A little sweetness to start your week …
Frisk Frugt is the work of a Danish explorer called Anders Lauge Meldgaard: a man who loads up his optimist’s dinghy full of brass, self-made mechanical instruments and other inspired sound gadgets, and sets sail on music’s diverse waves of opportunity. “Dansktoppen…” (apparently translated as “Danish Folk Meets Burkina Faso In The Sky Blue Place That Is The Home Of The Sun Suite”) was heavily informed by a long musical journey of discovery undertaken by Anders around the great West African countries of Mali and Burkina Faso, armed with a tape recorder and a workbook. African melody, rhythms and ritual dance meld into pop chaos, elegiac Danish folksong and poetry. Despite only being self-released via his arts collective yoyooyoy in Denmark in 2010, the album was somehow nominated as one of the albums of the year at the By:Larm music conference in Oslo – the Scandinavian equivalent of the Mercury Music Prize. Now seeing release in the UK and Europe via Exotic Pylon, it’s time for this glorious visionary scramble of sterling song composition, wisely assimilated global influence and giddy improv to make its wider mark.
Throwing in snatches of quirky/jerky rock, desert recordings, 21st century buzzes both natural and electronic, high-life guitar, pure pop song and bracing free jazz, it’s clear that Frisk Frugt finds pleasure in both small details and big gestures. Live, he is a welcome guest in most lands: whether playing skeletal folk with toy parrots, Terry Riley-esque church organ recitals or with a full-blooded band (as seen in a triumphant Roskilde Festival slot), we see his songs stretched, tweaked and massaged into thrilling new shapes, always with a sense of wonder and spontaneous relish.
And yet, Frisk Frugt’s is a world of many continents beyond those described above: part of Danish music & art collective Yoyooyoy, he also makes plants sing.
This music is as inauthentic as it comes and all the better for it. Toy horns are processed to sound like interstellar cosmic MOOGs, electric guitar playing tutored by Toumani Diabate starts to sound like the work of Richard Lloyd, folk marimbas sound like they’ve been arranged by Terry Riley. This is perhaps a distant relative of the work done by Jon Hassell and Holgar Czukay in the 1970s and ‘Hvordan To Halvmåner Bliver Til 4/4’ could easily sit on an African Eno’s Another Green World. A massive but effortless achievement.
One more number for the road?