dinsdag 1 december 2015

Catching Currents. Fridolijn

Followers of this blog are not surprised that the current state of Dutch rock and pop is very much alright. Many records in the previous years have met with well-favoured and even much better reviews. And here comes another one. The, to me, completely unknown artist called Fridolijn, presents herself with the mini album Catching Currents. A standard album in female singer-songwriter music by a young woman who sings with a clear voice moving everywhere between Joni Mitchell, Janis Ian and the young Kate Bush.

Let me kick off the real content of this review with the comment that this soft, jazzy, laidback music is not my kind of music in general. I only started listening to Joni Mitchell this year, never got past 'Flying High' and Kate is Kate. What struck me is the clear voice of Fridolijn and the soft sound behind her that allows her to shine in a subdued way. In the fading light of a nightclub, with just a spotlight on her, from above and cigarette smoke from the audience and band floating in and out of the light. An image of the past, a past her music belongs to, while sounding clear and crisp, 2015.

Fridolijn van Pol is a Dutch singer who already has some fame in other countries through her album with the band Finn Silver that toured parts of the world after its jazzy, pop, hip-hop influenced debut album 'Crossing The Rubicon'. The band seems to have veni, vidi, vici'd, although without my knowledge, in a modest way. The result is that Catching Currents, although the debut album of Fridolijn solo, has an international release.

Catching Currents was made in London and Berlin. The record was written with Dave Austin en Danny Fisher and produced by drummer Richard Spaven. The album was finished with Jazzanova's Axel Reinemer. In as far as it is possible to say such a thing, Catching Currents has an international sound in the sense of its wide sounding production. It is as if each sound has its own small outlet in a vast wall, where the rest is closed, producing this sort of faint hum in the background of the production. A hum which is not there, merely imaginary, suggestion, making the album extremely fascinating to listen to.

This goes for all eight songs, songs that are on the verge of folk, jazz and more complex pop. The ghost of Nick Drake walks straight through the delicate 'Hold To Me'. The intricate acoustic guitar up front and the atmosphere, whatever creates it, in the background. Another name that pops up is Steeley Dan. Fridolijn manages to conjure up the same jazzy atmosphere, e.g. in 'Guards Down', without ever coming close to the arrangements. All is much more down to earth, with sparse chords and notes that are played. It is Spaven's drums that come to the foreground most with a rather complex sounding pattern that is repeated over and over.

It is the electric piano that carries the album most as an instrument. The delicate notes are laid down in the right places without becoming a true front instrument. Grant Windsor is present in a serving way, giving Catching Currents its warmth. It is in need of this as the sound in general is aloof. It is an album to listen to in a watching kind of way. It works on me, but it is me being at work drawing the music in, where usually it is the other way around for me.

With Catching Currents Fridolijn has produced an intriguing album. I am not totally certain yet where we are going together. The basis was laid though.


You can listen to 'Whimsical' here:


Or buy on Bol.Com

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