Ice & Bone
(2019 - Discus Music - UK)
Partly hallucinatory, fully bewitching release of music with a globular exotic world charm, and ritualistic flavor. Ethereal vocals by Jan Todd, the majority being layered, conduct the music along a perfume sprinkled path to what feels like a secret garden of delights. While the bulk of the songs keep on that course, there are a couple that lead off to tranquil ponds, sudden nightmares, ornate meditations, festive nights, and even mystic lands.
To know this woman, Jan Todd (being the leader/composer/main player of Frostlake), comes from another sophisticated band Orchestra of the Upper Atmosphere, and is an accomplished composer, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, may open the door for more listeners. Jan also has a debut album under the name Frostlake called 'White Moon, Black Moon' (2015 - Discus Music 53CD), which is possibly even more haunting, but brings more of this heavenly psychedelic mastery. The instruments and artists used to create this surreal filled set of palettes are Jan Todd - vocals, lyrics, electronics, guitars, banjo, lute harp, celtic harp, zither, viola, melodica, clarinet, recorders, glockenspiel, Idiopan, percussion, Korg MS2000, Wavedrum, drum creations, midi keys, Arturia Microbrute, field recordings and found objects / and Terry Todd - bass guitars, Idiopan Dominus.
The opening track sounds like what one could imagine Barbara Gaskin (of Stewart & Gaskin, and former member of Hatfield and the North's 'The Northettes'. She was in the British folk-fusion band Spirogyra before all that, but the vocals don't relate to what I am comparing here, at that time), doing if she were to do a solo album in the celestial themes. Some of the music has a ghostly echo of the 1980's simplicity that Deux Filles ('Silence and Wisdom') and Enya did, and even approaches the stately sacredness of Hildegard von Bingen, but the overall fairytale atmosphere prevails like a slow trip in a beautifully jeweled carriage, being led by six white horses. That is until the last song, that suddenly builds to the crescendo, and lunges forward with a gallop. What a whirlpool ending and a visionary trip from open to close. 'Ice & Bone' is a gorgeous, dreamy and rich with haunted folk, of lost ghosts, calling from another world, whispering sweet things in your ear.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 3 - 30 - 2019