Album Review/Dominic Valvona

Conny Frischauf ‘Die Drift’
(Bureau B) 15th January 2021

Quirks and quarks permeate the sophisticated electronic-pop cosmology of Conny Frischauf’s debut album Die Drift. You hardly need a GCSE in German to translate that title, nor do you need more than a minute to hear that “drift” and journeying motion – just listen to the opening Kraftwerkian clockwork Roedelius ‘Rauf’ as it glides “up, up, up” over a trans-European scenic imagining.

The Viennese artist sets out on an “endless drift” then, travelling across a Kosmische style universe, and through the air, sloping, sliding into cool aloof detached no wave discothèques. If John Cage decided to lighten up some and started rubbing shoulders with Goldfrapp, Air and Emika to create experimental techno-pop then Frischauf’s electro art forms might be the result. For all the bobbing synthesized percussion, tom rolls and slinking allure there’s plenty of leftfield exploration to be found: imagine a mellower yacht-rock Version of Kas Product, or, a late 70s Kriedler working with Gina X Performance.

At her most poppy and light Frischauf sounds like a cross between Populäre Mechanik and Al Lover (on the really cool drum-snap and handclaps pulsating, grooving ‘Fenster Zur Straße’), and later on like Grace Jones (on the curious vocally questioning, glistened synthesizer rich ‘Auf Wiedersehn’). At other times Frischauf throws a few curveballs, like the Euro new wave jazzy ‘Eingaben Und Ausnahmen’, which uses an assemblage of knuckled rubbery, tubular and uttered sounds to build a percussion and rhythm whilst a waft of raspy horns blow over the jazzy set-piece atmosphere. The day-of-rest ‘Sonnetag’ sounds like a missive sonic divergence from Bowie and Eno’s Heroes sessions; a kosmische glide on wood-block chipping percussive sonic waves. But the most starry kosmische traverse of all is the album’s ten-minute plus suite ‘Freundschaft’ (that’s “friendship”), which pictures Thomas Dinger and Tangerine Dream drifting (again) peaceably and whistling into the evanescent cosmos: A most beautiful universal destination to end any journey on. 

Spoken, whispered, reverberated and cool-y postured Frischauf delivers her ruminations, quivers, plaints and sometimes removed lyrics in German. Still, you can gauge the mood and sentiment of these both serious and playful tracks well enough. Conny Frischauf’s debut journey in sophisticated electronica and art house pop is a thoughtful album of slowly loosening, throbbing depths and sonic nodes. The Drift isn’t so much a meander, or a waft, as a considered attempt at bridging the electronic avant-garde with pop. The burgeoning Austrian talent could be said to have succeeded, with an album I already consider a highlight of the year.  (Dominic Valvona)

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

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