Goldfrapp … Seventh Tree

Sarà “SEVENTH TREE” il titolo del nuovo album di GOLDFRAPP

Ritorna una delle voci più acclamate degli ultimi anni, dando seguito a “Supernature” e al suo grandissimo successo di critica e pubblico con oltre un milione di copie vendute in tutto il mondo.

Con “Seventh Tree” Alison Goldfrapp compie l’ennesima svolta artistica assecondando il suo multiforme talento:

in questo suo nuovo lavoro la voce di Alison brilla sulle note di un mondo surreale e british con riferimenti che spaziano dal poeta nonsense Edward Lear a Lennon e ai Pink Floyd degli inizi, in contrasto con la forza sexy e glamour di “Supernature”.

Nella parole della stessa Goldfrapp: “Seventh Tree è romanticismo inglese con un pizzico di sole californiano”

'Goldfrapp’s Seventh Tree makes you feel like spring's already arrived'
Observer Music Monthly November 2007

'Goldfrapp have delivered one of the first great albums of 2008'
Music Week 29 October 2007



"It was a tree with the number seven on it. It was a very beautiful tree, with big branches, swaying, a bit like seaweed underwater. And I woke up in the morning and decided that's it, that's the name of the album." Alison Goldfrapp looks faintly embarrassed as she describes the christening of Goldfrapp's fourth album, Seventh Tree. Will Gregory, her partner in crime, smiles reassuringly: "If Alison dreams it, it's fate."

The last time we saw Goldfrapp, they were the consummate disco beasts, wielding the subversive sound of stylised seventies glamour with a whipcrack of erotica and a lick of British humour that they had distilled over the course of three albums: Felt Mountain (2000) Black Cherry (2003) and Supernature (2005).

From the sweep of Lovely Head to the thrust of Ooh La La, theirs was a sound that was impeccably conceived and thrillingly ambitious, an explosion of glitter balls, electronica, dancefloors and lust, bolstered by live performances that featured tassled dancers and disco horses.

Now they return with Seventh Tree, an album that confounds all that went before; warm and sensual and shimmering, it is the sound of a very British delirium, echoing the nonsense poetry of Edward Lear and the eccentricities of early Pink Floyd. Recorded in a 1960s bungalow in Bath, it was a conscious move to step away from the Weimar-esque strutting of earlier work and explore a more psychedelic terrain.

"We kept saying 'it’s got to be more psychedelic, more psychedelic'," recalls Will. "And neither of us knew what that meant actually. I think it was our word for describing something that had a sort of dreamy, rural feeling to it but had also a darkness." "We've always talked about films like the Wicker Man," adds Alison, "films that were very English and quite dark, with elements of paganism, but with a humour to them – a very British humour. So it's this combination of the naive English folkiness with a bit of horror and Californian sunshine thrown in."

Alison and Will met in 1999, united by a love of the avant-garde, Add N To (X) and Scott Walker. They swapped tapes and books and letters, pushing boundaries and testing each other a little, to see if their tastes were strong enough to hold their combined weight. When they set about making music together their sound was born effortlessly, and grew quickly from wide-screen electronica to disco-stomp.

It was strange, symbolic, compelling, a collage of Roxy Music, science fiction and wolves heads and, perhaps weary of the stolid indie-rock of Oasis and their peers, audiences became quite slavishly devoted to Goldfrapp. They were soon feted across Europe and the US, their music seized upon by both film and television, their videos adored, and swiftly gained a reputation for being one of the most thrilling live bands in existence.

Seventh Tree was recorded over a much longer period than any of their earlier records, a conscious decision after the intensity of touring, and the desire to create something tangibly different. "It's more of a left-hand turn," says Will. "Our heads were bursting with Supernature after the tour. And we thought wouldn't it be lovely just to have a nice empty space? Not all this revved-up musical intensity. And when you think of an empty space you sometimes think of someone just strumming a guitar, gathered around a campfire. The problem is neither of us play a guitar."

Renowned for the privacy of their working methods, on Seventh Tree, Will and Alison not only brought in Flood for co-production, but also added other musicians to the mix, such as harp-player Ruth Wall, who brought in a steel-strung harp designed in the 1600s, and which they sampled on the track ‘Road To Somewhere’. "I'd never heard a sound like it," says Alison. "It's almost like a sitar. You imagine harps to be angelic but this nasty gritty sound came out." "Very often sounds are very good ways to start writing, they're very inspiring," explains Will. "That's been the story of this album. Having real players come in really helped it whereas before it's been created painstakingly and rather inorganically."

A particularly unusual instrument appears on the track ‘Eat Yourself’. "It was a thing that was made by Mattel called an Optigon, it's a toy but a very sophisticated organ, that runs on these tiny little optical discs, that are little loops of sound. In this case it was a lovely folky guitar pick, but it completely wobbles because it was made in the 60s and was very much degraded. And then Alison did this kind of scatting over it, what you hear is the first thing she did, it was something I hadn't really heard her do before. We thought it sounded like a cross between the New Seekers and Emmanuel."

Many of the tracks began in a flurry of musical and lyrical jamming. "People automatically assume that because we use synthesizers and programmed sound there isn't any of that process," says Alison. "But it's a bit of a myth really.

People have this thing that it's not a real instrument because it's a keyboard, because it's an electronic sound it doesn't involve skill or thought. And that's totally wrong, it's just a very different quality in sound."

The fruits of their spontaneous jamming can be heard particularly on tracks such as the opening ‘Clowns’, with its lyrics inspired by crash TV, breast implants and the idea of being watched, and also on ‘Cologne Cerrone Houdini’, a song which Alison says is "about being on a journey with someone and realising that it ain't happening." A lot of the songs are, she adds "musically and lyrically about going somewhere."

Indeed ‘Little Bird’ is the story of a friend of Alison who "is constantly moving around everywhere", while ‘Caravan Girl’, "is about a girl with amnesia who wants to run off with a girl in a caravan," Lyrics that seemingly sprang from nowhere and were set against a deliciously frenzied music. "It's a C major thing," says Will. "We got into that rather poundingly happy feeling and it turned into this church organ piece. But it's also bonkers. It's so relentlessly wide-eyed grinningly poptastic production, everything painted with bright colours… there's something sick and wonderful about it as well."

Other journeys take them to LA, a city that "I like for three days, in a kind of TV car crash way," says Alison. "After that I find it quite disturbing." Accordingly, ‘Monster Love’s lyrics conjure heartbreak and the mad shallowness of Hollywood.

Not all of the journeys are literal. ‘Happiness’ is more a kind of head-trip, an exploration of the ways we seek to be happy. “We just worked it into a slightly nutty piece” says Alison. “We were trying to give it a slightly psychedelic, slightly natty, almost delirious sound.”

With the album ready, Goldfrapp are now trying to devise a way to translate their hazy English psychedelia to the stage. "The musical and the visual, they're inseparable to me," says Alison. "When you talk about sound, it has an atmosphere and it has a feeling and colours and character." She smiles a little wickedly. "So I'm imagining maybe scantily clad Morris Dancers in ribbons and flowers, pole dancing round maypoles…"

Dicembre 07

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