Album of the Week: 'Fródi' - 'Hola'
This was originally meant to be an 'In Short' review, but the Faroese musician Fródi has released an album which has grown on me so much that I felt I should cover it in more depth. His new album is entitled 'Hola' (translated to 'A Hole') and it's a powerful, unusual release, which maintains a sustained vigour through use of minimalist inspired rhythms (and maybe there's some progressive influences in his music too), and when it opens up there's a lovely melodic ambitions as well.
So 'Fródi' is from the Faroe Islands, and he's a multi-instrumentalist who released his first album back in 2009 and has ever since released music and played in different parts of the world. Over the years Fródi has built up a collection of interesting releases, most of which can be found on Spotify, and which includes the likes of the EP / Album remarkably entitled 'Patience is a Motherf***er when you are living life in slow motion', but unlike previous releases 'Hola' is written in Faroese, and also uses entirely piano and synths, rather than guitar.
Opening track 'Hola' is an immediate favourite, I love the Steve Reich / John Adams style rhythms that propel the track forward (and there's hints of John Grant too), a melody cuts through the background sounds and the backing vocals remind me of early Arcade Fire. '12 fet fyri borð' ('12 steps overboard') Is more contemplative, but it again it is those rhythmic elements which that are so interesting, with the rhythms changing the feel of the track as it progresses, and vocals which are melodic and imposing. The piano effects in 'Romeo við sanginum' ('Romeo with the song') create a different atmosphere, as he heads in the direction of Rachmaninov and maybe its all a bit dramatic at times for my personal taste, but the simplicity of the melody in 'Løtan varir við' ('The Moment Lasts') appeals to me, whilst the swelling instrumentation and rhythms around add both a beauty and intensity - I love the climax 2 minutes in.
The extent to which the tracks are built around the piano are demonstrated in the meandering but always effective 'Klár', whilst 'Øsing' ('Anger') is unusual and develops from synths to a disturbing mix of piano and effects, which rises and falls - I need to understand more about the context of the track to fully appreciate it . 'Arini av storminium' ('the wounds of he storm') is a beautiful stately track, I love the subtlety from the accompanying instruments and it has just the most gorgeous ending, with lovely musical phrasing. And the album ends with 'Spor' with a strong melody and a slowly building piano theme which mesmerises until it cuts to expose the vocal tune - and it's a beautiful touch to end.
I'm probably missing some key appeals by not understanding the Faroese lyrics (which is clearly so important, as demonstrated by the Ida Wenoe album), but 'Hola' has a lovely feel to it, a mix of interesting instrumentation, arrangements (and credit should go to Mattias Kapnas, who is listed as an 'arranger' in the credits) and some lovely melodies. I love being 'surprised' by music and 'Fródi' has for some reason done exactly that by constructing a set of 8 individual distinct tracks that have a deep beauty, with incredible detail and so much to enjoy on repeat listens - it has really grown on me so much, and I really hope everyone will grow to like it as much as I have.
Nordic Music Review 8.5 / 10