indie music profile: Goldfrapp

Alison finds inspiration in Kate Bush, T. Rex and Iggy Pop; the multi-layered Will, in classical music. They describe their songwriting process as a “democratic affair” with Alison writing the emotional lyrics and Will composing the music on vintage keyboards.

Their debut LP, Felt Mountain, featured minimalist electronic compositions with “classical arrangements of strings and light.” Released in 2000, the album received good reviews, was included on the Mercury Prize shortlist and was described as “simultaneously smarmy and seductive, yet elegant and graceful.”  To promote the album, they toured with Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and The Doves.

Their next two LPs, 2003’s Black Cherry and 2005’s Supernature, focused more heavily on glam/electronic because as Alison put it, they "really didn't want to repeat what we had done...  We kind of wanted to do something that felt equally as fresh to us as the first one felt fresh to us, and we wanted to put more kind of ‘oomph’ in it.” In contrast to Black Cherry with its epic choruses, Supernature is a purely dance-inspired record and brought the duo their first major taste of success. The LP, which sold over $1 million units, scored three No. 1 dance singles and two Grammy nominations.

[image-1]Also during this period, Alison redefined herself as a "new wave diva," sporting fake eyelashes, military uniforms and fishnet stockings or sometimes a white dress complete with horse tail on stage.

2008’s Seventh Tree, a more acoustic and delicate collection than their previous work focused on down-tempo, ambient music. This release also marked a new reinvention for Alison, this time as a pagan clown/circus performer. She made this decision in part to tone down the sexuality that she believed was overwhelming her music.

In 2009, at Abby Road Studios, Alison and Will created the score to the film Nowhere Boy, about John Lennon’s childhood. Head First, their fifth LP, dropped March 23, 2010.

Click here for Goldfrapp's Rhapsody page.  Click here for a July 09, 2008 World Café set recorded by WXPN.  Click here for their record label's YouTube page.  Click here and here for sets recorded by KCRW for Morning Becomes Eclectic on April 23, 2008 and May 07, 201, respectively.  Visit their blog here.  Visit the band’s myspace page here and website here.

Check here to see if Goldfrapp have any gigs scheduled near you.

As always, whenever possible, please buy your music from your local independent music store by people who know and love music and not from retailers like Wal-Mart (soulless, globally-homogenizing, community-killers) or i-Tunes (albums should be listened to as an entire composition with album cover and liner notes in hand). Incidentally, these two companies sell more music than any other retailer in the United States. That my friend, bites.

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London electronic duo Goldfrapp (Alison Goldfrapp on vocals and synths, Will Gregory on synths) met in 1999, felt an immediate connection and began working on a film soundtrack shortly after. (Before that, Alison backed Tricky and Peter Gabriel). The soundtrack was never finished, but the two soon decided to form a band since they worked so well together.  They recorded their first album in an English bungalow full of mice and insects that was paid for by the record label that had recently signed the duo.

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