert given in Wuppertal as part of the Ambient Experience II, on May 3, 2008. For this event, Nattefrost was accompanied by Robert Schroeder on guitars. A cropped version of Valhal opens this concert. Suave and gently ambient, the intro gives way to its sequences which open the very harmonious section of this oneiric synth pushing nice synth odes under good percussions. A very good title that we find on Absorbed In Dreams And Yearning. Unfortunately, and like in Tracks from the Archives, the sound quality of this concert sounds limited. Quite cold sound, a bit like the recordings captured from the audience. So, it's with a diminished sound that we follow the evolution of Searching for a Distant Planet, that we also find on Tracks from the Archives, with sequences which strike an ambient veil. A nice track that definitely sounds better on Underneath the Nightsky. Kopenhaachen and Perfectly Connected, from the album Transformation, also suffer from this sound deficiency. We have difficulty properly grasping all the nuances and modulations of Kopenhaachen's rhythms, that we will find on the other hand (Schroeder in less) on the Bielefeld concert, while the sound quality of Perfectly Connected is better defined, thus allowing to follow its frantic sequences which feed a nervous rhythm of which Robert Schroeder's guitar solos are however difficult to grasp properly.
The sound quality of the Bielefeld concert is definitely better. Decadence kicks off things with nervous sequences which hop furiously on a slightly syncopated structure bitten by a good bass line which hems an incisive cadence. The synth frees nice dark layers and solos in a cosmic sound context, bordering JM-Jarre's cosmic side. A heavy track that we find on Transformation. The Swan, which will appear too on Dying Sun/Scarlet Moon, is a fascinating adaptation of a Camille Saint-Saëns track from Le Carnaval des Animaux. We are far from an interpretation as quiet as the original one with sequences colliding each other violently. Hybrid, the synth shapes a great melody in a cosmic atmosphere of a carnival in space. I like Björn Jeppesen's audacity who is attacking a great monument while letting this superb piece of music flows under bridges of unchained sequences. Nattefrost trademark! Another track from the upcoming Dying Sun/Scarlet Moon album, Draconian presents sequences always so heavy and resounding which trace a random rhythmic schema before embracing a technoïd phase. Hybrid, the rhythm hesitates between its heaviness and its pace beneath layers of a synth whose loops coo among dark and misty strata.
A fantastic cosmic ballad from Underneath the Nightsky, The Pleasure of Tranquility is rendered with more punch at the level of the sequencer but retains all its melodious meaning under beautiful cosmic streaks of a very charming synth. Caressing the scents of Jarre with a synth with symphonic layers on a groovy tempo, Descending from the Stars is getting a whole new look. Winterland displays as much intensity with its stormy sequences which trace a frenetic flow. The synth is fluid and releases layers that intermingle with good solos replacing Schroeder's guitar on the album Underneath the Nightsky. Presented for the very first time on Tracks from the Archives, Nightfall is interpreted with more bitten, in particular because of the good percussion play that hammers this heavy rhythm which undulates under a strange seabed aura. Bielefeld's concert ends with 2 superb interpretations of tracks from Nattefrost's latest studio album, Transformation. Even with Schroeder's absence on the guitar, Kopenhaachen is boiling with energy with its rhythm based on crisscrossing sequences and its synth in tones of festive trumpets. A solid interpretation of a superb title! A New Direction concludes with this rhythm which skips slightly on sequences filled with an electric fixity. The electronic sounds which abound there form a dense electronic-cosmic cloud, from which escapes a melody as imprecise and nuanced as the crushed rhythm of A New Direction.
LIVE IN GERMANY presents us a Nattefrost who constantly communicates with his audience. Between each title of the Electronic Circus concert in Bielefeld, Björn Jeppesen informs and talks to his audience. Even though the Wuppertal concert is poor in sound, the Bielefeld's performance is simply great. A concert where Björn Jeppesen shows that an EM show isn't necessarily pre-recorded and that there is room for the instantaneous and the nuances brought to a music which is thus rejuvenated.
Sylvain Lupari (November 15th, 2010) ***¾**
Available at Groove nl