1 The Golden Age 1:30
2 Dance of the Elves 3:33
3 Norse 6:29
4 Divine Light 8:04
5 At War 5:49
6 Homeland 20:23
Sireena Records | SIR4026
Nattefrost Music (CD/DDL 45:45) ****½
Nattefrost is a worthy representative of Scandinavian. Each album, set apart Futurized, is inspired by the tales and legends of this immense territory which was the cradle of the mythical Vikings. “Homeland” is no exception! Leaving this very sci-fi approach of Futurized, Bjorn Jeppesen returns to his first loves by signing an album which is a delicious fusion between the symphonic and the filmic approach, "At War", that were on From Distant Times and his usual electronic hymns, "Divine Light", which had at once caught the attention and made the delights of his first albums. The result is surprising and indeed very charming. In fact the electronic bard from Copenhagen presents here his most beautiful album to date. From the first minute of "The Golden Age" till the last seconds of "Homeland", Nattefrost establishes a crescendo which gives shivers. As much as in the emotions that in the spine. It's one of 2014 jewels which has nearly passed under my nose, under the radar of EM. Like almost everywhere on the music planet, Nattefrost, who is very popular in his own Danemark, presented “Homeland” in a limited edition of 500 albums in 180 gram vinyl, produced by the Sireena Records label. Sold out in this format, “Homeland” re-appears in the form of factory pressed CD on the Nattefrost label.
The cold winds from the Scandinavian plains sweep the horizons of "The Golden Age", blowing some thick clouds of rock dusts which fragment the evanescent harmonies of the undulatory synth lines. Short but effective, "The Golden Age" spreads the dramatic elements of “Homeland” with some dark and resonant chords which leave an imprint of mystery. Hardly longer, "Dance of the Elves" goes deep to the bottom of our eardrums with some superb melodious arpeggios which draw the lines of a melody, as virginal as devilish, where every note which fall is dancing with doubtful shadows and with linear pulsations of which the fast beatings lay down all the same a structure of ambient rhythm. The balance between the light and the darkness, the warmth and the cold, is striking of reality. Quite slowly and innocently the charms of “Homeland” spread their influences. Strange black breaths inject a foggy mood. They accompany the deep movement of "Norse"' undulatory pulsations. The structure, with a melody which makes twinkling its arpeggios resounding of transparency, and the furtive approach of a rhythm drummed by bass sequences, like an accelerated war march, borrows a bit here the model of "Dance of the Elves", but in a clearly more elaborate context and with a structure of rhythm which offers beautiful oscillations filled of variances. The race ends in a very cinematographic ambience with a long ambiospherical passage which truncates the last 3 minutes of a rhythm hypnotizing like a tribal feast which precedes a war. The nuances in "Norse" are astonishing and testify of this maturity which has seized the signature of Bjorn Jeppesen since From Distant Times with Matzumi. Each album of Nattefrost brings its catchy track. We could have thought of "Norse" or the babylonnesque "At War". But no, the award goes to "Divine Light" and to its very lively pace which first and before all has to get out from a magma of synth lines among which the entanglements as much embroiled as the gurgling tones are clubbed by the rollings of the timpani percussions. The combustion of this static movement spits some arcs of fires of which the radiations forge the bed of a rhythm that bass sequences are leading it away from its static environment in order to lay a fluid rhythm which gallops in the knocks of very lively percussions. From melodic IDM, the rhythm of "Divine Light" offers itself some harmonious fineries with lines of arpeggios which are parading or still which humming in banks of ethereal mist and ambiospherical elements, giving to this track an attractive oniric depth. This is going to become one of the good music piece in Bjorn Jeppesen's repertoire. "At War" is titanic. Lively and heavy, it's intensely orchestral. And the illusion to see an army of vile gnomes crossing the fields of our visions is absolutely superb. The rollings of timpani, the lamentations of the defeated, the philharmonic envelopes and the moaning noises of war beasts are created with an extreme precision. We feel the intensity, the drama in this Vangelis' kind of track
With the title-track, Nattefrost goes out of his comfort zone by offering a long musical river of about twenty minutes, a bet that he last attempted in 2004 with The Road to Asgard. "Homeland" offers a beautiful evolution as well as subtle variances in tones and harmonious colors tinted of dramatic effects. The cinematic ambiances are always present with waves and winds which seem to blow on a field of a battle which knew its tragic end on the edges of a Scandinavian coastline. Touching effects punctuate this introduction with dark winds, knocks of percussions and electronic chirpings. A rhythm rises. Arched on bass sequences, it vacillates such as a lost soul before hanging onto a structure solidified by these percussions whose so different tones are a big part of the wealth of “Homeland”. The synth throws fragments of harmonies, as evanescent as unfinished, while the rhythm of "Homeland" follows a more steady course. It's tinted of organic perfumes and of iridescent sequences which dance with their doubles, so giving a structure of rhythm which bubbles in a multidimensional envelope and leaving to pulsations and to percussions the direction of a rhythm which is decorated of fine nuances in order to avoid the traps of the redundancy. And it's done with success! Very electronic, between Berlin School, as vintage as contemporary, ambient parts and a kind of progressive IDM, with impulses impregnated of restraints, the structure of "Homeland" offers variances and phases with jerks here and there which enhance the charm effect. The sequencing is very good with gaps in the structure which catch the interest of any fans of based sequence anthems. And when it becomes a bit sober, the ambiences, always rather dark, augment the effect of this long track of which the perpetual evolution towards more ambiospherical lands pass in the ear without a hitch. This is well done and this long track, decorated with beautiful arrangements and with new bounces, shows the control of Bjorn Jeppesen, both on his story and on the way he has put it into music. It concludes another very good album from Nattefrost. A surprising album, if we consider its very Berlin School approach soaked in this unique accessible side of Nattefrost. In fact, style Berlin School will never have been so accessible than with this “Homeland”. Very commendable!
Sylvain Lupari (February 28th, 2015)
You will find this album on the Bandcamp page of Nattefrost here
You will find this album on the Bandcamp page of Nattefrost here
You can also watch a video trailer here