Having released her debut album Hold On Dreamer at the start of the year Anne Lise Frøkedal is touring this summer – with her dates including a hometown show at Norway's Øya Festival (9-13 August) and more. She's made Q a Playlist of songs where you can hear why "less is more"...
Brian Eno – St Elmo’s Fire "The way Eno made this album, with musicians waiting for instructions, expensive studio time running and no songs written in advance, is quite impressive. Especially because the result, Another Green World, is a beautiful and ethereal minimal pop album. Most of the tracks don't have vocals, but I read somewhere that it’s still referred to as one of Eno’s "vocal albums". I believe it is because of its strong melodic qualities and the peaceful, dreamy atmosphere that makes the album feel like one coherent state of mind. Robert Fripp plays an electrifying guitar solo on this track."
Vashti Bunyan – Iris’ Song (Version Two) "Just a simple repetitive guitar arpeggio and Bunyan’s soft voice is all it took to create one of the prettiest love songs I know of. You can really tell how quiet her performance is, apparently the producer had to shut the windows in his office when she came to present her songs - the traffic outside was too loud."
Sagor & Swing – Fugan som förlorade sin orgelstamma "This dreamy, epic track by Swedish duo Sagor & Swing combines inspiration from Scandinavian folk with elements of jazz and electronic music. Perfect music performed with a drum kit and organ/synth only."
John Cale – Taking Your Life In Your Hands "The 1982 LP Music For A New Society was just re-released as a double album with new versions of the songs included. This track is endlessly touching, and the way the basic guitar that accompanies the vocal is suddenly replaced by a thin, far-away-sounding piano feel like a punch in the gut. A perfect example of how less is sometimes huge."
Suicide – Dream Baby Dream "Another duo, this time combining keys and drum machine with hypnotic, chant-like vocals. I definitely have a soft spot for drony organ songs, and these guys really know how to make the most out of it."
The Balfa Brothers – La valse de Balfa "What I love about Cajun music is the simple arrangements and very emotional expression. I think it has something to do with the sliding, raw fiddle, the lack of perfection, the directness and the fact that it is usually recorded live. It’s not easy to understand Cajun French, but here’s a translation of the last verse of this track: If I had five days in my life / I’d give three of the five / to stay the other two with you / I'd like to die in your arms."
Julee Cruise – The Space For Love "The sound of this track takes you straight into David Lynch-mode, with the odd brushes on the snare, the slow surf guitar and soft organ with Cruise’s voice hovering above it all like a ghost."
John Grant – You Don’t Have To "A kick drum and a Synth Arp is the main accompaniment for John Grant’s voice on this track, and you’ll be unable to avoid paying attention to his acerbic message. You’re not likely to hear a synth solo expressing this much pain very often."
Moondog – Westward Ho! "Taken from the brilliant album Elpmas, this track reminds me of the West coast of Norway, where I’m from. It sounds like some kind of lullaby from an ancient harbour with boats rocking in the waves and ropes rubbing against their wooden boards."
This Mortal Coil – Song To The Siren "Another nautically-themed track is this breathtaking version of Tim Buckley’s classic with Elizabeth Fraser’s unique vocals surrounded by sonic waves washing against the lonely guitar chords."
XTC – Making Plans For Nigel "This has always felt like the perfect pop song, it is so catchy and so simple, from the drumbeat to the repeated guitar riff. This even goes for the vocal, as it repeats its message about parental domination over and over."
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